I really tried to stay out of the Trayvon Martin case. But people are writing some really dumb things online –particularly about his choice of attire: a hoodie — and my outrage at the truly ignorant and, frankly racist, remarks I’m seeing online prompted me to spout off on the comment threads of these posts, and on Facebook among my friends. But the fire in my belly still burns, so I really need to process this here, with you.
Two things really set me off:
The first was this article about Geraldo Rivera’s remarks equating a hooded sweat jacket (commonly called a hoodie) with “gangsta” clothing. **
Since when does a hoodie translate into full on “gangsta” apparel? Hoodies refer to the hood attached to the top, not where they are purchased and worn! It’s a sweat jacket…and people of all colors wear them for warmth, exercise, and yeah, a relaxed clothing option (like jeans & a t-shirt). Where has it ever been reported that this kid wore “saggy pants?” It’s a hoodie! A common item sold just about everywhere. Further, one of the comments mentions “gang colors.” As far as I know the hoodie was black, and he was not in known gang territory, but rather an affluent gated community where his father’s fiancee had a home. Nor was there any evidence that Trayvon Martin ever had any sort of gang affiliation at any point in his life. Maybe it’s still my simmering anger, but, the incident itself, and the subsequent commentary about it, seem to imply, by extension, that Blacks cannot be wealthy or live wherever they want…the whole reason George Zimmerman found Trayvon Martin’s presence “suspicious.”
The second catalyst for my “day of rage:” Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson the NAACP, ACLU, athletes and celebrities alike are all harping on the fact that it’s taken a month for all of this to trickle out to the press. Just like Bristol Palin questioned when she might receive a call from the President in the wake of “Fluke-gate,” I ask: Why aren’t all these civil rights “heroes” converging on California and sounding the media alarm about Shaima Alawadi? Since the media is largely ignoring the story, I’ll tell you that she’s the 32-year old Iraqi mother who died after being brutally beaten and left for dead, only to be removed from life support and succumbing to her injuries days later.
Whereas the jury is still out on whether the Martin/Zimmerman case was racially motivated (facts are still being uncovered), we do know the Alawadi murder was. Mrs. Alawadi recieved a letter days before the incident, stating, “Go back to your country, you terrorist.” The assumption is, because Mrs. Alawadi was Iraqi and ostensibly wore a hajib (I say that because her daughter does), she is somehow a member of al-Qaeda — the Trayvon Martin equivalent of automatic “gang” affiliation? Just as with Trayvon Martin, isn’t that a stereotype? Is now the hajib the Middle Eastern equivalent of a “hoodie” (now redefined as “gangsta” apparel?).
I have often said that the last three years of all this “conservatives are racist because they disagree with the President (who happens to be Black) must be racially motivated” ca-ca would result in desensitization of — and confusion about — true instances of racism…and here we are. The Alawadi murder is a case of racism, and the Martin case is being pursued as one.
I really do hope that reason, evidence, hard-cold facts and cooler heads prevail in following wherever the trail leads in the Trayvon Martin case. But, as with most things that get stuck in my craw, I had to point out the hypocrisy in the outrage in one instance (Trayvon Martin’s case) and the utter silence of the other (justice for Mrs. Alawadi). I want justice for all crimes — including hate crimes — and without regard to the color, race, religion or orientation of the victim or the perpetrator. Now that’s the real definition of “post-racial!”!
** I think Geraldo’s words were ridiculous in the extreme. But to say that these comments cost him his “credibility” is equally ridiculous….He lost that years ago with Al Capone’s tomb.