Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) shocked students at the University of Massachusetts when he referred to the Trayon Martin shooting during his commencement speech.
“I do want to acknowledge a man who has played a major role in diminishing inequality in Massachusetts,” said Frank, referring to black activist Hubie Jones. “He’s a great man and I’ve worked with Hubie for many years. You know he got an honorary degree today. You know when you get an honorary degree they give you one of these,” said Frank, noting the graduation hood he was wearing. “Hubie, I think you have a hoodie you can wear and nobody will shoot at you. I hope you’ll feel pretty protected by that.”
Frank later said that “the hoodie line” was meant “to ridicule the notion that a hooded sweatshirt is somehow sinister.”
Frank noted that the joke wasn’t a new one. In fact, it was the fourth time he used it this year.
“I wore a hooded gown in three ceremonies earlier this year, and in my remarks at those events I used the same joke on myself,” said Frank.
But UM did not give Frank an honorary degree, so in order to use the sidesplitter, Frank had to turn to somebody else.
“The only honorary degree was awarded to my good friend, Hubie Jones, to whom I gave tribute for his fight for social justice. In my remarks, I shamelessly recycled the hoodie joke for the fourth time,” Frank said.