Zip it up. That was a common reaction Friday on the Web and elsewhere to Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera’s comments that the hoodie was as much to blame for Trayvon Martin’s death as the shooter.
“Geraldo Rivera of Fox News has lost his mind. He's saying #Trayvon Martin wearing a hoodie helped cause his own death?” CNN commentator Roland Martin, who is black, tweeted.
“Hey Geraldo, Black kids have gotten shot not wearing hoodies. Dude, that's just dumb.”
Rivera stirred up a firestorm when he said on Friday’s “Fox & Friends” that the black Florida teen might not be dead had he not worn a hoodie the night he was shot by a community watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
“I believe that George Zimemrman, 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,” Rivera said.
“I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.”
He added: "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."
The outspoken “Geraldo at Large” host, who is Latino, expressed similar sentiments in a column Friday titled, “Trayvon Martin Would Be Alive but for His Hoodie.”
Reaction to his comments was fast and furious.
"Dear Geraldo Rivera: I'll use small words so you can follow me, okay? Hoodies don't kill people. Paranoid racists with guns kill people," tweeted Wil Wheaton of Los Angeles.
“That's like saying Martin should not have left the house while being Black. As the Million Hoodie marches emphasize, there is nothing inherently devious about hoodies. It's our culture's racist stereotype for "suspicion" that makes hoodies worn by people of color -- not soccer moms or Anderson Cooper -- an act that could be met with violence,” journalist Kristen Gwynne wrote on AlterNet.
On ThinkProgress.org, Alex Seitz-Wald posted a photo purportedly showing Rivera wearing a hooded jacket while covering a story during a storm.
“Rivera’s comments suggesting that Martin’s attire was responsible for his death are offensive and repugnant. One of the reasons Martin may have been wearing a hood is that it was raining on the day he was shot. As Rivera himself has experienced, a hood can be helpful in a rainstorm,” Seitz-Wald wrote.
Msnbc.com examined the issue of black youth and hoodies in a story published Thursday. On msnbc.com’s US News Facebook page, the topic made for spirited, sometimes heated discussion.
Wrote one Facebook user, Scherika Foster:
Perceiving black teens who wear hoodies as dangerous is ignorant. Hoodies and/or baggy pants don't make young black males any more dangerous than heels and a fitting dress makes a woman a whore. This type of stereotyping is nonsense and keeps us divided. I've SEEN news clips where grown white men have committed bank robberies, bombings, rapes, and other such crimes wearing hoodies, but because of their skin tone no one perceived them as dangerous prior to their offense. It's not the clothes, it's the skin color...racism still exists.
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