Tag Archive | news

The Hoodie Argument

Photo taken from Flickr user: Harlequeen

Geraldo Rivera made the following statements on the show Fox & Friends:

  • “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.”
  • “You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta – you’re going to be a gangsta wannabe? Well, people are going to perceive you as a menace.”

After his segment on Fox & Friends, he tweeted two other statements:

  • “My own son just wrote to say he’s ashamed of my position re hoodies-still I feel parents must do whatever they can to keep their kids safe”
  • “Its not blaming the victim Its common sense-look like a gangsta&some armed schmuck will take you at your word”

I never knew that wearing a hoodie and looking like a gangsta were synonymous. Herein lies part of the problem with Geraldo Rivera’s argument. For some reason, Rivera is fixated on the hoodie being a dangerous article of clothing. A hoodie alone, I don’t believe, can be considered responsible for endangering someone’s life. And looking like a gangsta shouldn’t be responsible either, though, it probably would sway someone to look at a person with a much more vigilant eye.

What we wear, that is, our entire attire, and not just one article of clothing, certainly does influence people to form a particular judgment of us. Society as a whole simply does not hold the same opinion of an individual wearing baggy street clothes and of one wearing more formal attire, especially if the former is of a minority group and the latter is white. Sometimes even the same clothes on individuals of different races will formulate different judgments. Whether we like it or not, someone’s outside appearance and race will determine the type of attention, reaction, and treatment they will receive.

What’s important to remember is that clothing should not fabricate, whether positively or negatively, an individual’s character, and, consequently, cannot adequately determine their threat to society. Wearing gangsta-looking clothes does not automatically mean that someone is dangerous, just like wearing a suit, let’s say, does not mean that someone cannot be dangerous; it works both ways. Ultimately, even if someone looks like a gangsta no one should want to shoot them if they’re not being harmed by them.

Having grown up in a community that is primarily made up of African American, Asian, and Latino populations, I have seen and have been one of those stereotypical hoodie-wearing, young, and dark-skinned males. There was a time when I choose to wear clothes far bigger than my actual size because I was influenced by what I saw around me, but not because I was part of that crowd. Eventually I grew out of that phase and started wearing clothes that actually fit. Part of the reason was because I didn’t want to be associated with negative social circles; deep down I knew that outside of my community people would associate me and my clothing choices with being a gangsta. At no point in time, however, did I stop wearing hoodies.

While I do believe that individuals, especially those from minority groups, should choose what they wear carefully in order to not be seen as a threat, at the end of the day clothing choices is not what kills people. Weapons in the hands of ignorant and racist individuals who make lethal and rash decisions based on someone’s appearance, is what kills people.

Do I look like a gangsta?

Technology Has Always Been A Secret Enemy

It would be highly challenging to live in this day and age without any technology. We depend on it, we take advantage of it, and, we can even be targets of law enforcement because of it.

When we think of technology, we most likely think of all the wonderful things we are able to accomplish because of it. However, much less talked about and highlighted are the negative aspects of it, like the traps that they can possibly set us up for. Technology makes it easier to record, track, and monitor our activity, and whether we’re involved in something incriminating or not, we all have some level of privacy we would like to keep.

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court ruled in a case that discussed police installing a GPS tracker on the car of a man thought to be handling drugs. Read more about that here: Supreme Court Rejects Willy-Nilly GPS Tracking. A year ago, the California Supreme Court ruled that police can search the phones of people who are arrested. Read more about that and how to prevent police from searching data on your phone here: Why You Should Always Encrypt Your Smartphone. These two court cases are similar in that both deal with collecting information without a warrant, which deals with the Fourth Amendment, but are different in the manner in which they collect the information and in the decisions reached by the courts.

With today’s technology, privacy is slowly fading away, either because of the invading characteristics of some items (GPS, phones) or because of our own willingness to use those items and expose ourselves (blogs, social networks). There was a time when people didn’t have these things and were able to survive and thrive without them, but I’m not sure that would be the case now. Could we survive? Sure. Could we thrive? That’s questionable. Since it’s very unlikely that we would go without these items, do as they say: keep your friends close and your enemies closer.