It's no question that racism still lives in this country. It's no question that judgments are made based on someone's appearance, from what they wear, to the color of their skin. This is a reality of the world that we live in.
But what should not be a reality or be publicized for millions to see and hear are the comments and the mindsets of those like Mr. Geraldo Rivera. My blood boiled and I became so enraged when I read this “man’s” tweets on the killing of an innocent black teen by a neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman.
In case you missed it, the TV host took to his Twitter to state his thoughts on the Trayvon Martin case and in my opinion they were rather shameful, despicable, disgraceful and any other related word you can think of.
He tweeted on last Friday, March 23rd:
“His hoodie killed Trayvon Martin as surely as George Zimmerman."
“Its not blaming the victim It’s common sense-look like a gangsta&some armed schmuck will take you at your word”
“President Obama says if he had a son he would look like Trayvon- He could add, and he would never let his son walk around DC in a hoodie.”
After much backlash and outrage, Geraldo attempted to defend himself tweeting again:
“Critics of my hoodie comments think they're mad at me but they're really mad at the undeniably unfair reality of young male black/brown life”
Now I don’t even know where to begin with these comments! Geraldo Rivera might as well have said “what’s wrong with being racist?”
I took a Black Studies class at my college, Baruch in New York City, and thank the heavens I had a professor by the name of Regina Bernard, who didn’t just give us a rundown of all the great black figures in history and then went on to test us on it. Instead, she opened up our minds to the current state of poverty and racism and made us think about why are some Black, Latinos and other minorities stuck in poverty.
Some argued that they were just lazy… *side eye*, but we’ll leave that for another soapbox. But what I realized after taking the class is yes, slavery was abolished, yes, there are equal rights, but the job is not done A part is also uplifting yourself from the ugly discrimination and racism that does still exists. You have to absorb in your mind, body and soul that you, any shade you are, are deserving of being treated equally, deserve the same opportunity as every other American citizen in this country and should not settle for anything else.
When it has been constantly slammed into your consciousness that you are less than others, or the media constantly portrays your people as hostile, it can affect how you look at yourself. No matter what law says, you are equal. Yeah, you can vote, yeah, you can own land, that still doesn’t erase the years of abuse of Blacks and pretty much every non-white American race has experienced and all of its psychological effects.
This is clearly evident in Geraldo Rivera’s statements. He’s pretty much accepting and agreeing that injustice is OK, that prejudices are OK, that being racist is OK. He’s not simply saying this is wrong and it exists… he’s saying it’s wrong and we should accept this. What kind of message does that send? Especially when coming from a man who is Latino himself?
Mr. Rivera, are you telling us that it was Trayvon’s own fault he got killed because as a young black teen, he decided to throw on a hoodie to run to the store for a snack?!
In an interview with Fox Friends the TV anchor says:
“Every time you see someone sticking up a 7-11, the kid's wearing a hoodie. Every time you see a mugging on a surveillance camera or they get the old lady in the alcove, it's a kid wearing a hoodie. You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a 'gangsta'... You're gonna be a gangsta wannabe? Well, people are going to perceive you as a menace. That's what happens. It is an instant reflexive action."
I could be Black, White, Yellow, Red or Purple, dressed in all black, with a ski mask on in any city, state, providence or back alley - that doesn’t mean I’m guilty of any wrongdoing or that I was looking for trouble!
When it comes to a point where you are considering what to wear based on what people will assume of you, that my friends is when you have reached a point of self hatred. Yes, people do stereotype! This is fact! But another fact is, not only is it wrong, but it’s especially not acceptable to commit vile acts based on these stereotypes!
Are you aware of the message you are sending to millions of people Mr. Rivera?
Should Muslims not wear hijabs or turbans because they would be looked at as terrorists? Should everyone just compromise their entire lives based on the stereotypes that exist in this world? Like Questlove says, "What, I gotta stroll around rocking a tux 24/7 so I can put others who are ignorant at ease?” Where do we draw the line? Should Barack Obama not have run for President because it was thought of as impossible for a Black person to run this country?
MY PEOPLE, of all races and colors, please understand that it is not right for you to be the victim of hate crimes, or be denied any American right based on what you wear. No matter what color your skin, whether you’re almond, tan, honey glazed, or dark chocolate, whether you sag your jeans, or if you want rock leopard print fitted jeans Lil Wayne style, whether you wear a hoodie like Trayvon Martin or have on a button up or even if you want to dress like a ski-masked, black ninja - you have the right. C’mon, did Martin Luther King Jr. teach us nothing?! Content of character people!
Did you miss that Rivera?
MLK, Malcolm-X and every human that fought for civil rights did not fight for us to just settle in accepting that because our skin has color we have to deal with blatant injustice and constantly base our lives around how we are going to be perceived when we leave or homes! Judge me because I’m an asshole (which I’m totally not), not because I’m brown and decided to throw on a hoodie.
There are not many reasons that would justify the killing of this young teen. In an equation where George Zimmerman had a gun and weighs over 200 pounds, versus Trayvon Martin who was unarmed, weighing 140 and guilty of wearing a hoodie, Rivera’s rationale is just preposterous and disgusting.
Geraldo Rivera, please get your mind right! I'd say disappear off the face of the earth and never utter a word from your mustache covered lips again ... but a public apology might do just fine.
Spread love people and in the words of Bob Marley... "emancipate yourselves from mental slavery!"
Evanka Williamson is a Contributing Writer for GlobalGrind.com Follow her on twitter, @LOVEvanka
For more on Trayvon Martin, click on the links below.