Joseph Avenue Christmas is the story of one man's journey to the true meaning of Christmas. Not just the birth of the babe, but the salvation of the soul. Set on the wintry streets of Rochester, NY it is a visit to the heart of that city and the hearts of some of its best and bravest people. From their good example, and the simple lessons of their own lives and faith, a troubled man finds on a dark Christmas Eve an escape from an increasingly failed life.
Buy the book online by clicking these links:
Studio Phone: (585) 222-1180
Local Phone: (585) 279-5281
Phone Toll-Free: (800) 295-1180
As an average white guy, let me make this observation.
Nobody notices your hoodie.
If you’re young and black and you think there’s a part of your wardrobe that puts white people on edge, you’re nuts if you think it’s your sweatshirt.
Actually, it’s your pants.
And maybe your hat.
Pants hanging off your arse and a hat on sideways, we notice. Hoodie, we couldn’t care less.
And it’s kind of preposterous the polarization and indignation being hyped up over this item of clothing. The notion that the average white person sees hoodie and thinks danger is really almost comical.
Ditto for the fact that hooded sweatshirts are now being depicted as an item of racial identity or solidarity.
Politicians in their hoodies standing in a row, or Million Hoodie marches, are, to be honest, kind of a joke. Not for what they’re trying to communicate, but for the fact they focus on an item of clothing to do so.
Not that we’re not all heartbroken over the senseless death of Trayvon Martin. Not that we’re not all puzzled by the politics being played over his slaying.
But the notion that a hooded sweatshirt is some emblem of black urban America, well, that’s just not something that can be taken seriously.
Mostly because everybody wears hooded sweatshirts, and always has, and also because the incidence of hoodies on young black men, by casual observation, isn’t really any greater than it is elsewhere in society.
In short, the hooded sweatshirt is just a handy part of anybody’s wardrobe, and it is popular across the population.
By which I mean you’re as apt to see a white guy wearing a hoodie as you are a black guy. And that white guy can be of any age or economic background.
Personally, I’ve got more than a dozen hooded sweatshirts, and I wear one or more of them most of the year. My oldest is one I got in high school, for the track team, in the early 1970s.
I have insulated hoodies for hunting and cutting wood. I have various hoodies from my children’s school. I’ve got a couple I wear because they’re comfortable. And I’ve got a couple that I wear to run in.
Including one emblazoned – last year – with the logo of the radio station where I work – the Rush Limbaugh station.
All the construction workers I know wear hooded sweatshirts. So do the farmers, salt miners and pretty much anybody else who works outdoors.
Most of those people are white.
On the other hand, for the last year, I have spent three or four days a week running through predominantly impoverished, black neighborhoods in Rochester and Syracuse, New York. I’ve seen lots of people on those runs, and a very high percentage of them were black. And a good number of them were young men.
And the percentage of them wearing a hoodie looked to be just about what it is at the predominantly white Wal-Mart where I shop.
Let me restate my premise: It’s just a sweatshirt with a hood. It’s not the uniform of a race. It’s not an ethnic rallying point. It’s just a sweatshirt with a hood.
And people – all types of people – wear it because it is useful. It’s warm, but not too heavy, and it’s got a built-in hat in case it rains or your ears get cold.
And, no, white people don’t see hoodie and think trouble.
Though recent discussion might change that.
Ironically, people who had seen no association between a sweatshirt and crime have now been “sensitized” to the issue, and will probably notice from here on out each time a mug shot on the evening news shows a young black man in a hoodie.
Sadly, in the last two weeks, there have been far too many such young men on my local news.
Unfortunately, the slaying of Trayvon Martin has been played by various people and organizations for personal and political benefit. Some would turn it into an angry confrontation over race.
Which is their right.
In America, you can say anything you want.
But if you say something that doesn’t make sense, somebody else is apt to call you on it.
Like this hoodie stuff.
They are not signs of racial identity or division.
They are merely sweatshirts with hoods on them.
And we all wear them.