April 16, 2012
People, in general, should be very careful about what they say in public. Words can be damaging, inflammatory, and frankly painful and insulting when used recklessly. Geraldo Rivera, a member of the the vast news media/journalism sect should know this fact because his career was built on the foundation of words. Words are powerful even when misspoken and misplaced. Attorneys often make statements in a trial that they know will be stricken from the court records to manipulate juries. A kind word can turn a bad day around, and a few hateful ones have caused riots. Words carry weight.
I believe that George Zimmerman, the overzealous neighborhood watch captain should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law and if he is criminally liable, he should be prosecuted. But 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.
George Zimmerman probably did not shoot Trayvon Martin because of a deep-seated hatred of African American people. But, that is why he was more dangerous to the African American and Hispanic youth than a guy that does openly hate minorities. A member of the Aryan brotherhood is publicly ignorant and usually harmless for several reasons. They are easily recognizable to the people that they hate and thus easily avoidable by them. The guys that are more dangerous to society, and specifically to minorities are the people that do not recognize their own bigotry. Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin not because of an open bias against him, but because of subtle prejudices that inundate society about people of the minority. A white kid in the same hoodie would have just been a kid hanging out after dark. A person of color in a hoodie is perceived as a criminal. Geraldo’s intent was admirable. It was an attempt to protect kids from discrimination by informing the parents of a simple thing like changing a hoodie that can change perceptions about their children, however Geraldo spoke recklessly about the Trayvon Martin case. Though his words were offered as a helpful, public service announcement for the safety of minorities, their affect was hurtful, deflecting, and incendiary to the people that he was trying to help. Saying that Trayvon Martin is any way responsible for his own death is similar to making indicting comments about a victim of rape for dressing or behaving suggestively. Even in a short skirt, a low-cut top, and with a history of promiscuity, no woman should be sexually assaulted or worse, blamed for the assault. Similarly in this case, Martin should not have to had changed his wardrobe because of the prejudices of another person. Geraldo Rivera, a man of color, should have tempered his comments regardless of his intention. His statements placed the blame of a murder suspect on the victim instead of the suspected shooter, George Zimmerman. Only one person is responsible for the death of Trayvon Martin, and that is his murderer.
Geraldo Rivera did more than insult the African American community with his comments about this case. He attacked a God-given and government-protected right. Martin did not reside in the Middle East where the wrong clothing can be a considered a crime. Martin did not live under a dictatorship where one person decided what is lawful and what is punishable by law. Trayvon Martin lived in the United States, in a democracy, where he was free to wear whatever clothing he pleased. And, he should not have been subjected to a death sentence by the prejudices of another citizen. Most comments reveal something about the person that made them, and Geraldo’s comments divulged much more than they were intended to expose. They showed his true feelings about minorities in hoods and the perception that society has about minorities in them. The Trayvon Martin story is a tragedy, but it will force some people that considered themselves to be tolerant to take a necessary look inward. It is just sad that it took the loss of a child’s life for that happen.