I’ll start this by saying I am not the most qualified person to write this. I “pass” for white, even though I am technically Native American. Most of what I know about racism I learned from books. I mean, I have seen it with my own eyes, but it was the learning that taught me to recognize it MORE. What I want to talk about now is this ridiculousness of hoodies.
When I was in high school, back in the nineties, the wearing of bandanas was banned as being related to gang-paraphenalia. The funny thing about this is, my high school was still largely white. And the one person I knew who was really affected by this ruling was one of “us” i.e. he was an intellectual. He was a skinny white guy, for whatever reason, wrapped bandannas around his purposefully faded and tattered jeans. I remember his outrage at this edict, and our (the intellectuals) general discredulousness over the idea of HIM being a gang member.
So this idea that hoodies are dangerous brings me back to this. I am thirty-eight years old, and I happen to own a couple of hoodies because my mother bought them (personally, I don’t like hoodies because I have big hair). Had it been a “white” kid, I would be interested to know how many people would be making this stupid argument about hoodies. I know it’s hard for some of you to step back from this, but I’ve heard the 911 tapes, not the one made by Zimmerman, but the other ones. And I look at the pictures of this kid, and nothing about him says dangerous. I think about all the times I used to walk to the gas station to buy snacks, and how I started getting hooted at as I got older, and I would have run, too.
And another note, this ridiculousness about Newt deriding President Obama for saying Trayvon could have been his son. First of all NEWT! Obama did not bring race into it, you did! And honestly, Trayvon does resemble what I imagine a young Obama looked like. As for me, a “white” woman, Trayvon looks like a sweet kid; I’ve seen the kids they arrest here in Atlanta for crimes, and Trayvon looks nothing like that. He has a beautiful smile, something about the look of him is so genuinely open for a young man of his age. I want my nephews to look into the camera like that when they are Trayon’s age. I imagine it is these sort of thoughts that ran through Obama’s mind, in addition to the obvious resemblance, when he made his statement.
As for the bandana guy I went to school with, he is now an award-winning teacher. Just the IDEA that the wearing of a hoodie as a hoodie should be worn is a CRIMINAL act. . . I’m just sickened by this. Like I said, I OWN hoodies, bought my my 72 year-old white mother, who looks like Mrs. Claus. So if I am in the rain, and I put my hoodie up and run because a creepy man is chasing me WITH A GUN, does that make ME at fault in ANY way?