Discussing Trayvon Martin on WLLD-FM at 5 p.m. today and CNN at 11 a.m. Sunday
Just a note that I'll be participating in a special, two-hour program on the Trayvon Martin case at 5 p.m. today on WLLD-FM (Wild 94.1), and I'll be discussing the media coverage on CNN's Reliable Sources at 11 a.m. Sunday.
WLLD program director and morning man Orlando Davis -- who always busts my chops for calling him about race issues in radio -- was nice enough to ring me up Thursday, after an emotional morning spent discussing the implications of the case.
The special, We Are Trayvon, will feature call ins from listeners, some expert commentary from folks like me, artists calling in with their thoughts and more. It all previews a Million Hoodie March scheduled at 11 a.m. Saturday at the corner of Dale Mabry and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Tampa.
As thousands gathered in Sanford to protest the handling of the case, asking why the man who shot an unarmed 17-year-old walking home hasn't been arrested yet, media outlets provided a deluge of coverage -- including the odd sight of watching MSNBC anchor Al Sharpton hosting his show from a rally he was leading.
On Fox News this morning, Geraldo Rivera offered an analysis which likely made the channel's white conservative audience feel better, going on a diatribe about how Martin's wearing of a "hoodie" contributed to the unarmed teen getting shot to death.
"Every time you see someone stickin’ up a 7-11, the kid’s wearing a hoodie," he said. "Every time you see a mugging on a surveillance camera or they get the old lady in the alcove, it’s a kid wearing a hoodie. You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a "gangsta"… well, people are going to perceive you as a menace."
Of course, it was raining when Martin took his walk, so wearing a hoodie kinda made sense. And even Justin Bieber wears a hoodie. Does this now mean that black kids can't wear backwards baseball caps or carry umbrellas because some yahoo is going to assume they are a criminal?
Davis and I both grew up in Gary, Indiana, a predominantly black city surrounded by mostly white suburbs, so we know that hazards of walking in the wrong neighborhood with the wrong look. I'm hoping we'll have a chance to dissect all the different race and media issues at the heart of this, including whether it's fair for CNN to use its audio engineer to suggest that the man who shot Martin, George Zimmerman, may have used a racial slur during his 911 call.
We'll probably cover similar ground on Howard Kurtz's media analysis show on CNN, facing the biggest question: Why did it take nearly a month for this killing to become national news (my theory: it was the police department's vouching for Zimmerman's story of self-defense and resistance to releasing tapes of the 911 calls surrounding the incident).