As Mediate reports, Rivera blamed the hoodie for Martin's death on Fox and Friends this morning:
“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" (italics added).Rivera also invoked Juan Williams and compared his arguments to Williams' statement that he fears Muslim-looking people at airports. Rivera simply substitutes "Muslim" with black and Latino to explain his position:
When you see a black or Latino youngster, particularly on the street, you walk to the other side of the street. You try to avoid that confrontation. Trayvon Martin, you know God bless him, he was an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hands. He didn’t deserve to die. But I’ll bet you money, if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way (italics added).Two Reactions: One Negative, One Positive
I have two general reactions to Rivera's comments. One is negative; the other is positive. On the negative side, Rivera's comments are a blatant form of "victim-blaming." His position sounds quite similar to the sexist notion that rape victims cause their own rapes by dressing "seductively."
Victims of violent crimes, however, do not ask for violence. Rather then blaming the victim, Rivera should blame the Zimmerman and his racism for the killing. Rather than blaming rape victims, society should condemn rapists. That Rivera blames a teenager for his own death is loathsome.
There is a positive side to Rivera's comments, however. Rivera has done the country a favor by bringing the issue of "implicit racial bias" to the table for discussion. Although many people want to pretend the United States is post-racial, this is a foolish notion. Racism persists. It is often overt -- as in calling someone a "fucking coon" before murdering him. Sometimes, however, it is subtle and a reflection of implicit biases -- as when people, like Rivera, impulsively dart across the street to avoid walking next to a black or Latino male. Hopefully, Rivera and others will examine, question and overcome their own biases -- rather than blaming others for their own racial pathology.
For more analysis, see:
Trayvon Martin: A Fatal Flaw in Zimmerman's Self-Defense Argument
Sorry, Trayvon Martin: They Just Don't Like You
BREAKING NEWS in Trayvon Martin Case: Officer in the Case Has A Prior Record of Racial Controversy
Trayvon Martin: 911 Call Contradicts Police Account (Audio)
SHOCKING NEW WITNESS TESTIMONY IN TRAYVON MARTIN CASE!
Trayvon Martin: "Stand Your Ground" Rule Has NOTHING To Do With This Case