Sunday, January 26, 2014

No Need to Hide behind a Hoodie

A writer writes!

There was a case not long ago where a young African American teen was killed by an over zealous neighborhood watch person.  The teen was profiled as being dangerous by the neighborhood watch person partly because of the wardrobe the teen was wearing.  A hoodie, which covers the head and the side of the wearer's face, was the clothing item tied to the wearer being a thief or worse.

During the protests against the teens death, several adults protested by wearing hoodies themselves.  I believe an entire professional basketball team also wore a hoodie in a photograph in protest to the senseless killing of the teen.

My take is this.  Why do youth think  that a wardrobe item that hides their face and obscures them from the world is a positive thing to wear?  Instead of promoting wearing of the hoodie as a harmless thing to do, I would promote that young teens not feel they have to wear something that hides them from the world.  There is nothing wrong with a teen age African American male walking proudly down a street showing his face.  There is nothing wrong with a teen age African American male wearing a pair of pants that clings to their waist instead of sliding halfway down their legs.

Instead of promoting an image that is negative and fuels the fears of others, be proud of who you are.  There is no need for African American males to be bill boards promoting the brand of  a company that wouldn't hire you if you were the only person who applied for a job.  Instead of trying to look "tough" just be yourself and gather the respect you deserve for just being you.  Don't cover your head with a hoodie, hat, scarf or whatever.  Simply wear your natural hair combed neatly as you walk down the street. Walk naturally.  Don't walk as if you are playing a stereotypical African American male role in a Hollywood movie.  Walk proudly, secure in who you are.  Be polite and respectful to those you encounter, especially adults.  Don't get swept into being the stereotype people say you are.

African American males, let's stop hiding from the world and be the talented and valued men we always have been.

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