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An Act Of Terrorism: Performative (His)Strosities And The Eradication Of The Black Body

1478 words - 6 pages

The Eradication Of The Black Body
Phenomenal blackness facilitates acts of terrorism to be propagated and enacted onto the dark body as a gateway to hegemony. In addition, the role of the hoodie (following the tragedy) took on a performative role as a visual icon in the struggle of racial profiling, violence, and performative (his)trocities against dark bodies. Yet I believe the hoodie carries a distinctive racialized image that seeks to demonize when worn on the Black body, which played a pivotal role in Martin’s death.
The hoodie has long been associated with visual images of the American working class. In 1976 the motion picture, Rocky, rocked the box office with the highest grossing box ...view middle of the document...

.. (Weeks, 2012, “Remember Rocky?”).
The implication in Mills’ statement is that “urban settings” equate to ethnicity, marginalization and what I argue as the black body. With the onslaught of media influence, some perpetrated by African American media moguls looking to commercialize an image of the black experience, the hoodie has become associated with illicit connotations by the very nature of its association with African American identity.
In the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s death, Fox News anchor Geraldo Rivera came under fire for comments regarding the association between minorities and the hoodie:
I am urging the parents of Black and Latino youngsters particularly not to let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin‘s death as much as George Zimmerman was. Trayvon Martin, God bless him, an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hands. He didn’t deserve to die. But I bet you money, if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way (as cited in Castellanos, 2012, para. 2).
Rivera’s comments suggest that the real culprit is not the fact that Zimmerman (mis)recognized the teen, but that Zimmerman felt abject fear towards the teen because he was wearing a hoodie. Not only did Zimmerman feel fear in profiling Martin due to his “out of place” presence on the block, he also reacted to Martin’s blackness (i.e. phenomenal blackness) in his hoodie, which doubled as an act of terror in the gated community to which in Zimmerman’s self-appointed superior authority felt obligated to protect and serve.
I reject Rivera’s comments that suggest minorities should engage in discretionary clothing to appease White hegemony and thereby reducing racial profiling. These comments only reinforces phenomenal blackness and continue to perpetuate performative (his)trocities; (1) by demanding minorities acknowledge their second class citizenship statues as the inalienable “other” that must be manipulated and controlled at the discretion of the white body politic; (2) the assumption that if minorities do comply with self-discretionary measures policing of the ethnic body, issues of phenomenal blackness and performative (his)trocities will simple cease from existence. The hoodie on the black body becomes a prop on the national stage at which to distract and vilify minorities from the horrors of performative (his)trocities is reinforced as a people in need of being policed. These assertions are short-sighted and only aid in the “American War on Terror” that posits national identity and whiteness as synonymous and interchangeable terms to enact authority over American minorities deemed “other.”

Whether conscious or unconscious of his decision to profile Trayvon Martin in a desperate act of self-defense, George Zimmerman felt threaten enough by the presence of the unarmed teen to gun him down in the early...


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