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Hoodlums, Hoodies, Race and Media Madness

March 28, 2012

“Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.”

 Congressman Bobby Rush, escorted off the house floor shortly after delivering these words, and shortly after donning a grey hoodie sweatshirt, has a fair point. Simply wearing a hoodie doesn’t mean that one is a hoodlum, as was declared in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s murder: who doesn’t wear a hoodie from time to time? Boys, girls, men, women, Black, White: does that make us all hoodlums?

 

    There are few fair points-make that fair actions, too-to be found concerning the murder (should we call it that? I believe so) of 16-year old Trayvon Martin. Accusations are flying, people are crying and the media is whipping up a tailspin of frenzy, making this writer personally disgusted with the world of journalism once again. Why turn a tragedy into a comedy? Why turn a real, cold, hard and tragic event into something melodramatic, straight out of a soap opera? Why can’t the media just report on the FACTS and get it straight? It’s one thing to analyze but another to completely fabricate words and information.

      Trayvon Martin was a kid walking in a suburban neighborhood with a bag of skittles; his ‘killer,’ George Zimmerman, was an adult acting as a neighborhood watchman, with a gun. Zimmerman thinks the kid looks suspicious. For what, wearing a hoodie? Zimmerman starts to pursue the kid when the kid starts running–and after the cops tell him not to. Sometimes I like to run home when I’m tired of walking, in my work clothes and everything; does that mean I committed a crime? Maybe I’m scared that some guy is following me! Zimmerman shoots the kid: is it self-defense? If he was really bleeding, than that would certainly alledge that Trayvon had hit him–but for what possible reason would the boy have to do that, unless he was defending himself?

     Like any other murder, we will never know exactly what went down that night. However, what does remain to be decided is whether or not we should believe that George Zimmerman truly acted in self defense. He went looking for trouble, indeed he pursued trouble; that doesn’t justify self-defense. If Trayvon did hit him, it was probably because he thought Zimmerman was following him (well, that would be correct) and was afraid. And while being a member of neighborhood watch is an honorable position, and carrying a weapon is obviously allowed in Florida, is it really neccessary for a member of neighborhood watch to carry such a weapon? George Zimmerman was simply supposed to watch, and call the police if neccessary; leave the guns to the police.

      The situation is tragic, but the media has made it even more so. Just like the Casey Anthony Case, where the same evidence and words were reviewed over and over and dragged on for months until Casey Anthony became public enemy number one (did she do it? She certainly behaved guiltily) so will the Trayvon Martin Case be cemented in the history of the courts. Only this time, it will not be the cruelty and negligence of a mother that makes the case memorable; it will be because Zimmerman happened to be a Latino, and Trayvon Martin African-American.

    When Trayvon’s parents first heard the news, did they immediately think, “oh, this was an act of racism?” I doubt it; they probably just greived for their son. Who gave this case it’s racial spin? The media–but the great question is, why? Why turn people against each other? As I’ve seen written on the CNN comment boards (a terrifying place, but on occasion there’s a moment of sanity being written): “Black on black crime happens every day and no one says anything. A black man killing a white man won’t scream racism [note: although you can be sure that justice will be reached swiftly]. But if a white man kills a black man, than automatically, no questions asked, he is racist.”

All I want to ask is, WHY? Why is this what people automatically think? Why must the race card always be pulled out when there is any sort of interaction between people of two different races? Why must there always be name-calling, snide race jokes (which I absolutely cannot stand), referrals to the “other side?” The assumption that all white people are racist is ridiculous and antiquated; I’ve met more racist non-whites than whites in my own lifetime, if anything.

 For Trayvon Martin’s sake, I hope this trial brings about justice, and I hope that it holds a light up to prejudice and the media madness.

Links:

1. http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/28/politics/congressman-hoodie/index.html?hpt=hp_c3

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2012 2:31 PM

    Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking post. It raises our own assumptions of each other, and brings to light what happens when we act upon such biases, such actions of discrimination.

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