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One Step Up and Two Steps Back

By Kerri Guillette
On December 5, 2012

Last month I wrote about the fears I have for society; I told you I think violence is senseless and stupid. I hate to sound like a broken record, but this editorial is full of those same sentiments. I am truly sad that I have to write about another incident that just further drives home my point. Every time we take a step forward as a society we end up taking two steps back. Something needs to change and WE need to take the first step towards that change.
I am sure that by now you know who Trayvon Martin is, that you know about the circumstances surrounding his death, and you are probably as furious as I am. This 17-year-old boy deserves justice and a full, unbiased investigation into his death. His family deserves peace and privacy to grieve this unbelievably heartbreaking loss. Instead, they get to hear some members of the media bashing their son and basically saying it was his fault he was shot because he was wearing a hoodie.
That's right, a hoodie. Well, the correct term to use would be hooded sweatshirt; but I always say hoodie because I wear them all the time. See, I am a big believer in being comfortable so hoodies are a huge staple in my wardrobe. All my friends wear hoodies too. Oh, and sometimes my friend's cat wears a hoodie. I'd probably put my cat in a hoodie except she despises being in clothing.
I know I've gone off topic a little bit so here's the point; seeing a person wearing a hoodie is not unusual. I would be far more concerned if I saw a person just walking down the street in a prom dress. Now that's worrisome. Apparently, Geraldo Rivera feels a little differently. On March 22, while on Twitter I noticed a couple shocking retweets on my page with Mr. Rivera's name attached to them. The statements were so unbelievable that I was convinced they were from an imposter or that Geraldo Rivera had been hacked. Nope. It was him. Here's the link to his account:!/GeraldoRivera.
His account is verified by Twitter, and he has since then repeated everything he said on Twitter in interviews on The O'Reilly Factor and Fox and Friends. Geraldo Rivera decided he was going to give some advice to parents; he wanted to urge them to tell their children not to wear hoodies. His statement might seem a little odd and not really newsworthy; but that's just because those weren't his exact words. " Geraldo Rivera@GeraldoRivera Trayvon killed by a jerk w a gun but black & Latino parents have to drill into kids heads: a hoodie is like a sign: shoot or stop & frisk me."
That's right; parents of white kids don't worry. Your kids will be fine. However, if your kid is black or Latino Mr. Rivera advises you to make sure they do not wear hoodies. Yup, he really said that. Doesn't that make your stomach turn? In this day and age saying something like that is disgusting and ridiculous.
The year is 2012, not 1812. Just when you think we take a step up and evolve as a society Geraldo Rivera opens his mouth and we take two steps back. One would think Mr. Rivera would backtrack and perhaps retract his statement. Sadly, that was not the case, and he just kept popping up on news programs spewing racial insults. I am infuriated that there are people linking the tragic, untimely death of a 17-year-old boy to the fact he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt. My heart truly goes out to the Martin family, who are struggling to make sense of a senseless tragedy, while also fighting to make sure that Trayvon's death does not go unpunished.
On top of that, they have to put up with racially biased assumptions and ludicrous accusations. No one knows why Trayvon was walking down the street that fateful night with the hood of his sweatshirt covering his head. Maybe it was raining. February 26th fell on the weekend of the Daytona 500 Nascar race. The race was postponed that weekend because of the rainy weather. Sanford, FL (where Trayvon lived) is about 45 miles from Daytona.
Could it be possible that it was raining and Trayvon decided to put his hood on while he was walking? Maybe. But, let's be honest. Does there have to be a reason as to why Trayvon was wearing a hoodie? NO! Is there any reasoning behind my choice to wear a hoodie while I write this? NO! We have to change this type of thinking and this unnecessary racial profiling. Geraldo Rivera should be ashamed of himself. Instead of continuing his distasteful media tour he should zip it, apologize to the Martin family and the rest of the world for his comments, then go back to just covering hurricanes for Fox news.
Racist and prejudicial comments prevent society from taking any steps forward. Instead of moving towards a better future we are thrust backwards to our ugly past. I'd like to end with some lyrics from a Bruce Springsteen song that inspired the title of my editorial.
"We've given each
other some hard lessons / But lately we ain't
learning / We're the same old story / That's
a fact / One step up and two steps back."

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