On Friday’s “Fox & Friends” on the Fox News Channel, “Geraldo at Large” host Geraldo Rivera lamented the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a Sanford, Fla. youth who was shot and killed last month by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in the name of self-defense.
However, Rivera placed as much blame on Martin’s wardrobe as he did on Zimmerman’s reaction.
“I have a different take, Brian, on that,” Rivera said. “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.”
According to Rivera, the so-called hoodie has negative connotations attached to it, which may inspire ill-advised reflexive reactions.
“When you see a kid walking down the street, particularly a dark skinned kid like my son Cruz who I constantly yelled at when he was going out wearing a damn hoodie or those pants around his ankles,” Rivera said. “Take that hood off. People look at you and what’s the instant identification? What’s the instant association? Its crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone stick up a 7-Eleven, the kid is wearing a hoodie. Every time you see a mugging on a surveillance camera or get the old lady in the alcove, it’s the kid with a hoodie. You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta — you’re going to be a gangsta wannabe? Well, people are going to perceive you as a menace. That’s what happens. It is an instant reflexive action.”
Rivera compared the people’s reflex to hoodies to the reflex Fox News contributor Juan Williams revealed when he saw a Muslim on an airplane, which ultimately cost him his gig at National Public Radio.
“You cannot rehabilitate the hoodie. I understand that the reaction might be overzealous or even irrational in some extent, I mean, when you look at the statistics,” Rivera said. “But you’re not going to rehabilitate the hoodie. Stop wearing it! You know the old Johnny Cash song, ‘Don’t take your gun to town, son. Leave your gun at home.’ There are some things that are almost inevitable. I’m not suggesting Trayvon Martin had any kind of weapon or anything, but he wore an outfit that allowed someone to respond in this irrational, overzealous way and if he had been dressed more appropriately, I think unless it’s raining out or you’re at a track meet, leave the hoody home.”