Just when you think the left can’t possibly get more unhinged about the shooting of black Trayvon Martin, the next step in his beatification is getting underway: the hoodie he died in may be acquired for the Smithsonian Institution. This not only will imbue it with an historical civil rights significance which it has not earned, but will practically accord it the status of a religious relic.
The Washington Post reported last week that Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC, now under construction and expected to open in 2015), wants to add the hoodie to a collection that includes a guard tower from Louisiana’s Angola State Penitentiary and the handcuffs used to restrain President Obama’s buddy, radical academic Henry Louis Gates Jr., in a 2009 incident which Obama himself blew up into a racial flashpoint. You may recall that, like with the Martin shooting, Obama chose to weigh in officially on this incident that should have been far below the concerns of a President of the United States. He needlessly inflamed racial tensions when he stated incorrectly that the police acted “stupidly” in arresting Gates, who also milked the incident for all the racial mileage he could get.
Bunch told the Post that the hoodie “became the symbolic way to talk about the Trayvon Martin case. It’s rare that you get one artifact that really becomes the symbol… Because it’s such a symbol, it would allow you to talk about race in the age of Obama.”
“I get goose bumps just thinking about it,” says Michael Skolnik, the political director for hip-hop mogul and demagogue Russell Simmons (if you’re wondering why a hip hop mogul needs a political director, it’s because in “the age of Obama,” the unprecedented White House access given to such wealthy pop culture blacks like Simmons and Jay-Z also gives them enormously swollen egos). Skolnick is also a board member of the Trayvon Martin Foundation. “It’s like this mythical garment,” he says about the hoodie. Mythical? The myth is that Trayvon was an innocent child victimized in a modern-day lynching at the hands of (according to the left) half-white vigilante gun nut George Zimmerman.
Like Bunch and Skolnick, shameless race-baiter Al Sharpton , who has tirelessly exploited the Zimmerman-Martin case, would like to elevate Martin to “this generation’s Emmett Till” – a disgusting comparison –and the hoodie is central to that goal. “The hoodie now represents an image of an urban street kid that either embraces or engages in street thug life,” said Sharpton. “I think it’s unfair.”
It’s not unfair, it’s understandable. The utopian fantasists of the left refuse to acknowledge this, but judging strangers based on their appearance is a reasonable and natural act of self-preservation. Considering that hoodies are the uniform of choice for gangsta-wannabes, Occupy Wall Street vandals, and others who need a reason to partially conceal their identity, that article of clothing cannot escape its association with thugs. If you don’t want to be viewed with suspicion, don’t dress or act suspiciously. Dress like a prospect, not a suspect, as the saying goes.
A hoodie, of course, is only as suspicious as the person wearing it. My three-year-old daughter wears one herself when it suits the weather, and no one gives it a second thought because no one has anything to fear from a three-year-old girl. However, when a young man, regardless of color, wears a hoodie in such a way that his identity is partially or completely obscured, it is natural and right that people view him with some measure of caution.
The hoodie has already served as an important symbol for the left, who Photoshopped Martin Luther King, Jr. into photos of Martin’s hoodie, making a false equivalence between the two. Protesters wear hoodies in solidarity with Martin, as do scowling celebrities like another rap mogul, Sean Combs, and Hollywood’s most blatant racist Jamie Foxx.
“Are we in a post-racial age?” museum director Bunch pondered. “[The Zimmerman] trial says, ‘No.’” True, America is definitely not in a post-racial age, thanks to Obama, but the trial is not evidence of that. In fact, the trial was a perfect example of a post-racial legal system in action, in that the jurors came to their “not guilty” judgment based on the evidence, and did not succumb to tremendous media and public pressure to convict Zimmerman for racial reasons. Even an FBI investigation into Zimmerman’s possible racial motivation came up empty. The verdict was the correct one but not the one the left wanted to hear, so evidence be damned – they wanted Zimmerman to pay for historical racial grievances for which he is not responsible.
The NMAAHC’s mission statement claims that “this institution will stimulate a dialogue about race and help to foster a spirit of reconciliation and healing.” But Trayvon Martin’s hoodie will not foster that spirit; it will only divide us in the future as it has thus far. If it deserves a spot in the Smithsonian at all, it should not be as an emblem of white America’s ingrained racism toward blacks, but as a symbol of the left’s ingrained grievance-mongering and their refusal to embrace responsibility and reconciliation.
(This article originally appeared here on FrontPage Mag, 8/7/13)