Veronica Roberts

I had to cool down before I could write about it for this article would have been highly unprofessionally worded if I had done it immediately upon hearing the deluge of garbage coming from Geraldo Rivera’s mouth on Fox --for it made my blood boil.

“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,” says Geraldo Rivera. There is more just click on the video above to take a listen.

So according to Geraldo, it’s Trayvon’s fault he was shot and killed like a pheasant on a hunting trip. He should not have worn a hoodie. The statement is so incredibly insensitive and irresponsible, my jaw literally dropped. To him the hoodie represented being a gangsta so if our children “looked like gangstas, expect to be treated like one.”

First of all what we wear, how we sound or walk have nothing to do with it. Let's not forget that Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and others were murdered wearing Brooks Brothers type suits. This is not about the attire. Moerover, this is a land of laws and we are all protected. Suburban White children wear hoodies. Adults wear hoodies. Geraldo was seen wearing hoodies. It is a piece of clothing and this rabble-rouser is saying that profiling is okay. That our children shot and killed in cold blood is excusable because they should know not to dress a certain way. It is not the hoodie, Geraldo -it is the racist, prejudicial, biased thinking of people like you who racially profile who is wearing them that’s the problem.

Black men in Brook Brothers suits and the latest high end vehicles have been stopped and harassed by cops. The preppy-wearing youth has been stopped by cops or watched incessantly in stores by employees and guards because of their color. I have been followed in stores despite being dressed like a corporate exec or CEO because of the color of my skin, not because I was wearing a hoodie.

It is not our attire; it is racism, plain and simple. It is that age-old, deep, dark prejudice still strangling the life out of our children, our men. I am not surprised by the killing of Trayvon as viscerally shocking as it is. America's deep dark racist past---where it was sanctioned by the federal government that we were inferior and three fifths of a person, was not that long ago—slavery ended in the 19th century. But the climate of exploitation and racism did not end. The Civil Rights Act of 1964—which was only some 50 years ago mind you—attempted to right the inhumanity that was legal throughout the land.

But as I said before, we cannot legislate away ignorance and hate, so this country is riddled with folks who still think that way--who still hate us for having some kink to our hair and melanin to our skin. Folks who are nostalgic for the “good ole days." Some who are pining for a good ole fashioned lynching. The gun has now replaced the ropes and the racial profiling, the white hoodies of the KKK. Now those are the hoodies Geraldo should really be outraged about.

It’s 2012 in America, should we still have to fear being killed because of what we wear?