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Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Fear Of A Black Planet, What Got Trayvon Killed.

Rally for Trayvon Martin

This story, with its stench of racial bias, is not a matter of black versus white. It isn’t symbolized by nooses, clubs, or snarling dogs. It isn’t a modern-day Emmitt Till. Today the pain of racism flares up and then subsides; it throbs like a dull ache and often its source can be hard to locate. On good days, it even feels like it has gone away.
So it’s not really surprising that something as banal as a hoodie, which Martin was wearing when he was killed, has become symboli of Zimmerman’s presumed prejudice, ignorance, and animus. When Zimmerman described Martin as “suspicious” to a 911 operator, it begged the question: What, precisely, made him suspect? Since there was no indication from the call that Martin’s actions were untoward, logic turned to his mere presence. He was a black man in jeans and … a hoodie.

Such a stupid, innocuous garment.
It has never had the fear factor of black leather or steel-toe boots. Swaggering rappers and tough guys were never able to take full ownership of hoodies; they weren’t able to exploit them for their own purposes like baggy jeans or oversized white t-shirts. There was too much that was functional, cuddly, and universal about hoodies for them to be fully co-opted. Too broad a population embraced them. They remained rooted in weekend athleticism and collegiate sports, the Gap and Old Navy. Suburban dads wear them when they mow their lawn. Soccer moms wear them to soccer games. Channel surfers pull them on for pizza and beers.

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