Opprobrium, Giraldo Rivera and the Trayvon Martin Incident

I’ve had a difficult time making sense of the Trayvon Martin incident as a festively browned American, so I did what any colored patriot would do in such a time of turmoil, doubt, and a hushed contempt for our sometimes senile justice system, I tried to move to Canada. But when that didn’t work I looked for some sort of solace, some ray of understanding in the 200 plus pages of American history.

Instead of finding answers, I found something even better than an answer or solace, I serendipitously happened upon irony. I quickly bypassed the Civil Rights Era and landed in the Roaring Twenties. What was significant about the 1920’s was that the infamous Ku Klux Klan was not only revived but spread cancer like beyond the Maxon Dixon line into the North. KKK membership in 1924 had swelled to 4.5 million members. Those numbers may not seem much to us now, especially now since as most of us tv people know, ‘America Decides’ who is going to be the Next Top Idiot but it is significant to me in that long before Trayvon Martin the KKK aside from deviant Catholic priest originally made the hoodie famous.

Geraldo Rivera: The MuckRacking Provacateur

Sometimes to me, American History seems to follow this Borgesian progression where the same story repeats ad nausea however the players change sides and context differ a bit. About 80-100 years ago depending on where I was living I’d be telling my kids to watch of for white men in hoodies. And if bonding over cold cuts at my local segregated market wasnt frowned upon, I’d tell my single white friend that hoods unless referring to an intimate part of a woman’s area of sexual invitation, scare people especially immigrants, jews, latinos, and coloureds.

Today according to Geraldo Rivera one has to be on the watch for black people in hoods. It seems that when we are in hoods black people as a collective do bad things like: stay warm, make out beats to a song like Quest Love, go to the gym, suffer from diabetes and bad credit. The list of atrocities goes on. I should be noted too that outside of Star Wars white people in hoodies have done nothing wrong

Of course in saying that would make me the useless provocateur of my day, which is in many ways similar to the news personality/character Gerlado Rivera played by none other than Geraldo Rivera. Fortunately for me my redeeming quality would be that I wouldn’t be getting paid to ignore my sense of self respect while I jettison my half cooked thoughts into the public sphere.

Like a good American, I have hypertension but more importantly I have compassion for Geraldo, at 68 he is a few decades past his prime but judging from his obscene mustache Rivera continues to pretend to be a suave, old school newsman, raking through socio-political muck because he lost his keys to a missing rental that could take him back to reality.

Geraldo’s Comments 

I believe that George Zimmerman, the overzealous neighborhood watch captain should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law and if he is criminally liable, he should be prosecuted. But I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.

For those of you who may not be aware, people who commit crimes and do evil things wear hoodies priests, The KKK, The Sith, especially from ubiquitous and popular retail outlets like Old Navy and American Apparel.  Geraldo and his mustache go on to further explain:

Don’t let your young man go out into the cruel night wearing an outfit that may as well be a sign that says: “Stop and frisk,” or even “Shoot me.” A minority male over the age of 15 wearing a hoodie in a hood not his own after dark is a 911 call waiting to happen.

Luckily for Trayvon he was in a gated community and not the urban Ghetto “the other world, the antithesis of civilization, a place where man’s vaunted intelligence and refinement are finally mocked by triumphant beastiality, and for the sake of being pleonastic the modern day equivalent of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the den of moral iniquity.

My Thoughts

Geraldo later on claimed to know that hoodies are popular and sold everywhere  which to me might indicate that there is something he isn’t saying namely: hoodies are innocuous, they are harmless unless worn by a black person. Why is that so?

Well statistically I find it hard to imagine that Blacks who account for 10-14% of the crime in the US can commit all the crime here in this country. What is it about us [Black People] that give us the power to criminalize normally  innocuous clothing. I’m guessing it must be the same thing that makes us so good at basketball, rapping, cooking heart clogging soul food, dying early, and being scape goats for a lot of social ills, and all that New World free labor.

I quote the following from “How to Talk to Young Black Boys About Trayvon Martin” by Touré:

You will have to make allowances for other people’s racism. That’s part of the burden of being black. We can be defiant and dead or smart and alive. I’m not saying you can’t wear what you want, but your clothes are a red herring. They’ll blame it on your hoodie or your jeans when the real reason they decided you were a criminal is that you’re black. Of course, you know better. Racism is about reminding you that you are less human, less valuable, less worthy, less beautiful, less intelligent. It’s about prejudging you as violent, fearsome, a threat.

Concerning Geraldo no one can do or say anything to him worse than time, senility, social castigation, haven’t already done. The best thing to do is to leave him  there and like dog shit let the air and wind dry him out till he blows away on his own accord.

About the Trayvon  Martin case its easy to see that the media has sensationalize this and politician are trying to or going to try to use this as a spring  board to promote their  agenda. But at the end of day aside from all that a 17 year old black kid was shot and his killer hasn’t been arrested. There is something about that that doesn’t sit right with me. I cannot judge the situation as new facts are coming out all the time, but I can speculate that  something is rotten in all this. While we all can say that life is tough and unfair, shit happens there is this casual acceptance in that a sort of callousness I feel but I’m delusional in that I feel that the things can still be improved.

Ruha Benjamin, assistant professor of sociology and African American studies at Boston University, says middle-class black Americans cannot “buy our way out of racial violence.” Benjamin, who has two boys of her own, says the reality is that our sons, “no matter how well-dressed, how well-spoken, might be in the wrong gated community with the wrong bag of threatening Skittles and get mowed down by someone who has decided, essentially, they are out of place.”

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  1. Geraldo’s statement on hoodies reminds me of the argument, “If you don’t want to get raped, don’t go out dressed like a slut cuz you’re just asking for it.” There is some truth to both Geraldo’s hoodie argument and the slut-argument because society/media has made it so. Our obsession with being politically correct has taken its toll, and we are putting blame on the clothes that people wear as a target for harassment instead of admitting that race and sex and other -isms are the causes of crime. Instead of blaming the criminal, we’re pointing our fingers at the victim; Trayvon shouldn’t have worn a hoodie because he looked shady; That girl shouldn’t be wearing a mini skirt and a low cut shirt unless she wants to be catcalled. Something is seriously wrong with modern society, and I think it has to do with the fear of facing ourselves and the mistakes we’ve made. Kind of like the Yueyue incident in China where people accused the lady who pulled Yueyue out of the road as a seeker for fame, while the real problem is the people who walked by her body in the middle of the road without lifting a finger. I hope one day we can get over ourselves and our fears, but I think that’s a lot to ask, at least from the majority of the world.


  2. ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY one of my favorite posts by you. Love this on so many levels. It is a sad topic – one that causes anger and disgust in the stupidity of man as a whole. You touched on it very well and shed light on why things like this happen in the first place – ignorance.


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