…the blame rests solely on the people whose perception is that black, brown and even poor white people, especially young men and boys, in hoodies are criminals or criminal-minded.
The hoodie has become to the young, urban male what the short skirt is to the young, urban female. This seems to be especially true when we talk about non-rich/non-wealthy young people; people who live in the inner cities or come from the so-called “wrong side of the tracks.”
The perception is that a woman wearing revealing clothing is loose and available. If someone decides to take advantage of her, then she “asked for it.”
It’s the same as saying, “If you kill a young man or boy because his style of dress (in this case, the hoodie) appears to be sinister, then he “asked for it.”
This, more than anything, was what appeared to cause the outrage from so many people at Geraldo Rivera’s comments about parents allowing their children to leave the house in hoodies.
The hoodie is an innocuous piece of clothing, just like the windbreaker, the parka or the Letterman jacket.
However, if young people from the inner city or the “wrong side of the tracks” in windbreakers, parkas and Letterman jackets start committing crimes in large numbers, then those clothing items will join the ranks of the hoodie, Timberland boots and baggy jeans. They will be associated with crime and anyone wearing one of them will be perceived to be a criminal or criminal-minded.
So the issue here is perception.
If you don’t think perception is often more real in the human mind than what’s actually true, then you really should have another think coming.
Perception is the catalyst behind racial profiling, which is essentially what many people think George Zimmerman was engaged in when he saw Trayvon Martin walking down the street.
Young people don’t need to change the way they dress; whether it be the hoodie or the mini-skirt.
Judgmental people need to change the way they perceive young people because of the way they dress.
When we put the blame on the article of clothing, we abridge the humanity of the person wearing the article of clothing. We relegate the person to the status of the inanimate object, the article of clothing, and this is why it’s easier to blame the victim instead of punishing the victimizer.
People want George Zimmerman indicted, arrested and put on trial.
People want to put their trust in twelve jurors to get justice for Trayvon Martin; the justice they perceive that Martin deserves and only the justice system can mete out.
But think about this…
Isn’t reasonable doubt just another way of saying perception?