In the neighboring state of Oklahoma, one state senator wants to crack down on protestors using their First Amendment right to wear a hoodie. Of course, there’s always some random clause that gives out exemptions for holidays like Halloween or for persons who wear religious coverings, but the proposed legislation is so vague that people wearing hoodies in PUBLIC spaces can be arrested and sent to prison for up to a year.. The proposed law has come under scrutiny from local and national news outlets
As a response, one of my friends and former classmates from Brite Divinity School, Pastor Michael Riggs teamed up with Reverend Jesse Jackson Jr. of OK to create a Facebook Event: #HoodieSunday. Hoodie Sunday took place this last Sunday on January 18th, 2015. Through the power of social media, clergy organized laypersons and activists, encouraging them to wear hoodies over their Sunday’s best in solidarity with advocates of free speech in Oklahoma. Yes, I realize that this movement is more than about my favorite piece of clothing, the hoodie. At the same time, I have come to realize the Hoodie has been transformed as a symbol of resistance.
When I first started writing as h00die_R and I am still keeping it as my personal Twitter handle, I realized that I was taking a stand. The object that had become a marker for Trayvon Martin’s death (the reason for his being racial profiled and murdered in cold blood) had now become an unofficial preferred clothing for protestors all over the country. Last year, when my friend Ryan Murphy and I visited what was supposed to be a Christian-owned restaurant, we were denied any sort of hospitality or customer service simply because we were wearing hoodies. Last week, we visited the exact same establishment, sans the hoodies, and it was a completely different and more, uh, positive experience.
This Sunday, I DID choose to participate in Hoodie Sunday. I was pretty excited, and even one of my Tweets was featured in the Oklahoma City Sun. As pumped as I was, I pretty much knew what to expect. The number of awkward smiles. The perplexed looks from congregants, probably wondering, “What did we do now? Why is he always so angry?” It happened on #HoodiesUp Sunday after Trayvon Martin “trial,” and I got the same looks this past HoodieSunday. Unlike last time, no one bothered to ask me why the hoodie, or was I cold. It goes to show that
the Hoodie has taken on a strange political significance, a fugitivity associated with outsiders whom the dominant culture deems unworthy of hospitality. What thuggish neighborhood watchmen and overly aggressive police officers have defined as a reason for black death (wearing a hoodie, having dark skin), the oppressed have transformed into a symbol of resistance. Just as the Cross once stood as an overbearing threat against rebels versus the Roman Empire and now stands as the ultimate symbol of God’s power, the donning of the hoodie has become a subversive political act of defying the state violence.
The Parable of the Orange Hoodie by “NMSP6”
Jesus Wore A Hoodie by Rodney Coates
Photo Description: Photo of author of post, wearing a sky blue hoodie, in front of a church building.