Friday, March 23, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Geraldo Rivera Says Hoodie Killed Trayvon Martin

I am speechless for two reasons. First, I cannot believe that Geraldo Rivera is still a media commentator. Second, I cannot believe that Rivera believes that Trayvon Martin induced his own killing by wearing a hoodie.

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)


Trayvon Martin: "Stand Your Ground" Rule Has NOTHING To Do With This Case


Tjo said...

I just have a couple of questions, is Geraldo Rivera no longer hispanic? Since you say he is racist against hispanics, I must conclude either he is racist against his own race or he is not hispanic, it's a bit confusing. So is the white Zimmerman remarks, he and his family say he is hispanic, in his photgraphs he appears to be of hispanic descent, yet he is portrayed as a racist white man in all these articles. One more question, why are all the photographs of Trayvon Martin of him as a much younger child? Are there no recent pictures of this young man? The picture he looks the oldest in is dated 2008, that is a 4 year old photo. I don't know what happened on that dark night and a 17 year old boy is dead, an investigation should be conducted. However this boys death should not be used to further seperate the people of America and to fuel the dying flames of a racial conflict.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

There are so many false assumptions in your post. I'll just go one by one.

First- you assume that racial conflict doesn't exist, and that this case is fueling its "dying flames." You must live in some bubble. If you read opinion every polls since pollsters started recording data on this subject -- around the end of WWII -- people of color and whites have had dramatically different views on the status of US race relations. While whites tend to accept the "it's getting better" line, people of color are far more pessimistic. Whites in the South thought blacks loved segregation and that things were fine until the Civil Rights Movement fueled the flames. Whites said that slaves were fine in their condition until northern abolitionists fueled the flames. Your position sounds quite familiar.

Second, you assume that "intragroup" racism cannot exist. For example, a black cannot express racism against another black, etc. You are WRONG. You also seem to think that people of color cannot act upon prejudice. Wrong again. In fact, some studies show that people of color feel so vulnerable in their own skin, that some have prejudicial feelings towards each other.

I have not read any articles that say Zimmerman is a racist white man. Instead, I have read that the police and Zimmerman are racist. You don't have to be white to be racist.

Those are recent pictures of Trayvon. You are wrong about that. It really doesn't matter. By all accounts, he was 140 lbs; he was simply walking home, and he was stalked and killed by Zimmerman. Nothing you have said has altered this reality.

Good night.

David bone said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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