Early on Trayvon’s hoodie became both an excuse and a symbol in the movement to achieve justice in the teen’s shooting death in Florida, and little more has been as symbolic of the now massively covered killing than a simple hooded sweatshirt, shocking in its banality.
That Trayvon’s hoodie was blamed was simultaneous surprising and not — say what you will about the “casualization of America” (as style guru Clinton Kelly calls it), the hoodie is here to stay. Whatever it once was, it is also now a symbol of Facebook’s success, American beach culture, casual Friday, and sadly, yes, the excused killing of Trayvon Martin.
A generational divide has become clear here — earlier, The Inquisitr posted about Dr. Martin Luther King’s appearance in a viral and moving image of the civil rights leader in a hoodie like Martin — and conservative King relative Alveda King believes the pic is an insult to her slain family member’s memory:
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would very likely not wear a hoodie… I can assure you he would not wear sagging pants. I don’t even think I’ve ever even seen his sons with sagging pants.”
Trayvon Martin was not wearing sagging pants the night he was killed, as widely-distributed post-mortem images so sadly show. His hoodie was much like that of Mark Zuckerberg — warm, practical, and in this case, necessary to keep his head dry on a raining early evening in the Florida winter.
But Dr. King’s relative isn’t the only one to keep on about Trayvon’s hoodie, very firmly pretending most of America’s youth (and the not so young, I wear a hoodie as I write this, married, a mother in my early 30s) favors the top over all else in all seasons.
The Washington Post (and no, that isn’t the “other one”) published a shocking piece on Trayvon’s hoodie and other factors writer Richard Cohen believes absolves George Zimmerman of shooting first and asking questions later.
Cohen, it seems, is part of the frightening number of people who realize their prejudices and not Trayvon’s hoodie are the true killers here, and the willful ignorance displayed only encourages more deaths, more profiling.
I’m tired of politicians and others who have donned hoodies in solidarity with Martin and who essentially suggest that, for recognizing the reality of urban crime in the United States, I am a racist… The hoodie blinds them as much as it did Zimmerman.
Women in particular should recognize this argument, as we’ve always lived with the idea our choice of clothing could “victimize” us, but outwardly, we do reject it, even if it is internalized.
Cohen admits to being a racist in the column, but uses some thin stats to back up his assertions, waving away the death of an unarmed teen as basically his own fault for being so damn scary:
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Zimmerman profiled Martin and, braced by a gun, set off in quest of heroism. The result was a quintessentially American tragedy — the death of a young man understandably suspected because he was black and tragically dead for the same reason.”
Cohen doubled down commenting to Politico:
It’s what’s worn by a whole lot of thugs… Look in the newspapers, online or on television: you see a lot of guys in the mugshots wearing hoodies.
To that end, sir, we also could end the sentence at “a lot of guys.” We see lots of men in mugshots, far more than women. How would you feel being profiled for your penis?
Trayvon’s hoodie raises the question not if, but when older America will realize the dress of the country’s youth is an indicator of little more than their tendency to shop at the same stores. The hoodie controversy is cute when it’s about Zuck’s success, but for young people like Trayvon, it must more actively be rejected as an excuse to profile or even shoot.