Thursday, March 29, 2012

A hoodie for Bobby? Or a different type of ‘hood’ for his political opponents?

I have to confess; I have never understood the difference between a “hoodie” and a hooded sweatshirt. As far as I can tell, they’re essentially the same thing – except that the “hoodie” will have some sort of brand name that retailers will use to justify charging significantly more money than just a regular sweatshirt.
RUSH: A revolutionary, again?

In fact, I view the idea of a “hoodie” the same way that a certain generation views the idea of drinking bottled water – why buy it from the store when you can get it “for free” (although not really) from the tap?

SO THE IDEA that the “hoodie” is now becoming some sort of symbol for justice and freedom from persecution is incredibly laughable to me, and the idea that it can be offensive to some is so pathetic.

Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., (who I must admit is my member of Congress) shows us that even though he has suffered a stroke and is 65, he still has a touch of that “revolutionary” spirit that once inspired him to wear a black beret and claim to be head of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party.

For a really funny story, you should hear Rush himself explain to you just how he happened to come by that title.

But for a pathetic story, you should consider what happened to Rush when – on Wednesday – he chose to wear a “hoodie” on the floor of the House of Representatives while getting into the mood of making a speech in memoriam to Trayvon Martin – who was killed by a neighborhood-watch type in Sanford, Fla., last month while wearing a similar hood.

SOME MIGHT SAY that Rush’s actions were a lame gesture of protest. On a certain level, I’d agree. There’s nothing revolutionary about a “hoodie.” Particularly when pro basketball sensation (and local guy done good) Dwyane Wade can wear one on a basketball court last week and be regarded as "heroic."

Yet the political opposition certainly took it as revolutionary. It was Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., who brought up the point of order that a hood was not a part of the official dress code of the House of Representatives. Although if you ever saw the way some political people dress,  you’d realize that a “hoodie” is far from a fashion offense.
HARPER; Matching the stereotype?

When Rush tried proceeding with his speech despite the Harper nonsense rhetoric, he ultimately got removed by force -- as in being escorted off as though he were some intruder, instead of a two-decade member.

What is it about a “hoodie,” which in a certain fashion sense looks stupid, that can get people so worked up? I ask that particularly since it seems that “hoodies” are truly a multi-racial garb of clothing. It’s not just a black “thing” any more. Anybody who seriously thinks of it in that way is being foolish. And I use that word deliberately.

FOR IF ANYONE is going to come across looking foolish because of this incident, it is Harper. It is such a gross over-reaction.

If anything, he has confirmed for all of us to see the concept that a certain segment of our society makes irrational assumptions when they see the “hoodie.”
This incident on Wednesday became something that will gain national notoriety because of Harper. Had he just kept his mouth shut and Rush had been allowed to continue his rhetorical ramblings, chances are this moment would have received no more than a few seconds of mention on a few broadcast news programs – before the public attention moved on. It might have even warranted a “Daily Show” laugh at Rush’s expense.

It certainly would not have become a moment that likely will gain significance in the Bobby Rush life story as a time when he stood up for the people and against irrationality and prejudice, and a reason for Jon Stewart to take off on Harper.

IF SOME PEOPLE have ideological hang-ups that will cause them to believe that Rush is forevermore a radical and subversive (and as one who lives in the Illinois First Congressional District, I am aware of the extent to which that attitude exists among a few of its residents), then I’d argue Harper played down to the stereotype of a Mississippi politician.

He certainly didn’t “do right” by the people who elected him to Capitol Hill.

He acted like a buffoon, and now we’re going to have to wonder what is wrong with the people of the Mississippi Third Congressional District that they would give this guy two terms in Congress – and likely a third after the Nov. 6 elections.

He turned what should have been a trivial, even laughable moment on Rush’s part into a controversy.

HE GOT ALL worked up over a hood, which I’ll be honest I don’t like to wear just because I don’t like the feel of it over my head (I don’t care much for hats, either, to tell the truth).

And for those who want to claim that the gesture Rush was trying to make by wearing a “hoodie” is somehow offensive to those with a law-and-order mentality, at least I’d say he was wearing his hood in public.

Unlike certain other people who have served in the House of Representatives during its history who chose to wear their “hoods” (you know what I mean) after hours in the presence of a lit cross when they thought nobody was watching.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Normally, I would agree with you. I'm a 65 year old white dude, or if you prefer, as my students used to call my, and at least one black panther I might add A Honkey MF'er. I have long thought that Congressman Rush should not be where he is. If he was truly involved in the bp's as he says, there must be felonies in his past, Discovered or not. But all of that aside, he could have accomplished the same message by holding up a hooded sweatshirt. He as you say has been in Congress for years and should know the dress code. He was showboating. Anyone who lives in an urban area knows that some kids who dress like thugs are wannabees. Some are thugs. (They're word not mine). If this young man was murdered because of his race or dress, that's what courts are for. Not the "New Black Panther" party setting rewards. I wonder did Bobby license that?