In light of the delayed Trayvon Martin coverage this week, Fox News caster Geraldo Rivera excused the actions of Zimmerman because of the hoodie Martin was wearing. Not only was Rivera blaming the victim, but he used a cultural frame to dismiss this grave injustice. It wasn’t just Rivera that has expressed this sentiment; this week when I was expressing my frustration and anger about the case, a friend of mine said, “I understand that it is wrong, but I can understand why he looked suspicious.” I looked at her and explained that it was problematic to assume that a young boy, who was wearing a hoodie—which plenty of white boys wear—could be looked at as suspicious because he was standing, while being Black. I explained to her how the fact that we look at Black males and immediately think of violence is problematic in of itself.
As we discussed in class, cultural framework “relies on culturally based arguments to explain the standing of minorities in society” (Bonilla-Silva, 2010). In this case, cultural framework is used to explain why Whites are racially profiling Black men, because they see “Black culture” as violent and criminal. In the opinion of this newscaster, profiling a young boy wearing a hoodie isn’t the fault of Whites, but is the result of associating Blacks with crime and violence.
I think that it’s a blatant example of white privilege that we can blame a crime on the victim because of our own existing biases. This bias stems from “othering” other cultures that do not dress, talk, and look the way that we do, and because of our privilege in society, we are able to punish others for their differences and our ignorance.