Friday, March 23, 2012
In graduate school, I used to wear my hoodie (off my head) into the Harvard Coop in the fall/winter, just hoping the staff would accost me the way they did the local black kids dressed the same. It bothered my former spouse that I would dress, as a grown man, so 'poorly' to go to the Square, but the profiling always bothered me more.
However, as much as it pains me, Geraldo Rivera's concern is right (here). In less than a hot minute, (except if we are at home) I would tell my son to pull down the hood, pull up the pants, AND take your damn hands out of your pockets! My dad said those very words to me many times. Dead black men/boys can't protest!
Looking like you are about to rob a place or somebody is not smart. However, walking down the street with a beverage and candy, hoody-on or not, is not menacing. To this my old man more likely would have asked why I was acting like it is cold when it is 70 degrees outside.
The bottom-line. There are types of behavior that should draw suspicion. Overcoats in the summer, dark glasses at night, loitering near places that are easily robbed. Baggy clothes that might conceal a weapon always catch my eye. Hoodies 'up' indoors. But this is not a kid walking down the street minding his own business.
To this day, I do not wear sunglasses indoors and I am mindful of how I appear upon entering establishments, especially banks. It's just common sense in a world where simply being black can be a threat.
Trayvon Martin should be alive today!
James C. Collier
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