Congressman Wears Hoodie During Speech Amid Flaring Racial Tension
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush wore a hoodie and sunglasses during his speech on the House floor on Wednesday to draw attention to the raging controversy over the killing of Trayvon Martin. The black teenager was shot by Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman on February 26. Martin was wearing a hoodie at the time.
In his speech, Rush said, “Racial profiling has to stop, Mr. Speaker. Just because someone wears a hoodie doesn’t make them a hoodlum.” Rush spoke for about a minute before being escorted from the floor for violating House rules on decorum.
Rush’s speech and costume were intended to publicize the killing and the controversy that has arisen since. Local police have not arrested Zimmerman for the shooting, citing an ongoing investigation and evidence that Zimmerman was defending himself from an attack. This has ignited outrage across the country, particularly among some in the black community.
Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, an African-American religious group, has made a threatening criticism of the decision not to arrest Zimmerman. Farrakhan has said that, “Where there is no justice, there will be no peace. Soon, and very soon, the law of retaliation may … be applied.”
Meanwhile, a Black Panther group has printed and distributed “Wanted” posters featuring a photo of Zimmerman and a $10,000 bounty for his kidnapping. The group also called for thousands of black men to search the cities where he worked and to pursue him. The group’s leader said that Zimmerman “should be fearful for his life,” and said, “If the government won’t do the job, we’ll do it.”
Celebrity Spike Lee called his quarter of a million Twitter followers to action last Friday by retweeting Zimmerman’s home address. However, the address he posted was wrong. It was that of an elderly couple with no connection to Zimmerman and a different last name. They, along with Zimmerman and his father, have moved out of their home due to threats.
Jesse Jackson, who was voted the most important black leader in 2006, has concluded that Martin was a “kid shot down in cold blood by a vigilante.” Jackson also tried to widen the scope of the case, saying, “Blacks are under attack. … Targeting, arresting, convicting blacks and ultimately killing us is big business.”
Years ago, even when racial tension seemed to be in comparative decline, the Trumpet warned that racial division in the United States would become an explosive force of destruction. As some leaders stoke and spread the flames of resentment, watch for racial hatred—and violence—to break out.