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Geraldo Rivera blames hoodie for Trayvon's death; critics tell him to zip it up

Zip it up. That was a common reaction Friday on the Web and elsewhere to Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera’s comments that the hoodie was as much to blame for Trayvon Martin’s death as the shooter.

“Geraldo Rivera of Fox News has lost his mind. He's saying #Trayvon Martin wearing a hoodie helped cause his own death?” CNN commentator Roland Martin, who is black, tweeted.

“Hey Geraldo, Black kids have gotten shot not wearing hoodies. Dude, that's just dumb.”

Rivera stirred up a firestorm when he said on Friday’s “Fox & Friends” that the black Florida teen might not be dead had he not worn a hoodie the night he was shot by a community watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

“I believe that George Zimmerman, the overzealous neighborhood watch captain, should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law, and if he is criminally liable he should be prosecuted. But I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies,” Rivera said.

“I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.”

He added: "You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta, you’re going to be a gangsta-wannabe, well people are going to perceive you as a menace."

The outspoken “Geraldo at Large” host, who is Latino, expressed similar sentiments in a column Friday titled, “Trayvon Martin Would Be Alive but for His Hoodie.”

twitter.com

Geraldo Rivera's comments on hoodies and Trayvon Martin riled many Twitter users.

Reaction to his comments was fast and furious.

"i didn't even know geraldo still did stuff ppl listened to. damned if i listen to him now. but #BEATEMDOWNhoodies ARE on sale for $25," media personality Bomani Jones tweeted.

"Dear Geraldo Rivera: I'll use small words so you can follow me, okay? Hoodies don't kill people. Paranoid racists with guns kill people," tweeted Wil Wheatonof Los Angeles.

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“That's like saying Martin should not have left the house while being Black. As the Million Hoodie marches emphasize, there is nothing inherently devious about hoodies. It's our culture's racist stereotype for "suspicion" that makes hoodies worn by people of color -- not soccer moms or Anderson Cooper --  an act that could be met with violence,” journalist Kristen Gwynne wrote on AlterNet.

In Miami, students from more than a dozen schools staged a walkout to protest the lack of an arrest in the shooting of a black Florida teen. NBC's Ron Allen reports.

On ThinkProgress.org, Alex Seitz-Wald posted a photo purportedly showing Rivera wearing a hooded jacket while covering a story during a storm.

“Rivera’s comments suggesting that Martin’s attire was responsible for his death are offensive and repugnant. One of the reasons Martin may have been wearing a hood is that it was raining on the day he was shot. As Rivera himself has experienced, a hood can be helpful in a rainstorm,” Seitz-Wald wrote.

American Apparel, the clothing manufacturer whose hoodies are popular with teens, said it was "appalled" by Rivera's comments. Marsha Brady, the company's creative director, said this in a statement provided to msnbc.com:

"To Geraldo Rivera we say this: American Apparel sells millions of hoodies each year in every color you can imagine, to every type of person you can imagine—pink hoodies to toddlers, black and navy hoodies to businessmen and successful entrepreneurs, as well as plenty of college students of all backgrounds and everyone else in between. We even sell hoodies for dogs. To say that this classic garment implies that its owner is a dangerous criminal to be 'feared' is absolutely ridiculous. We're incredibly sorry about the young man who was shot while wearing one, and feel very strongly that oversimplifying the discussion by criticizing the victim's clothing does the country, Trayvon Martin, and all those who support the end of crimes such as this one a massive and dangerous disservice."

Students walk out in Trayvon Martin protest

Msnbc.com examined the issue of black youth and hoodies in a story published Thursday. On msnbc.com’s US News Facebook page, the topic made for spirited, sometimes heated discussion.

Wrote one Facebook user, Scherika Foster:

Perceiving black teens who wear hoodies as dangerous is ignorant. Hoodies and/or baggy pants don't make young black males any more dangerous than heels and a fitting dress makes a woman a whore. This type of stereotyping is nonsense and keeps us divided. I've SEEN news clips where grown white men have committed bank robberies, bombings, rapes, and other such crimes wearing hoodies, but because of their skin tone no one perceived them as dangerous prior to their offense. It's not the clothes, it's the skin color...racism still exists.

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