Just when we thought it was safe to wear sweatpants in the club, along comes the patriarchy to fuck it up for everyone. Republican senators in Oklahoma have floated legislation that would make hoodies illegal, utilizing an existing law that "bans the wearing of hoods while committing crimes." The law was initially enacted in the 1920s, and meant to combat the Ku Klux Klan. You see where this is going.
The bill was introduced by Senator Don Barrington (R), who believes his proposed amendment banning hooded sweatshirts will make Oklahoma safer for "victims of robberies." Oh, WORD? He told Oklahoma news station KFOR:
"The intent of Senate Bill 13 is to make businesses and public places safer by ensuring that people cannot conceal their identities for the purpose of crime or harassment….Similar language has been in Oklahoma statutes for decades and numerous other states have similar laws in place. Oklahoma businesses want state leaders to be responsive to their safety concerns, and this is one way we can provide protection."
Of course, this isn't really about banning slobwave—this is the misuse of a century-old law meant to combat a very specific hate group, directed at a garment that is probably one of America's most common. And since the hooded sweatshirt has been used as a well-recognized symbol of protest since the murder of Trayvon Martin, it's also hard not to hear the clarion call of a racist dog whistle within Barrington's legislation. The ACLU of Oklahoma released a statement that recognized that, in essence, and also accused Barrington of trying to regulate the outfits of normal citizens, Joan Rivers style:
"Here in Oklahoma, it has been illegal to use a hood, mask, or disguise for criminal conduct for over 90 years. This bill does nothing whatsoever to strengthen that law or to prevent or punish crime. Instead, this bill specifically targets only law-abiding individuals. Worse yet, the bill explicitly attempts to criminalize protected First Amendment rights. This bill would turn Oklahoma law enforcement into literally "the fashion police." What it proposes is both unnecessary and unconstitutional. Instead of bringing criminals to justice, this bill is far more likely to land the State of Oklahoma in the courtroom," said Brady Henderson, legal director of ACLU of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma resident Eduar Carrion, "a hoodie user," told KFOR, "I've been wearing hoodies since I was a little kid." EXACTLY. Free the hooded sweatshirt.
Image via hitmanphoto/Shutterstock.