It was inevitable that Fox News was going to find a way to play the race card against Trayvon Martin and now, thanks to Geraldo Rivera, they figured out a way to do it: Have the (half ) Latino guy blame Martin’s hoodie. On this morning’s Fox & Friends, Rivera said, “I'm not suggesting that Trayvon Martin had any kind of weapon or anything, but he wore an outfit that allowed someone to respond in this irrational, overzealous way and if he had been dressed more appropriately, I think unless it's raining out, or you're at a track meet, leave the hoodie home.” For extra Fox race-baiting points, Rivera likened the situation to Juan Williams saying he gets nervous when he sees Muslims in Muslim garb on a plane. Of course, Williams got fired from NPR after that remark. Rivera, in all likelihood, will get a Fox News pat on the back via lots of air time. (H/T reader Alan)
In fact, Rivera’s appearance on Fox & Friends coincided with a column posted today on Fox Latino that made the same points – suggesting that Fox has already given him its seal of approval.
The entire segment must be watched to get its full effect. But here’s a partial transcript of the discussion:
Rivera: 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.
Juliet Huddy (undoubtedly feigning ignorance): What do you mean?
Rivera: When you, when you see a kid walking - Juliet, when you see a kid walking down the street, particularly a dark-skinned kid like my son Cruz, who I constantly yelled at when he was going out wearing a damn hoodie or those pants around his ankles, "Take that hood off, people look at you and they - what do they think? What's the instant identification, what's the instant association?
Steve Doocy: Uh-oh.
Rivera: It's those crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone sticking up a 7-11, the kid is wearing a hoodie. Every time you see a mugging on a surveillance camera where 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. Remember Juan Williams, our colleague? Our brilliant colleague? He got in trouble with NPR because he said Muslims in formal garb at the airport conjure a certain reaction in him or response in him. That's an automatic reflex. Juan wasn't defending it. He was explaining that that's what happens when he sees these particular people in that particular place.
When you see a black or Latino youngster, particularly on the street, you walk to the other side of the street. You try to avoid that confrontation. Trayvon Martin's you know, God bless him, he an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hand. He didn't deserve to die. But I'll bet you money, if he didn't have that hoodie on, that -- that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn't have responded in that violent and aggressive way.
… Stop wearing it! Don't let your kid -- you know the old Johnny Cash song, ‘Don't Take Your Gun (sic) To Town, Son, Leave your gun at home.' There is some things that are almost inevitable. I'm not suggesting that Trayvon Martin had any kind of weapon or anything, but he wore an outfit that allowed someone to respond in this irrational, overzealous way and if he had been dressed more appropriately, I think unless it's raining out, or you're at a track meet, leave the hoodie home. Don't let your children go out there.
Huddy: Perception is reality.
Rivera could have made the same point in a far less inflammatory and in a far more sensitive way - and at a far more appropriate time. An entire nation of African Americans is grieving - as a huge number of people of other ethnicities grieve right along with them. Yet Rivera picks this moment to blame the victim and black culture. Classy.
Look for Rivera on Fox News prime time tonight.
Guns Save, Hoodies Kill.