Wolves in Thug’s Clothing


On 18 May of 2012, television pundit, Bill O’Reilly, interviewed Geraldo Rivera about the Trayvon Marin/George Zimmerman case. During the interview, Geraldo stated that Martin was “dressed in that thug wear,” meaning a “hoodie.” He further stated that being dressed in that “thug wear” was just cause for Zimmerman to suspect that Martin was up to no good. Weeks earlier, Geraldo verbally chastised parents for letting their children wear “hoodies” [even though his own son wears them].

If what Geraldo posits is valid then I assert the following: Given that the greediest and vilest of thugs can be found on Wall Street [they precipitated the greatest recession since the Depression and have literally stolen billions of dollars from the middle class], then suits and ties can also rightfully be considered “thug wear.” The Wall Street thugs and other thugs in corporate America [as has been documented by various sources] have fleeced Americans of more money than all the street thugs in the US combined. These thugs have also been the recipients of more government welfare than the 46 million or so Americans who receive monthly welfare payments from the government. These facts are indisputable.

These thugs wear suits and ties, cuff links and cotton dress shirts as well as animal-skin shoes. So, if “hoodies” are “thug wear” then so are the clothes worn by corporate executives who are guilty of fraud. To that end, would Geraldo advise others not to wear the corporate “thug wear?” In fact, why doesn’t the IRS or law enforcement agents profile corporate executives, just like Zimmerman and Sheriff Arpaio of Arizona [the so-called “Toughest Sheriff in America” who is known to profile and arrest suspected illegal aliens], on the suspicion of graft and fraud? After all, if it walks like a thug and is dressed like a thug, then … thug.

As alluring as that fantasy sounds, rich criminals have always been treated with deference and even respect. We fear the street criminal and with good reason, but as a matter of course, those who dress in white collar “thug wear” have been granted tacit permission to deplete retirement accounts of the working class while ravaging the US economy. Could this deference be because their “thug wear” is more expensive than the “thug wear” Trayvon Martin was wearing?

Jesus is credited with using the phrase, “wolves in sheep clothing” meaning by all outward appearances certain beastly people would present themselves as sheep, thus making them more difficult to detect. Well, if I use Geraldo’s insightful observation as the basis for my logic, then thugs today are relatively easier to spot than they were in Jesus’ day – they’re the ones in the suit and tie.

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Um, I would posit that the biggest thugs are wearing suits in D.C. and it’s their croney capitalism that raped bond holders at GM, taxpayers of just short of a trillion dollars in union payoff bound stimulus, and pits henchman and croneys to whip up tensions racial, class and economic to keep the public gaze otherwise occupied.

    Umm… “Sheriff Arpaio of Arizona known to profile and arrest suspected illegal aliens”.. having lived there, the only profiling the guy does is that he enforces the law in neighborhoods that are PREDOMINANTLY illegal alien residents. Oh, which happen to be the highest crime pockets in the county he was sworn to protect.

    As to the rich criminals. I think it is a matter of scale, audacity and violence. I don’t worry Abramoff will knock me over the head and take my wallet, I’m in awe of the scale of his thievery. I respect the incredible audacity he had to do it. Clever theft has always been respected. Violence is feared at best and loathed at worse. Violence is easy.

    Lastly, Geraldo is an idiot. If you are looking for wolves in sheeps clothing, I would dare say Jesus was more likely warning about men and women, politicians that claim they are acting out of compassion while they steal, rape, and undermine the very fabric of society that binds us together as brothers.

    Keep up the writing, I love it old friend, I just disagree with the framing of the argument!

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    • I am not in awe of thieves who devastate people’s savings or ravage the economy — no matter how clever. Fraud is fraud, no matter how clever. I do agree, however, that many politicians would also qualify as wolves in thug wear.

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  2. Absolutely brilliant observation! The sociology C. Wright Mills noted once that society is far too preoccupied with the crimes of the poor, and rarely gives enough attention to the equally egregious behavior of those with high status and wealth (specifically white collar crime). I agree with you that these crimes are as dangerous and insidious of that street criminals, but we as a society glamorize and emulate these people no matter how economically and in some cases physically devastating their many offenses. To refer to clothing of typical poor and middle-class youth as “thug wear” while ignoring the devil in the three-piece suit is bias and ignorance at its zenith and further perpetuates stereotypes, myths, and justification for inequality and privilege that is both dangerous and destructive to say the least.

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    • Too bad C. Wright Mills, you and I could not have a conversation; but at least you and I can and have. Thank you.

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  3. Umm, I can’t recall the last time I had someone put a gun to my head wearing a three piece suit though… Just so happens I’ve been mugged now 3 times that I can remember by folks wearing hoodies (all were male). Just sayin…

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  4. As to the high road of ‘fraud is fraud’… Come on…

    Why are bank robbers more glamorous than someone who slips into your home in the dark of night and robs you. Why are cat burglars more glamorous… (more movies made of bank robbing and cat burglaring)… Its crime all the same, but damn, they seem to take a certain amount of courage or ingenuity that one can admire separate from the perversion of purpose….

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