Let me make clear that I think the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, given the series of events in the media is an atrocity by any measure. My condolences to the Martin family and may they receive justice and peace. With all the media attention focused on the wrongful death shooting and botched Sanford police investigation, Mr. Zimmerman will be tried, convicted and my desire is, executed under the Florida state statutes for his tragically misguided deadly actions.
I think the organizers of the march are playing to the wrong side of the issue, in making the hoodie the symbol of the march. The hoodie worn by any male regardless of ethnicity is a symbol of concealment and danger to those aware of their environment. The Hoodie March should have focused on Trayvon Martin, the bright, warm, articulate, loving, intelligent, young Black man. The pictures of him on at a ski resort and in a football uniform are heart breaking for me. He was obviously not a Boy From da Hood!
The wearing hoodies to conceal one’s identity in the commission of crime is a problem for mall security, shopkeepers, police and residents in U.S. and the U.K. If you Google ban hoodies numerous incidents of city mayors, citizens and police are requesting a ban wearing hoodies at any time.
However, it points out the negative Black American stereotypes that Hollywood and the nightly newscasts have engrained in the American and International psyche over the decades regardless of the pop culture of the time. Hollywood has justified exploiting of Blacks since the “Birth of Nation”, which President Woodrow Wilson used as a pretext to segregate Washington, D.C. and the Federal government at large. Blacks have disproportionately been portrayed as criminals, cheats, buffoons, and rapists by the entertainment and news genre. The LIBERAL moniker is a misnomer.
When I drive in urban areas and see Black young men with baby faces dressed in hoodies and baggy pants my antenna for trouble goes way up. Why? That’s face of drive-by shootings, car jacking other horrendous crimes that I see in movies, television show and news reports.
I have constantly counseled Black men in my family, numerous mentoring events and on my radio show, that like it or not, right or wrong:
You are judged by the books you read, the company you keep,
and how well you speak and dress!
If you are wearing gangbanger clothing attempting to perpetrate or emulate gang members, how are the police, a person a restaurant, elevator, or park setting beside you is to know your character and true identity.
The facts are we communicate on a constant basis using verbal, non-verbal, visual, body movement, smells, and aural messaging. Yes, we profile and make judgments about each other continually; it is an integral part of communicating.
Over the pass 40 years I have been a victim of mischaracterization during profiling by law enforcement, business people, and other citizens. I have always demanded to be treated with the respect accorded any other law-abiding citizen. I could only demand that because of my professional image, the projection and diction of my voice, and knowing my rights as a citizen.
I can cite numerous incidents of professionally-dressed Black American males being harassed by law enforcement because of the their profile. Baseball great, Joe Morgan, and Laker great Jamal Wilkes, athlete Al Joyner, Rodney King were beaten by LAPD in LAX in the ‘90’s. The practice continues and if the videotape hadn’t captured the beating the LAPD would have prevailed because they lied in the incident reports.
In Chicago you can be tried and sentenced to prison as a felon for videotaping the CPD at any time. Which is in total disregard of the U.S. Constitution by the city and state government officials. My latest incident was a year ago driving home at 11:00pm in a Mercedes S550 and being followed by the Chicago Police Department. I stopped and called the Patrol Sargent to find out why his patrol officers were following me. He immediately thanked me for the feedback and corrected the practice.