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art by Favianna Rodriguez

Art by Favianna Rodriguez

“ Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” – Paulo Freire, Educator

GERALDO: HOODIES DON’T KILL

Here's the message we sent to our members. After you've read it, please add your voice.

Tell Geraldo that racism killed Trayvon, not his hoodie 

Please sign and tell Geraldo to apologize and set the record straight.

Dear Friend,

Fox News host, Geraldo Rivera, incited national outrage last Friday when he made a reckless statement on national television about the killing of Trayvon Martin. As one of the most prominent Latino journalists in the country, Geraldo should immediately apologize and set the record straight.

Speaking on Fox & Friends, Geraldo actually blamed Trayvon’s murder on the 17-year-old’s choice of clothing, saying:

“I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was." 1

Geraldo was speaking about the hooded sweatshirt that 17-year old Trayvon Martin was wearing when he was followed and was gunned down by George Zimmerman. Geraldo went even further and implied that if “dark-skinned” kids don’t want to be attacked or racially profiled then they should stop wearing hoodies. 2

Tell Geraldo to set the record straight on Fox, and to focus instead on reporting accurately about how and why Trayvon Martin was killed.

While Trayvon’s parents and the entire country are calling for justice, demanding the immediate arrest of Zimmerman, who is still free – Geraldo has decided to divert our attention away form the sad truth at core of this national tragedy: an innocent young man was killed in cold blood – not for wearing a hoodie – but for being a Black youth.

Blaming this tragedy on an article of clothing that is widely worn in this country (even by Geraldo himself) is irresponsible and works against those of us who are trying to teach our children that society needs to treat them with respect.

This moment offers us an opportunity to stand up for young men of color and to demand that their humanity be valued. Rather than perpetuate the stereotypes against young men of color, Geraldo can use his privilege as a public person and journalist to talk less about hoodies and more about how racism endangers our children.

Racism is at the center of this tragic incident. When Zimmerman described Trayvon to the police he referred first and foremost to his race, not to his hoodie: “he has his hand in his waistband. He’s a black male.” Martin was on a cell phone call with his girlfriend moments before his death, and she reported him saying that he put his hoodie up because Zimmerman had been following him. 3

Geraldo should have put the blame where it belongs – on Zimmerman and the gun-crazed and racist culture that creates and enables this violence. Instead, his comments divert from real tragedy in the name of sensationalist journalism.

Tell Geraldo to set the record straight on Fox, and to focus instead on reporting accurately about how and why Trayvon Martin was killed.

Thanks y ¡adelante!

Arturo, Felipe, Favianna, Roberto, Ana, and the rest of the Presente.org team

References:

1. "Geraldo Rivera: Trayvon Martin's 'Hoodie Is As Much Responsible For [His] Death As George Zimmerman", 3/23/2012, Huffington Post http://huff.to/GTBS5Q


2. "A fight for Trayvon Martin is a war against stereotypes", 3/24/2012, CNN, http://bit.ly/H0iAwO


3. "Geraldo Rivera’s anti-hoodie stance doesn’t apply to him", 3/25/2012, MSN, http://on-msn.com/GMEnN8