When Geraldo Rivera suggested that George Zimmerman was as focused on Travyvon Martin's hoodie as his skin color, people shrieked. I shrugged my shoulders.
Although I'm white as snow, I wear hoodies with the hoods up. Growing up, teachers would call me a "hood." My dad would get pissed at me for "leaving the house looking like an idiot."
To this day, I have an assortment of hoodies, including ones adorned with a certain technology company's logo and even a James Perse.
When you wear a hoodie with the hood up, girls move across the sidewalk. When they get into an elevator with you, there's an awkard silence. First they move to the other side of the elevator. Then then look down at their iPhones, as if closing their eyes to the violence that is about to befall them.
There actually is something spooky about a hoodie.
A hoodie adds gives the illusion that you're 20 pounds heavier than you actually are. It also puts the imaginary bulk in the masculine place - on your neck and shoulder girdle.
When police are short guys for a line-up, they'll throw a hoodie on the skinny guy to make him appear more like the bulkier, t-shirt clad suspect.
I also could see myself in Trayvon's shoes. If some nosy fuck ran up on me, asking why I was doing in the neighborhood, I would have said, "Who the fuck are you?"
This isn't make-believe. One day I was sitting in a dog park when a woman approached me. Mistaking me for someone else, she said, "Clean up after your dog!"
I am the most polite guy you'll meet unless you, "Come at me, bro."
So fuck busy bodies like Zimmerman. He's not owed an explanation, and he approaches, he gets his ass kicked.
If I got shot, it wouldn't be a hate crime. It'd be what happens when you go "street" on a person instead of saying, as Trayvon could have told Zimmerman: "Hey, I'm visiting my uncle, and that's why you don't recognize me. Thanks for watching the neighborhood."
Then again, there's often no reasoning with people like Zimmerman. He probably would have asked for identification before effectuating a citizen's arrest.
Martin, like I would have, kicked Zimmerman's ass for being a busybody.
There are thus non-racial angles in the Trayvon Martin case. When you roll around wearing a hoodie, you need to have some self-awareness. People are going to think you're suspicious.
You can either acknowledge them as being of good faith. ("Way to watch the neighborhood.") Or you can get street.
When you go street on someone, you can get stabbed or shot. And it won't have anything to do with your skin color.
None of us can say what happened. To go hysterical in the face of ignorance is madness.