Spin Cycle

03.23.12

Geraldo Rivera’s Self-Inflicted Wound on the Trayvon Martin Killing

Blaming the hoodie for Trayvon Martin’s death.

Geraldo, Geraldo, Geraldo. What were you thinking?

A black teenager is dead, through no apparent fault of his own, and you blame his wardrobe choice?

It was all the fault of the hoodie.  

Most pundits say dumb things from time to time. But in weighing in on the killing of Trayvon Martin, Geraldo Rivera conducted a premeditated drive-by.

In a Friday morning appearance on Fox & Friends, the veteran journalist deflected some of the blame for the fatal shooting from George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who, like Rivera, is Hispanic.

While saying Zimmerman should be prosecuted if guilty, Rivera opined: “But I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.”

Yes, he went there. Rivera is blaming the victim. The 17-year-old was armed only with a bag of Skittles, but he shouldn’t have worn that damn hoodie.

Geraldo didn’t stop digging the hole. While allowing that Trayvon was a nice kid who “didn’t deserve to die,” he sure must have looked like a crook.

“When you see a black or Latino youngster, particularly on the street, you walk to the other side of the street. You try to avoid that confrontation.” And: “I’ll bet you money, if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that—that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way.”

I guess minorities in this country are to blame if they stir fears by wearing a jacket with a hood. White folks, of course, don’t have to worry about this.

Maybe there’s a time and place for a discussion of hoodies. But Geraldo, with much of the country disgusted by this killing for which no one has been charged, this sure wasn’t it.