This week, Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera got even more attention for his racially divisive thinking by picking on dead Black people. Appearing with Bill O’Reilly, another man who has attacked more Black people than any Neo-Nazi in America, Rivera decided to go into his “expert analysis” of the Trayvon Martin case. Rivera, perhaps thinking that he was giving a logical piece of advice on what people should be wearing if they don’t want to be shot, said that Trayvon was “dressed like a thug” on the night he was murdered.
So, perhaps when a woman gets raped, Rivera will gladly look at any surveillance video and help us to understand how “dressing like a slut” opens you up to sexual assault.
I am sure that Rivera’s advice was well-intended. His goal was to warn the rest of us that if you are seen in a place where you don’t belong while wearing a hoodie, someone might roll up on you and shoot you in cold blood. I get it. That’s similar to the Crips in Los Angeles warning me not to wear red in Blood territory. If I decide to sport my Ohio State University sweat shirt, then I clearly deserve to die.
Even deeper is the fact that Rivera, arguably the most-racist Hispanic man in history (wait, Juan Williams is Panamanian, right? Scratch that.), would probably argue that his comment has nothing to do with race. He would say that even if Trayvon had been a White guy, he should also expect to die for wearing his hoodie that night. After all, thuggin’ is thuggin’, whether it be a White or Black guy doing the dirt.
Obviously, Rivera’s remarks are refuted by the hoodie-toting billionaire Mark Zuckerberg (pictured right), who is the founder of the social network that you spend half your life on, also wears hoodies to important board meetings with multi-billionaires, and doesn’t get shot for doing so.
So, Rivera is not trying to say that Trayvon was dressed like a thug. What he is implying to be Trayvon’s grave mistake is that he was dressed like a BLACK thug. Race is the only factor that differentiates Zuckerberg’s decision to wear his hoodie from Trayvon.
In your perpetual ignorance, you’ve actually helped to highlight one of the fundamental concepts behind White privilege: White people are allowed to do things that Black people cannot. If Zuckerberg wears his hoodie, it’s cool. If I wear my hoodie, it’s OK for me to catch a clip.
Geraldo, I’m sure David Duke has a hoodie for you too.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Syracuse University Professor and author of the forthcoming book, “The RAPP Sheet: Rising Above Psychological Poison.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.