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The Stigma of the Hoodie and the Constant Reminder of Death

Posted By on November 11, 2015

Front Cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Some Enchanted Evenings” album depicting death as a hooded figure

Imagine you’re walking down a dark road. What few street lamps there are either aren’t working at all or if they are working, they’re providing woefully little assistance as you make your way through the night. As you trudge through the darkness, you notice a dark figure in the distance. You keep walking, your attention now fully on the hooded figure that doesn’t slow as it approaches. Now, who or what do you think is approaching you, and does it matter?

In the above scenario, you could be in an inner-city neighborhood or you could be in 15th century London, making your way through the soot-covered streets of the city slums. Either way, the person in the hood scares you, and the reason is simple. The hooded figure is an almost universal archetype for death. Death has been depicted as a hooded figure almost as often as it has been depicted as an angel. It doesn’t matter if it’s Trayvon Martin or some medieval scallywag, if someone approaches you in the dark with their face covered, the natural human reaction is to be afraid. So, who thought making people fearful would be a great fashion statement? Criminals, that’s who.



In the 1970s, criminal gangs began wearing hoodies to hide their identities during the commission of crimes. Around that time, greedy corporate recording companies decided they could make a fortune by promoting crime and the decidedly violent misogynistic “rap” that passed for music among the uneducated and criminally prone inner-city youth. In a coordinated effort between the rap industry and the cheap clothing industry, the hoodie came to be a symbol of hostility, oppression, revenge, disrespect for authority, and death. One by one, until the numbers topped the tens of thousands, young hoodie-wearing Black men, steeped in the culture of gangster rap were killed by other Black men in hoodies or by police. Hoodies mean death. They always have, and that greedy corporations make money from death is also not new.

Do you want to change the world? It’s easy. Stop buying hoodies. Stop wearing hoodies. Actively tell people how uncool hoodies are. Only criminals wear them. Don’t hide your face and expect people not to be afraid. That’s what death does. It hides its face. You can’t identify it on a dark, dimly lit street. All you know is that something dark and hidden is coming your way. It might be a kid in a hoodie, or it might be a gun-wielding thug who would rather silence you than let you live through his treachery. Hoodies aren’t art. They’re not a cultural statement. The only thing they convey is death.

About the author

Jerri L. Cook is a recognized leader in rural media. She holds a B.S. in Organizational Communications and a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Concord Law School. Exceptional legal research and writing is essential to providing effective counsel. With her proven record of excellence, Jerri L. Cook provides effective trial support for attorneys who find themselves with only a 24-hour day. Her background in communications, including content creation and internet programming, complement her academic focus on Cyber Law. E-Discovery can be daunting, but with Jerri L. Cook on the team, digital information is readily discovered and retrieved. Contact her at 715.257.4363.

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