The Man In…The Hoodie?


For Trayvon Martin. And for the countless number of black people who have been denigrated, abused, physically assaulted, mentally traumatized, and murdered by police, I am making a change.

If there is ever a need for an additional layer (or layer) of clothing (beyond my typical t-shirt) due to colder weather, my top layer will be a hoodie (Cut me some slack – it gets hot as hell in the summers in Virginia). I don’t care if I’m visiting the Dalai Lama or grabbing lunch at Taco Bell. That’s what I’ll be wearing.

I’m not the first person to make a symbolic change in apparel to protest the evil in the world. And I won’t be the last. As long as the Earth spins and humanity crawls on it, there will be evil to protest. Some of you might rightly scoff or laugh at my gesture. That’s ok. I don’t mind being mocked. This feels right to me. It’s a tiny protest, just like my daily protest blog. But I feel a little taller and a little straighter wearing my hoodies and my feelings “on my sleeve”.

If a single step is good enough for Lao Tzu and Martin Luther King Junior assured us that the arc of history eventually bends towards justice, I’m willing to walk the line…with this hoodie on my back.

I’ll let Johnny Cash (RIP) finish this post with the lyrics to Man in Black. His beautiful song explains my motivation much more eloquently than I ever could.

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there’s a reason for the things that I have on.
I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he’s a victim of the times.
I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you’d think He’s talking straight to you and me.
Well, we’re doin’ mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin’ cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we’re reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought ‘a be a Man In Black.
I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin’ for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.
And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
Believen’ that the Lord was on their side,
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,
Believen’ that we all were on their side.
Well, there’s things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin’ everywhere you go,
But ’til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You’ll never see me wear a suit of white.
Ah, I’d love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything’s OK,
But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
‘Till things are brighter, I’m the Man In Black

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