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Shelf Help: 'Hood'

The history of hooding has two intertwined strands: forced and voluntary.
Hood. (Photo: Bloomsbury Publishing)

Hood. (Photo: Bloomsbury Publishing)

Alison Kinney
Bloomsbury Publishing

This slim, energetic book ricochets between medieval executioners, Abu Ghraib, anarchist protestors, the Ku Klux Klan, Trayvon Martin, and the Grim Reaper in search of a Unified Theory of Hoods. Surprisingly, it ends up finding one, and unearths all manner of fascinating hood-related facts along the way. The history of hooding has two intertwined strands: forced and voluntary. Forced hooding, like that at Abu Ghraib, generally serves to efface the hoodee’s humanity—making it easier to treat her poorly. Voluntary hooding hides the hoodee’s identity—making it easier for her to, say, burn a cross on someone’s lawn. Of course, the right to self-hood is unequally distributed; for some, a hoodie can never be “just” a hoodie. “His hoodie killed Trayvon Martin as sure as George Zimmerman did,” said Geraldo Rivera, neatly proving the book’s thesis that hoods “protect the powerful at the expense of the powerless, regardless of who’s wearing the hood.”


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