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July 20, 2013

After the Zimmerman Trial: Hoodie Comes into its Own as Cultural Symbol

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One thing that fascinated me this week was the ascendence of the hoodie to relate, in the most eloquent way, to the Florida verdict.  Since Trayvon Martin’s death, the article of clothing has come to represent (the stereotyping of) young black males. This week, it also became the envelope and container by which to express the sense of bias and omission of race from the Zimmerman trial and acquittal.

These four images, appearing in reverse chronological order, all took the object in a different direction. Having done my fair share of heavy lifting this week, I’m interested in your thoughts on these images, what you happen to see in the progression, as well any points of comparison that stand out to you between particular images.

I’ll jump in at some point over the weekend to lend my thoughts and ideally respond to yours.

By the way, this week was particularly busy behind the scenes, not just because of my move from L.A. to Berkeley, but because we’re putting the finishing touches on our site redesign. Sometime in the next week or so, we will put things on hold for 24 hours to make the switch. Of course, we will let you know in advance.

(photo 1: Nick Veasey for TIME; image 2: Adam McCabe @AdamIsCreative for Orlando Weekly; photo-illustration 3: attributed to the artist Nikkolas Smith; illustration 4: still looking for the artist’s name. June 15th cover of the New York Daily News.)

  • bks3bks

    I like hooded sweatshirts, myself. They’re pretty much year-round perfect for the S.F. Bay Area.

    –bks

    • 1nancy2

      b Ditto…Nothing like a hoodie and oh, gee, what a terrible thing to put the hood up when it is raining. Not.

  • bks3bks

    I like hooded sweatshirts, myself. They’re pretty much year-round perfect for the S.F. Bay Area.

    –bks

    • 1nancy2

      b Ditto…Nothing like a hoodie and oh, gee, what a terrible thing to put the hood up when it is raining. Not.

  • black_dog_barking

    Hoods were definitely uncool when I was growing up but I sure like ‘em now. Comfort and convenience, how can that be wrong? In analyzing these images one has to keep in mind the less than positive cultural baggage the hoodie brings with it: the Grim Reaper.

  • black_dog_barking

    Hoods were definitely uncool when I was growing up but I sure like ‘em now. Comfort and convenience, how can that be wrong? In analyzing these images one has to keep in mind the less than positive baggage the hoodie brings with it: the Grim Reaper.

  • Scarabus

    10-15 years back, they were often called “carjacker” outfits.

    Right now I’m wearing one my wife bought for me at Wally World — @60 miles west of here … past Sanford, through Orlando, and just beyond.

  • Scarabus

    10-15 years back, they were often called “carjacker” outfits.

  • David

    While the Grim Reaper may be one association with a hoodie, I have another, more positive association with the image. Possibly this association, consciously or not, may have something to do with its rise in popularity over the last 20 years or so.

  • David

    While the Grim Reaper may be one association with a hoodie, I have another, more positive association with the image. Possibly this association, consciously or not, may have something to do with its rise in popularity over the last 20 years or so.

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