Protesters are donning hoodies in rallies calling for an arrest in the Trayvon Martin case, but others say that wearing a hoodie in the wrong neighborhood puts minority kids at risk.
Did Trayvon Martin’s hoodie contribute to his death? That’s a question now roiling the national discussion of the shooting of the unarmed black teenager by neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman in Florida one month ago Monday.
Geraldo Rivera gave this angle a big boost by writing for Fox News Latino last week that for many people seeing a minority youth wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled up generates a certain reaction: scorn or fear.
“If you dress like a hoodlum eventually some schmuck is going to take you at your word," wrote Mr. Rivera.
Mr. Rivera has received a huge reaction, much of it negative, for his assertion that the hoodie killed Martin as surely as his attacker did. The broadcaster and talk show host is not backing down, however.
He says he is talking about an undeniable and unfair aspect of life for minority youths.
“It hurts to be assailed – but anger doesn’t change reality – a minority kid in a hoodie in a hood not his own is a 911 call waiting to happen,” wrote Rivera on his Twitter feed Sunday evening.
Critics say this is akin to blaming women’s tight blouses for rapes. It’s an “absolutely disgusting” assertion, writes Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor for The Atlantic.
Perhaps pushed by this argument, many protestors across the US have adopted the hoodie as a symbol of what they feel is the lack of justice in the Martin case, given that it has been a month since the shooting, yet Mr. Zimmerman has not been charged with any crime.