On today’s Fox & Friends, Geraldo said, “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.” He added that Martin “wore an outfit that allowed someone to respond in this irrational, overzealous way and if he had been dressed more appropriately,” he’d still be alive. My first thought (and Irin Carmon’s, too): this sounds exactly like rape-victim-blaming.
Swap “hoodie” with “short skirt,” and you have the conventional wisdom that gets thrown around every time a woman is assaulted: if only she’d been dressed more “appropriately” (in sweatpants? a burlap sack?) she would’ve been safe. As if it needed to be noted again, this is not true for rape victims, whose clothing has little impact on their risk of attack. And don’t forget that George Zimmermann called 911 last year to report a black male he found suspicious for no apparent reason — a black male who was 7 to 9 years old. So yes. That damn extra flap of fabric hanging off the back of Martin’s sweatshirt. That’s where Zimmerman’s paranoia began.