Trayvon Martin Updates

By Ta-Nehisi Coates



First, Sanford police chief Bill Lee is done -- for now.

Second, here is an absolutely disgusting clip from Geraldo Rivera, who essentially blames Trayvon Martin's death on the fact that he was wearing a hoodie. In the rain:

It's those crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone sticking up a 7-11, the kid is wearing a hoodie. Every time you see a mugging on a surveillance camera or they get the old lady in the alcove, it's a kid wearing a hoodie. You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta, you're gonna be a gangsta wannabe? Well, people are going to perceive you as a menace. 

That's what happens. It is an instant reflexive action. Remember Juan Williams, our colleague? Our brilliant colleague? He got in trouble with NPR because he said Muslims in formal garb at the airport conjure a certain reaction in him or response in him? That's an automatic reflex. Juan wasn't defending it. He was explaining that that's what happens when he sees these particular people in that particular place. 

When you see a black or Latino youngster, particularly on the street, you walk to the other side of the street. You try to avoid that confrontation. Trayvon Martin's you know, god bless him, he's an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hand. He didn't deserve to die. But I'll bet you money, if he didn't have that hoodie on, that -- that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn't have responded in that violent and aggressive way.

As someone said on Twitter, this is, essentially, the "what you were wearing" rapist's defense.  That really is about the best you can say. Again, the personal callousness is striking.

Finally, I was on PBS Newshour last night. Video here.

MORE: Obama offers a brief comment.

Video up top. Stunning. Pitch perfect. No idea how it'll play. Don't care right now. Maybe I'll care later. But for now, I just felt it was a stunning exercise in political minimalism. That's a compliment.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/03/trayvon-martin-updates/254966/