Criminalizing Hoodies?

It is not right and it is not American to ban hoodies.


Criminals have worn hoodies. Criminals have also worn underwear. Criminals have worn shirts and shoes.

When I go to my bank, a sign asks me to pull back any hood I might be wearing and to remove sunglasses if I am wearing any.

Is Oklahoma going to ban sunglasses in the future?

If banks and other establishments can require people to remove all obstructions from their faces already, why should legislatures be involved?

According to KTLA5,

A state legislator in Oklahoma has proposed an amendment that would impose a $500 fine on people who cover their faces with clothing — including hooded sweatshirts.

An existing statute already makes it illegal to wear such clothing while committing a crime, KFOR-TV reported.

An amendment to that law, authored by Republican state Sen. Don Barrington, would ban the concealment of a person’s identity in public.

“Oklahoma businesses want state leaders to be responsive to their safety concerns, and this is one way we can provide protection,” Barrington said in a statement.

Reactions to the proposal have been mixed.

“I think it is a violation of an individual’s right to choose what they want to wear as long as it doesn’t violate the realm of public decency and moral values,” said attorney James Siderias, “and I think that this could be very problematic.”

Wearing a mask conceals one’s identity. Wearing a hoodie does not. I have a rain jacket that has a hood. Should I be subject to a $500 fine if I drive through Oklahoma during a rainy day and wear it when I stop somewhere?

[See also, “Republican Opponent of the First Amendment?]

What are we to make of the claim that, “Oklahoma businesses want state leaders to be responsive to their safety concerns, and this is one way we can provide protection”? Are state leaders only beholden to businesses and not to everyone in Oklahoma? Basically, the state is now considering legislating clothing that a majority of people wear without committing any crime.

I have to assume that Dan Barrington comes from some weird, perhaps wealthy, economic class or some other sub-culture that somehow never discovered the hoodie as normal dress. It is deeply disturbing to see such a completely un-American law get serious consideration.

It does not deserve it.