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Friday, March 23, 2012

Geraldo Rivera, You're This Close to Telling Black Kids to Wear White Face Make Up

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 9:27 AM


Dear Geraldo,

Usually, when people get mad at you, they bring up that time a white supremacist broke your nose with a chair, or that time your live-TV peek into Al Capone's crawl space revealed only dust bunnies and shame, or that time you were playing tough-guy war correspondent and accidentally gave away U.S. troop positions on live TV.

When I think back on your crimes against journalism, I recall your hilarious mid-'80s satanism-in-America specials, where you tried to prove that heavy metal, satanists, and 20-sided dice were turning America into a relentless hellscape.

You have a history of hysterical overreaction, and of blaming completely innocent things for society's ills. So it's not much of a surprise that today you went on television and said "The hoodie is as responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman is." Then you railed against hoodies and "gangsta" fashion, and compared a 17-year-old wearing a comfy sweatshirt to the gunslinger hero of the old Johnny Cash ballad whose mom warns him not to take his gun to town.

Seriously, you equated wearing a hoodie in a Florida suburb to packing heat and itching for an Old West shootout. Have you ever been inside an Old Navy, Geraldo? Or seen white Americans at an airport? Or visited Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, where tourists are always buying $30 hoodies because they didn't realize that California can be cold? Seriously, to you this whole country must look like a gang war ready to break out.

Here's what you said:

Every time you see someone stickin' up a 7-11, the kid's wearing a hoodie. Every time you see a mugging on a surveillance camera or 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 wanna? Well, people are going to perceive you as a menace. That's what happens. It is an instant reflexive action.


I'll bet you money, if he didn't have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn't have responded in that violent and aggressive way.

Dude, you're this close to telling black kids they need to wear white face so that they don't scare racists.

Let me break it down for you:

‎"Don't wear a hoodie" = "Don't wear that short skirt" = "Don't ever in any way look like anything other than your neighbors" = "The fault lies not in people who act violently but in people who accidentally provoke that violence."

If pajama-like fleecewear is enough to scare the paranoid into attacking someone, the problem is with the paranoid, not with the fleecewear.

Also, I know your '80s self would hate to admit this, but maybe American kids would be safer if they just stayed home and played D&D.

PS: Here are the warning signs you offered in 1988 to tip parents off that their kids might be consorting with Satan himself:

click to enlarge geraldo_80_s_satanic_special_youtube1.jpg

click to enlarge geraldo_80_s_satanic_special_youtube.jpg

You actually once warned parents to be afraid of vocabulary.

Follow Alan Scherstuhl on Twitter at @studiesincrap, SF Weekly's Exhibitionist blog at @ExhibitionistSF, and like us on Facebook.

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Alan Scherstuhl


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