This is problematic.
There is so much more this 44 year old economically secure straight white college instructor could be doing than wearing a hoodie to demand justice for Trayvon Martin.
Like calling up his travel agent and stating I will no longer spend my vacation money in Florida; a state with laws that exist to protect murders like Zimmerman is not a place I will take my family for vacation. And then asking all of his over privileged friends to do the same. Tweet that out to your followers, Hugo, make that your facebook status. Fuck Florida I’m not spending any money there. No more Disney World for my family till the DA presses charges and the laws are changed.
He could publicly divest in Florida orange juice or the NFL or NBA, etc.
He could dedicate time in his classroom for young men of color to speak about the harassment they experience from white people/law enforcement on a regular basis- and the rest of the class members are instructed to just listen, not dissect or critique or make it about themselves in any way. Just listen to the black and brown people speak.
Hugo Schwyzer walking while white-but in a hoodie- means nothing. I’m white, I wear hoodies all the time. My white privilege negates any bias against my clothing choices every day.
Having a million brown skinned people show up en mass wearing hoodies makes a very clear statement of “You going to shoot us all?” because in the eyes of so many white people, especially those in positions of authority, all people of color are deserving of suspicion. There is a risk being taken by any black or brown person just walking down the street, wearing a hoodie increases that risk.
It’s kind of like that “We are all Troy Davis” bit all over again. No, we are not all Troy Davis and those of us who aren’t need to fight the system with the tools we have access to. We don’t need to feel guilt or shame, we need to feel anger and resolve. We have to make phone calls, send emails and share our disgust and outrage with everybody we can.
I’ve spoken with the boys about how this other boy was shot and killed because of racism. That the laws that are protecting the murderer were written and upheld by racist white men. And we’ll keep talking about it. I told them that while I worry for their safety because of child predators and bad drivers and just a general level of parental care, I don’t have to worry about them being targeted for their skin color. I told them how every parent I know who has a child who isn’t white has this huge extra burden that is real and valid and it’s horrible to see their worst fears come true in the killing of Trayvon Martin. We talked about Oscar Grant and all the bad things that were said about him after he was killed to try to justify the shooting. We all knew it was bullshit, just a way to cover up the racism. But with this 17 year old kid, nothing can be said against him. Nothing. He was doing everything right and it still doesn’t matter. That’s what systemic oppression is. There’s no way the victims can appease the perpetrators because it’s not a system built on respecting humanity. White people hating black people is a form of sociopathy; a publicly supported derangement. And I also tell my kids we’re not sociopaths, we’re sane, and so we have to speak up.
My heart breaks for Trayvon Martin’s family. I couldn’t listen to the 911 calls. I got nauseous when I read the Change.org letter from Trayvon’s parents. I was literally made sick by them having to plead for an arrest. So, me, as a white person, wearing a hoodie will do what now? Show that I stand in solidarity with common fucking sense unlike how many millions of white supremacists? Awesome.