From The Grio — An onslaught of new interest can easily see a serious matter shift into something of a spectacle. Understandably, that draws the ire of those who want to make sure the real message doesn’t get lost in all the madness. As people work to see Trayvon Martin’s shooter, George Zimmerman, brought to justice, a few are starting to wonder aloud whether a symbolic and well-meaning gesture has gone too far.

By now you’ve seen it on Twitter, Facebook, gossip blogs, sports sites, and even on your TV screens: people donning a hoodie to signify the item of clothing Trayvon wore when his life was taken away by a self-appointed neighborhood watchman. Members of the Miami Heat, news anchors, city council men and women, state senators, and now even a U.S. congressman have all been spotted wearing one in solidarity.

But while Trayvon’s parents commended Rep. Bobby Rush and others for pleading their case, some are considering it a silly and increasingly empty form of symbolism.


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On a segment on The Daily Show that aired this week, Jon Stewart noted how much of a symbolic gesture it seems coming from stars of the NBA and ordinary citizens, but not so much “these guys” — meaning MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, CNN contributor Roland Martin, Current TV host Keith Olbermann, and former Michigan governor turned TV host Jennifer Granholm.

It made for a funny Star Wars-themed spoof (Stewart compared the hoodie-clad anchors to Jedis and Sith Lords), but it doesn’t do much in the way of convincing me that those anchors should not have joined LeBron James and your average Joe in rocking a hoodie out of respect.

In fact, even Stewart declared at the end of his rift, “Clearly if all this newfound focus and attention forces a more thorough and just investigation of this tragic incident, we are all be better off.” And that, if nothing else, needs to remain the focus — particularly if one is starting to question the hoodie wearers’ overall effectiveness.

I could focus on people posing topless with hoodies on Twitter, which obviously makes it more about them than the fatally shot teen. Or those stupid parties postured to be in Trayvon’s honor, or maybe some of the more overzealous members of the press. I choose not to, though.


(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

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