Not too long ago, NPR aired a Perspective about wearing a hoodie and what that meant to the author. I have tried to locate it on the Perspectives website, but have not been successful in my quest to share that perspective with you.
The audio commentary got me thinking–especially since, at the time this perspective aired, there were a slew of armed robberies occurring in my home town being executed by 2 males wearing a hoodie and the Trayvon Martin case was all over the air waves–why is the hoodie a symbol of crime and suspicion?
My two and a half year old son loves to wear his hoodie on his green jacket. He gets upset if the wind pushes it back. Just the other day this occurred while we were walking to daycare in san Francisco. I bent down to his level (he was sitting in a stroller) and adjusted his hoodie. He was so happy. As I straightened, I thought to myself, that, someday my son could be glared at by passersby simply because he is a male wearing a hoodie. And this thought made me feel angry.
Undoubtedly, one day in the future, my son will be walking down the street, wearing his hoodie, probably slouched over and shuffling along, as many self-conscious tall teenage boys are apt to do. And, some woman or man will automatically assume he’s some punk juvenile criminal teenager up to no good. Whatever happened to wearing a hoodie because it is cold? Or, because you just ran three miles and you need to keep your body temperature regulated?
I think what gets me up on my soapbox is that hoodies are rapidly becoming the signature clothing trademark for juvenile men. Well, that group more so than other groups. It reminds me of 1999 and the whole Columbine shooting. All of a sudden, anyone who wore a trench coat was looked at as a potential gun shooter. I had plenty of friends who were trench coat wearers who were forced by our high school to wear shorter coats and boots without chains or they would be suspended. Back then I wondered to myself how being forced to change your clothing style magically prevented you from going on a gun shooting spree.
I want to go back to the days where a hoodie was just a hoodie; and where little boys could still find joy and comfort in a soft, warm, green jacket with a hoodie and not have to worry that someday, they might be pegged as a criminal suspect because some old white woman saw a tall, dark haired early twenty-something man walking around wearing a hoodie. Is that too much to ask?
Signing off for now,
Bay area Blind Mom