02 August 2013
Zimmerman: Part 1 Hoodies
Much has been made of the hooded sweatshirt as regards the Trayvon Martin killing. It has been suggested that Martin was targeted (unfairly) because he was wearing a "hoodie".
The reasoning goes something like this: Black youth wear hooded sweatshirts. Some black youth commit crimes while wearing hooded sweatshirts. Trayvon wore a hooded sweatshirt. Therefore George Zimmerman must have figured Trayvon was black and up to no good and thus racially profiled and killed him because of what he was wearing, and all innocent hoodie-wearing kids are now targets. Or so it goes.
I'm going to suggest to you that Trayvon Martin's apparel could not have been a factor in George Zimmerman's suspicions because it was raining that night back in February in Sandford, Florida.
The whole idea of the hoodie is for it to be worn covering as much of the head and face as possible, even if the weather is balmy and there isn't a cloud in the sky. I mean what teen wears a hoodie-hoodie with the hood down? The aim is to look like you are trying to hide your face, and look like you could have just robbed a swifty-mart, and pistol-whipped the Apu behind the counter. To look like four hundred other black youth in the area with similar hoodies. To have that sullen, put-upon, bored, I-dare-you-to-hassle-me look. To then affect cynical beligerance when the police want to ask a few questions because you fit the description. They just want to brace you 'cause you're black. Can't drive while black and now you can't even walk while pigmented.
But that night, anybody would have had the hood up to protect his head from the weather. I, even I, fat white fifty-ish square un-hip bald guy would have had the hood up. And that is why it is not remarkable.
Zimmerman doesn't even mention the hoodie as being one of his suspicions. He mentions Trayvon wandering, and walking behind and between the homes, and not hurrying to get out of the rain, like a normal pedestrian with somewhere to go, and seeming to be on drugs. Zimmerman describes suspicious behavior.
Martin could have been carrying an umbrella or wearing a trilby or a big yellow rubber fisherman's sou'wester cap, instead of a hooded sweatshirt, and events would have turned out the same.
All the fuss about the hoodie came much later and was added to the storyline to further the racism theory of Trayvon Martin's death.