Elizabeth Bastian

BY ELIZABETH BASTIAN, Perspectives Editor

Well, parents, you better not let your kids out of the house in sweatshirts anymore. Didn’t you know that certain articles of clothing can give neighborhood vigilantes permission to shoot and kill your child?

Or so says Geraldo Rivera in light of 17-year-old Floridian Trayvon Martin’s death.

On Friday, the Fox News host urged “…the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly not to let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as much as George Zimmerman was.”

All week, national outrage over this senseless killing of a teenager who was simply walking around his neighborhood has been brewing. Killed on February 26 of this year by a 28 year old volunteer neighborhood watchman, Martin’s death has yet to see any justice, because according to police, there is no evidence to contradict Zimmerman’s self-defense claim.

There have been walk-outs at high schools. Marches. Protests. Interviews with the poor parents of this child. President Obama even said that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon. Why would he have used such powerful and emotional rhetoric if this was simply a minute murder?

Hoodies on minority young adults do not imply suspicion. “Looking like a gangster” is never a reason to shoot someone! And why would you EVER use a fabrication of poly-cotton blend as a scapegoat for blatant racial profiling?

Because that is what it boils down to. THAT is why the nation is, slowly but surely, coming up in arms about this. Trayvon Martin was a young, African-American male who was walking around at night. He made someone feel uncomfortable. And for that, he was killed.

I’m not trying to completely knock the power of neighborhood vigilantes. In Detroit, groups of volunteers who come together to protect and watch over their neighbors have picked up a lot of the slack that the Detroit Police have let go of. When your 911 service is a machine that rarely comes to your rescue, brave souls such as these are needed and appreciated. Look at the power of Angel’s Night in October. But this is Detroit, not the small town of Sanford, Florida. I’m pretty sure that real gang violence does happen here, but we rarely hear about someone being murdered because they looked suspicious.

Here’s an idea. How about instead of minority parents letting their kids freeze to death because they can only walk around in t-shirts, parents of all ethnicities and religions educate their children and themselves about racism and discrimination? About equality, liberty, and, oh I don’t know, respect? About how to never, ever judge someone based on the way they look? Perhaps that would get us farther in life. Just throwing that out there.

These kinds of ordeals make me sick to my stomach. I can only hope that folks like Zimmerman are brought to justice, and that the newer generations and Millennials will have more sense and acceptance than Gen X. If not, as a nation, we’re heading nowhere fast.

And if that’s the case, I’d better start burning all my sweatshirts.