Fox News' Geraldo Rivera stunned viewers with remarks about the Trayvon Martin case, saying that by wearing a hooded sweatshirt, the slain teen made himself a target.
Martin, the 14-year-old candy-carrying, hoodie-wearing African-American boy, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watch captain.
He was walking home from a 7-Eleven and was unarmed. Zimmerman, who claimed self defense, has not been charged, though a grand jury will hear the case.
Martin supporters participated in a "Million Hoodie March" to protest Zimmerman's freedom. But the hoodie has taken on new meaning thanks to Geraldo.
"When you see a kid walking down the street, particularly 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!'" Rivera said on Fox & Friends.
"People look at you, and what’s the instant identification, what’s the instant association? It’s those crime-scene surveillance tapes."
"Every time you see someone stickin’ up a 7-Eleven, the kid’s wearing a hoodie," Rivera continued. "Every time you see a mugging on a surveillance camera or they get that 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 just what happens. It is an instant reflexive action."
The negative reaction to this was fast and furious.Many viewers claimed this was a call for a dress code for minorities, or equivalent to saying women who wear revealing clothes are asking to be raped.
Questlove sent a long series of Tweets at Rivera, including:
"sorry @GeraldoRivera, what i gotta stroll around rocking a tux 24 7 so i can put others who are ignorant at ease? what about the OTHER side of that coin?"
With more brevity but just as much furor, Parks & Recreation star Aziz Ansari said, "It's really appropriate to tweet this any day, but seriously, F--k you Geraldo."
Rivera followed up on Twitter, defending his position:
"My own son just wrote to say he's ashamed of my position re hoodies - still I feel parents must do whatever they can to keep their kids safe," he wrote.
"Its not blaming the victim Its common sense-look like a gangsta&some armed schmuck will take you at your word... Its sad that I have to be the one reminding minority parents of the risk that comes with being a kid of color in America."
Do you agree with Geraldo's comments on Trayvon Martin?