What About Those Hoodies?
Over the last couple of weeks I have been waiting for something to be mentioned about hoodies, something that I thought was staring us all in the face. This is that during the recent London riots, nearly everyone depicted by the TV cameras was wearing hoodies as they were caught vandalizing the stores in the neighborhood under siege.
At the time, it immediately occurred to me that the reason for all those hoodies on the heads of the rioters was that they didn't want their faces to be captured on film. This would make it very difficult for investigators to do any facial recognition of those filmed committing vandalism.
Actually, I didn't encounter such an explanation at the time, nor since then, after the role the hoodie had in the Florida fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, the African-American teen, a shooting that has unleashed much controversy about hoodies, starting with Fox star reporter Geraldo Rivera's on-air advice that people stop wearing them since doing so suggests to some people that they are embarking on some kind of criminal conduct. Rivera got a lot of flack for making this suggestion and that is when it occurred to me that someone prominent might recall the role of hoodies at the London riots, which were covered on American television for nearly a week. After what we witnessed in London, it would not be ridiculous for people to be wary of young people who wear hoodies in certain situations.
To this day I haven't heard anyone connect the two events, although some have mentioned that hoodies are perhaps used to send a message, namely that of defiance of public authority. And numerous celebrities followed the Rivera comments with donning hoodies, though I am not sure for what reason.
I am not suggesting that there is any simple causal relationship between criminal conduct and the wearing of hoodies. But there could be a customary relationship here, one on the basis of which ordinary people, even professionals, may make inferences about probabilities or likelihoods. If someone shows up in my classroom wearing the kind of sunglasses that disguise his or her eyes, making it impossible to tell which way the individual is looking, it is not unreasonable to suspect that he or she is hoping to remain at least partially incognito. Similarly, when hoodies are worn in neighborhoods that are infested with crime, it is not unreasonable to suspect that those doing this wish to remain at least partially unobserved beneath a cover.
Again, none of this proves, even strongly suggests, that young Mr. Martin intended to hide anything, let alone that he meant to carry out some kind of illegal conduct without being easily identified. But that this might be what he was trying to do is certainly reasonable to consider, especially in light of the experience of the London rioters who were quite evidently committing vandalism while making sure they couldn't easily be identified doing so.
My point here is only that it would be journalistically appropriate to make note of these matters as the Florida shooting is being seriously discussed across the country. Maybe the reason no mention is being made of the resemblance isn't a mere oversight. Perhaps it is because mentioning the similarity between Mr. Martin's attire and that of the London rioters is something public figures do not want to risk doing lest they be accused of racial prejudice. But, of course, it need not be anything like that at all.
Posted by Edgar Friendly on 04/15/12 03:08 PM
The lesson here is that in America; if you're going to emulate "gangsta" fashion; expect the attention this will garber you. Also, if you're going to dress like this and physically assault adults in America, know that you do so at the risk of your own death. :)
Posted by herrfaust on 04/14/12 07:54 AM
Personally I wear hoodies because of the thermal flexibility. It's like having a warm hat without having to carry it separately.
A lot of these 'ganstas' spend a lot of time on the street and have to stay comfortable in all weather conditions. Practicality therefore becomes fashion.
Posted by gmallast on 04/13/12 03:42 AM
The esteemed Dr. Machan seems to have missed the boat on this. What is going on here is what you could call, I guess, "gangsta chic." For no discernible reason ignorant young inner city hoodlums have adopted hoodies to replace the decades long use of leather jackets as a sort of status symbol. Other young people have picked up on this as ignornat young hoodlums have, for unknown reasons, become the arbiters of fashion in our society. Wearing a hoodie is like getting your lip or tongue pierced. Trouble is, such fashions present an image to older people that it is unwise to present.
Dr. Machan should take a look at Dr. Thomas Sowell's article on hoodies as Dr. Sowell seems to be more in touch with what is going on.
Dr. Sowell advises young people, ESPECIALLY minority young people, to eschew this fad. He is undoubtedly right. But the psychology of adolescents being what it is, regardless of race, his advice will have no effect and the fad will run its course like so many others. So, as has happened as long as I can remember and even longer, young people will continue with the fad until they find a new fad. Back when I was in high school and college it was worn jeans and Army jackets.
Back then I realized older people really want to help young people, but they are disinclined to be helpful to you if you project an unnecessarily rebelious image. So I made a point of dressing conservatively--at the expense of more than a little ridicule.
Posted by Danny B on 04/13/12 12:52 AM
LAPD claims that we have 463 main gangs here in Los Angeles. L.A. county has about 1100 gangs.
Click to view link
The majority of the gangbangers do not have a job. They live off Drug money or crime or family or whatever. They go to great lengths to prove how dangerous they are.
59% of our homicides are caused by gangbangers.
Click to view link
There is a big incentive for individuals to join a gang just for protection.
They wear gang colors and do gang salutes. The loose clothing is perfect for hiding loot while shoplifting. The "colors" are your ID while in your own area. Not too safe to be wearing them outside of your area. The hood is a quick way to hide colors when you leave your turf. It also helps to keep you anon to competing gangs.
Different races have different gang profiles.
Click to view link
Our Vietnamese gangs tend to specialize in arson. The blacks in prostitution. The latino gangs seem to have taken over much of the drug distribution. They are well linked up with the Mexican mafia who bring in the big volume drugs. The Mexican mafia has even taken over California pot production. The Armenian gangs seem to specialize in protection and insurance fraud.
We're a very diverse city. We're really on the map.
Click to view link
Posted by IndianaJohn on 04/12/12 11:18 PM
I see the same theme in facemasked police, muslim militants and hooded criminals.
The weak will follow and wear their attire even though few or none are dangerous.
Posted by peacenik on 04/12/12 11:02 PM
You are correct . My small local bank has a sign posted : No hats , no hoods , no sunglasses . Obviously , this is to discourage criminals . They also have a coffee drinking cop posted in the lobby .The Trayvon Martin shooting was exploited by the media to energize " Obama's Base " for the election . It also makes for more viewership . Otherwise , why did NBC deliberately edit the 911 tape to incriminate Zimmerman ? Guilty or not , the poor slob has already been tried in the media .I don't think he can get a fair trial in the U.S. ( Maybe he needs to go to Russia for trial , he'd have a better shot at justice .
Posted by seer on 04/12/12 09:02 PM
"Mr. Martin's attire and that of the London rioters is something public figures do not want to risk doing lest they be accused of racial prejudice. But, of course, it need not be anything like that at all."
Also you fail to mention many common robberies (Banks, convenient stores) involve hoodies and sunglasses to avoid camera detection. Yet the actions of a very small percentage of hoodie wearing criminals makes it difficult to judge. The majority who choose to wear this attire probably rightly feel attacked. Yet who can blame those who read the news and perceive a possible threat from someone wearing a hoodie.
Posted by Ted Newsom on 04/12/12 12:47 PM
The current gangsta-style haute couture-- hoodie, gold teeth, tats and pants hanging halfway down your buttcrack-- is, I think coincidental to both the London riots and the Trayvon Martin shooting. Yes, hoodies can be used as a semi-disguise, but they're also snuggly and keep rain off your head. I've got one. Makes a good pajama top.
What boggles me is that it became some wacky element of racial profiling in the Zimmerman/Martin case. What was the sonofab--ch supposed to say when he was describing the guy? That is what you do when you're describing someone to the police.
If the young man had been wearing a golf shirt and a straw hat, would there be similar outrage from duffers and barbershop quartets? If he'd worn a red jacket and blue jeans, would the legion of James Dean fans demand a lynching?
Posted by BladeMcCool on 04/12/12 11:18 AM
The difference is today the DHS has 450 million rounds of hollow point head exploding full metal jacket packaged ammunition, with a double-tap allotment for every man woman and child, err terrist, in the NAU.
Posted by davidbruce on 04/12/12 07:50 AM
It was cold yesterday so I wore my black hoddie. While waiting for the bus I noticed several people giving me the eye. One young man remarked that he thought I was a gang banger and expected to be shot. This was in a 90% white small city. My sunglasses caused one person to say I looked like the Unibomber. CCTV cameras are able to record me the minute I leave my apartment near the middle school, past an FBI building, downtown around the courthouse square, and on the bus. This post will confirm I am now home and the contents will go into my "person of intrest" file. Peace & Love
Posted by blogless on 04/12/12 07:44 AM
I thought almost the same in the two cases, both when the London riots took place and lately with the Trayvon Martin issue. I can see that 'hoodie-trend' all around among the Spanish teens as well... and others not so teens.
It also reminded me of a very known situation that happened in 18th century's Madrid, called "El motín de Esquilache" (Esquilache's Riots).
[Quote from: Click to view link]:
"Esquilache's plan was to substitute the long capes and broad-brimmed hats (chambergos) worn by madrileños with French-style short capes and three-cornered hats, in an attempt to "Europeanize" and modernize Spain. The long capes were thought to facilitate the concealment of weapons, while the large hats were thought to conceal a person's face, a safeguard for criminals.
Intended as public security measures, they did not immediately catch the attention of the populace, as more pressing issues fanned the flames of popular discontent, namely the rising prices in bread, oil, coal, and cured meat, caused in part by Esquilache's liberalization of the grain trade. Moreover, these measures at first were only applied to the royal household and staff (January 21, 1766).
Under pain of arrest, these royal functionaries adopted the measures en masse. Having applied these initial measures, Esquilache proceeded to apply them towards the general population. The writer and government official Pedro Rodríguez de Campomanes and the body known as the Council of Castile warned him that the confiscation of hats and cloaks would cause ominous rumbling amongst the populace.
Esquilache nevertheless went ahead with these measures, and on March 10, placards appeared in Madrid prohibiting the wearing of these garments. Popular reaction was immediate: the placards were torn off the walls. Soldiers were mobilized and local authorities were attacked by the populace."
Not the same age, context and culture, quite obviously, but I couldn't resist making the connection!
Thank you for the article!
Posted by Merridth80 on 04/12/12 07:03 AM
You, without realizing it, make a valid point!
If you watch the local news, anywhere in the USA, people robbing establishments, 9 of 10 times are wearing hoodies, with the prefered colors being, Black or Dark Blue!
There are few coincidences in life, mostly it appears so.
Posted by Abu Aardvark on 04/12/12 05:35 AM
TM: 'Fox star reporter Geraldo Rivera's on-air advice that people stop wearing them since doing so suggests to some people that they are embarking on some kind of criminal conduct. Rivera got a lot of flack for making this suggestion (... ) Perhaps it is because mentioning the similarity between Mr. Martin's attire and that of the London rioters is something public figures do not want to risk doing lest they be accused of racial prejudice. But, of course, it need not be anything like that at all..'
Indeed, it doesn't need to be racial prejudice to judge a person at the sight of a piece of clothing. At times it simply might be a case of hypocrisy or obliviousness ...
Click to view link
Posted by elray on 04/12/12 04:27 AM
Rule #1 If a situation does not exist to achieve your plan Then Create it.
The hoodie is another piece in the ongoing elite plan for total control.
I take it for granted that the Media, Music and fashion industries are elite controlled and used to direct the masses, in particular the young.
Riots with looting Hoodies has become normal in the UK allowing the police state ever greater control.
Flip side: Cover your country in CCTV and I'll just put on my Hoodie.