Quick, Look Over Here (Brought To You By Fox News)!

So Geraldo Rivera said something stupid today.
On Fox & Friends (which leads the league in the ‘place where stupid things get said category’, Geraldo said the hooded sweatshirt Trayvon Martin was wearing was as responsible for his shooting as the guy who shot him:

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

But before the Twitterverse and blogosphere and Facebook Nation gets bent out of shape (not unlike Geraldo’s nose when he got hit by the chair that time; and yes, there will be more Geraldo jokes coming), people who care about Trayvon should see what is really going on.

At this moment, emotions are running high against the lack of arrest of George Zimmerman. Equally as important, those emotions are being channeled in a way that is making things happen. The stepping down of the Sanford police chief. The Florida governor adding a new prosecutor. While I have my doubts that a suitable level of justice will ever be served (due to the amount of time that has passed since the shooting), pressure is being put on Sanford in particular and Florida in general (I’m sure the state would rather be known for South Beach and Disneyworld than where kids get killed for Skittles).

And Geraldo just made himself a pressure valve.

Instead of people horrified by this senseless killing aiming their ire to where it belongs, they can aim it at the Capone Vault Guy for his ‘the black boy in the hoodie was asking for it’ comments. And the people responsible get a little break.

I’m not sure why Fox News is doing this. They knew this was Geraldo’s view; he was saying it on his Twitter feed before today (the stupid comment version of running a play off-Broadway). It is to generate publicity in hopes of increased ratings? It is to provide comfort and support to the Republican governor of Florida? It Fox News just that institutionally racist towards black people they can’t help it?

I don’t know the answer. But I do know what the result would be; a diffusion of the righteous anger the country has over Trayvon’s killing. A diffusion of the larger message; that the lives of people of color are as valuable as anyone else and should receive the same respect from both individuals and the government (by the way, if investigations find the rumor that officers tried to convince witnesses they heard Zimmerman calling for help instead of Trayvon, shit is really going to hit the fan).

We have seen this before. Don’t fall for the okey doke.