Geraldo Rivera: Wearing a Hoodie? Get Ready to be Murdered
By Dennis Loo (3/25/12)
As reported by SF Gate on Friday, March 23, 2012:
"Fox News Channel commentator Geraldo Rivera said Friday that the hoodie an unarmed black teenager wore when he was killed in Florida is as much responsible for his death as the man who shot him.
"'I'll bet you money that if he didn't have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn't have responded in that violent and aggressive way,' Rivera said."
Rivera wrote in a commentary on Fox News Latino:
"If you dress like a hoodlum eventually some schmuck is going to take you at your word."
There you have it: what you wear can now get you killed. Better watch what you wear and better watch what you think, because people are now being arrested for "thought crimes."
Here's a bet for you Mr. Rivera: I'll bet that you wouldn't be getting paid the big bucks to be a shill on Fox News if you weren't such a reactionary.
Rivera compared the reaction against his comments to the firing of Juan Williams from NPR for his 2010 comments that he gets nervous on planes when he sees people dressed like Muslims.
The better comparison is that Rivera and Williams are both bigots.
As I wrote in my book Globalization and the Demolition of Society:
The very fact that poor people, migrants, Muslims, drug dealers, and political protestors are all included in this list of potential “terrorists”—justifying surveillance over them all and the rousing of nativist sentiments against them—reveals a momentous and explicit shift in how public officials and opinion-makers govern. In an economy in which some must be poor because capitalism and poverty are cooccurring and mutually reinforcing phenomena—capitalism requires that some be unemployed and therefore willing to work for less in order to survive—and where migrant labor fuels economic activity like arteries keep a person alive, the criminalization of these indispensible groups reflects a deeply troubling facet of our contemporary world. The marginalized groups are told, in effect, “We need you to exist as you do, for you make us rich and comfortable, but the very fact of your existence renders you a suspect, a criminal and a possible terrorist.” The poor and immigrants are therefore equally as indispensible as they are intolerable. (p. 148)
Minorities such as Trayvon Martin are also, of course, part of the groups being targeted by authorities and by reactionaries as scapegoats for the economic crisis.
But it goes beyond the economic crisis per se and extends into the realm of what I've written about previously: the relationship between immoral, illegal, and unjust foreign policies by the U.S. and the need of the 1% to shore up a reactionary, nativist, fearful, domestic front and to clamp down and prevent the full expression of dissent against the government's and corporations' immoral policies. Previously de jure principles of the Constitution - your right to freely express your views, to freely assemble, and to question your government - are being systematically annihilated in the name of the "war on terror," a war that is not mainly about fighting terrorism but about extending the U.S. empire. Because empire and freedom to speak out against injustice are fundamentally incompatible, civil liberties are being curtailed relentlessly. Because the actions our government and corporations are engaged in internationally and domestically are not in the interests of the vast majority of people and they cannot therefore win people over through reason and persuasion, the only way that they can continue to move forward with those policies is to ram them down the people's throats.
I use the term targetted here not just metaphorically but literally. USA Today reported today that a 32-year-old Iraqi woman living in El Cajon, California in the San Diego area was found in her home on Wednesday after being repeatedly struck in the head by a tire iron. She died today from those injuries. Next to her body was a note saying: "go back to your country, you terrorist." The woman is Shaima Alawadi, mother of five children, and her husband is a private contractor to the U.S. military, acting as a cultural advisor, training U.S. soldiers who are being deployed to the Middle East. Irony of ironies: Alawadi's husband is teaching American soldiers to be more sensitive about Middle Eastern values, norms, and perspectives, and his wife is murdered by someone who regards every Middle Easterner as a terrorist and an enemy of the U.S. of A. (Alawadi and her family had lived in the U.S. since the mid-1990s and only a few weeks ago had transferred to San Diego from Michigan.)
The USA Today article states, "Investigators said they believe the assault is an isolated incident."
How can it be an isolated incident when just the other day an American soldier massacred children, women, and men as they slept in Afghanistan?
How can it be an isolated incident when the President of the U.S. daily sends drones to kill people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, including their explicit targetting of innocents?
How can it be an isolated incident when the President of the U.S. declares publicly his "right" to assassinate people that he deems to be worthy of killing, explicitly overriding due process?
How can it be an isolated incident when 24/7 reactionary media figures such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck de facto advocate assassination and murder through their none-too-subtle declarations that the Republic is in grave danger from treasonous elements, including even Democrats such as Obama, let alone minorities and Muslims?
How can it be an isolated incident when laws like "Stand Your Ground" are passed in Florida and Arizona declares a war on immigrants from Mexico?
This is no isolated incident.
It's part of a campaign from the highest levels of our society to wage a war on those who are not "one of us" and the definition of who the "us" is becomes narrower and narrower with the passing days, weeks and months.