Re: Why I Will Wear A Hooded Sweatshirt Tomorrow

5 comments

I began organizing “Hoodie Day” just over 24 hours ago. I was frustrated by the apathy and the lack of action or discourse on this campus regarding not just the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, but a series of racially charged incidents in the media in the last few weeks.

I wanted a simple way to express a potent idea: One’s appearance should not determine their safety. A girl wearing revealing clothing does not ‘deserve’ to be sexually assaulted. A students religion should not warrant investigation by the NYPD. Choosing to wear visible symbols of piety, such as the hijab, or veil, should not be an invitation for violent murder, under the pretense that that woman is a terrorist. And, regardless of the specifics of the altercation, a young man should not be pursued and lose his life because assumptions [may have been] made about his character or intentions because of the color of this skin.

Whether or not you choose to wear a hoodie tomorrow to express solidarity with this idea, here are some other ways you may choose to be involved in the discussion:

There will be petitions regarding the lack of Ohio legislative support for anti racial profiling resolutions currently in Congress, available for signing during breakfast and lunch hours in Peirce tomorrow.

There are an estimated 200,000 Arab Americans in the state of Ohio, yet not a single Ohio legislator has co-signed H.Res. 283, a resolution “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Federal Government should takes steps to counter the growth in anti-Muslim sentiments, targeted rhetorical attacks, and violence against the Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian American communities.” There will be opportunities to contact your representative regarding this resolution as well.

Interested community members can also participate at 4 p.m. outside Rosse Hall in a time of community reflection, details forthcoming via allstu/allemp. There are also other events being planned as a follow-up to tomorrow’s demonstration. If you are interested in pursuing questions of diversity at Kenyon, I urge to you attend the next Project Open Voices meeting, this Saturday at 3 p.m. in Peirce 210.

Matt I appreciate your criticism, but I think it makes clear your lack of experience in cultural/religious advocacy groups, community organizing, and social justice activism. Encouraging my peers to wear a hoodie is not the end goal- rather it is an expression of solidarity with those around the country who are equally disturbed by this case, and other instances of profiling, discrimination, bias, etc. If 3 people or 300 are wearing hooded sweatshirts tomorrow, that’s cool–it sends the message that there are students here who are engaged in social issues and care about justice. I understand that tomorrow won’t implement macro-level changes, but as someone who has experienced/witnessed the legislative process, lobbying process, and community organizing process firsthand I know that grassroots endeavors, which can begin with simple acts like donning a symbolic piece of clothing, are THE crucial first step (barring access to millions of dollars) in asserting the need for systemic change. You never know what will fly in if you open a window.

As with any and all demonstrations of this nature, the idea is not that putting on the hoodie is the end goal, but rather the catalyst for heightened engagement for those it reaches. If even one student goes and ‘Googles’ “Trayvon Martin” or “hate crimes against Muslims” (etc.) as a result of my advocacy over the last few days, then I value that, and I am proud to have worked to spark discourse and raise awareness about a topic that was previously unknown to that peer. With all due respect, as someone who has organized over 40 cultural and political events on this campus the last 3 years, though I acknowledge the validity of those who criticize this event, the battle against ‘slacktivism,’ etc. until you take concrete steps to work for systemic change (here, in Ohio, nationally, globally) for a cause you value, please don’t disrespect the efforts of your peers.

5 comments on “Re: Why I Will Wear A Hooded Sweatshirt Tomorrow”

  1. Tess, for decades blacks (and their allies and promoters in consumer entertainment) have promoted the image and culture of the thug, overtly singing and celebrating violence against whites in general and law enforcement in particular.

    This is a major challenge and complication for society. It is naive as well as grossly uninformed to frame the problem as you do–as an issue with racially insensitive types seeking to unreflectively stereotype and brutalize people for superficial reasons. You haven’t helped to “spark discourse” or “raise awareness.” Instead you are burying basic truths.

    The truth is that your activity–continuing to play up minority-versus-majority grievance–will not strengthen us. On the contrary, it will deepen general disunity and cyclical violence.

    You are correct to note that there have been a series of racially charged incidents recently, including the conviction of the murderer of two young white British men on vacation who strayed into the wrong neighborhood in Florida; an incident in which a 13-year-old boy in Kansas City was set on fire by three blacks who targeted him because of his race; and myriad other examples of an endemic pattern of black-on-white violence. In fact, if you give the issue a cold statistical look, that’s seems to be a major and perhaps overriding issue that we face.

    But you wouldn’t gather that from listening to your “Hoodie Day” promotion, and for some reason such striking examples of vicious anti-white brutality for you do not translate into any sort of cause.

    You owe us better. If we’re going to take you seriously you might, for example, insist that anti-lynching and anti-hate-crime laws be applied equally, an issue that has arisen of the past few years due to black-on-white lynching and overt hate crime.

    As it stands your pretense to openness and fairness rings very, very hollow.

  2. “In fact, if you give the issue a cold statistical look, that’s seems to be a major and perhaps overriding issue that we face.”

    Can we see those statistics? You know, the ones revealing a system in which American minorities have suddenly gained an inherent social or legal advantage over the American majority?

    Because, as it stands, your pretense to intellectual integrity rings very, very hollow.

    1. “Can we see those statistics? You know, the ones revealing a system in which American minorities have suddenly gained an inherent social or legal advantage over the American majority?”

      Sure!

      Here’s the National Crime Victimization Survey itself:

      http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=dcdetail&iid=245

      A helpful series of analyses from Unamusementpark.com:

      http://unamusementpark.com/2012/01/quantifying-black-crime-relative-offending-rates/

      http://unamusementpark.com/2012/01/quantifying-black-crime-comparing-arrests-to-offenses/

      As far as social and legal advantages, see, for example, established anti-white discrimination in education and hiring:

      http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/26/metro-derailed-by-culture-of-complacence-incompete/print/

      http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/testing.htm

      1. From Unamusement Park:

        “These multiples are actually too low because the NCVS counts most Hispanics as white, which increases the ‘white’ crime rate.”

        “For every crime, whether you ask the victims, read police reports, or check arrest records, you find almost the same percentage of black offenders. This shows that the police are doing their jobs: arresting criminals, not picking on minorities. Blacks are arrested more often than whites because they commit crime more often.”

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