FLORIDA, July 17, 2013 — Everyone knows that George Zimmerman has been acquitted of any wrongdoing in the death of Trayvon Martin.
Nonetheless, a great deal believe that Zimmerman profiled Martin because the teen was black and wearing a hoodie.
The FBI has investigated the question of whether or not Zimmerman was prone to racially-motivated violence and subsequently found no proof that he was. Because of this, one can reasonably infer that any claim of Zimmerman being a racist is the result of personal biases, not logical consideration.
As for the hoodie, though, there can be no denying that it is the attire of choice for individuals who are members of street gangs or up to no good as lone predators. Consequently, stereotypes about hoodies have long wandered across the American sociopolitical scene.
Shortly after Martin’s death, famed lawyer and pundit Geraldo Rivera remarked that the teen’s hoodie was partially responsible for his death. He urged parents to tell their children not to wear hoodies.
Parents ought to take his advice.
Can it be that Zimmerman saw Martin walking around the gated community, which as a history of gang troubles as well as break-ins, and thought that the teen might be bad news because of his clothing?
Don’t law enforcement officers often profile people on this very basis? Race is not the factor here, but dress certainly is. That often works in other scenarios as well; if a man in a suit and necktie drives his late-model luxury sedan into a high-crime neighborhood, then he would be wise to expect trouble of the highest order.
The bottom line is this: People are people; we frequently make assumptions about one another before even a word is spoken. This isn’t always the rational course of action, but it is the way it is.
Hopefully, some real good can come out of the Martin-Zimmerman misfortune. Hopefully, more people will follow Rivera’s advice and ditch the hoodie before it causes them problems on a grand scale.
The social ramifications of hoodies aside, they are just ugly. Wearing one while exercising is one thing, but who on Earth can say that a hoodie is appropriate for much more than that?
Indeed, people need to not only wise up, but dress up.
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