I think the hoodie is probably one of the most functional pieces of clothing invented. It’s basically a hat that goes where you go, and stays attached to your clothing, so you don’t forget it someplace. It protects your ears from the wind, and your hair from the sleet. Depending on the style of the neck, you can tuck your chin in and run. You usually have a nice set of connected pockets for your hands. It’s made for cool weather. It’s perfect.
Except if you’re a black or brown male.
I was watching my boys today as they got dressed up for Thanksgiving dinner at their school. They move easily between dressy and casual clothing. They’re young, carefree and happy. But every time they put on a sweatshirt with a hood, I’m telling them to pull the hood down. It hit me as I was putting on my hoodie today and thinking about the functionality of the garment.
You don’t want to be a young black man wearing a hoodie. Outside. At night. You become menacing – a threat. I haven’t explicitly said this to the boys, but it makes me sad that I think it. It makes me sad that others, who don’t know their lively, loving spirits, would immediately make that assumption about them. Because they are wearing a hoodie.
A perfectly good piece of clothing – ruined.
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