Retiring Congressman Barney Frank's speech at the UMass Dartmouth commencement ceremony has a lot of people talking.
Frank made a joke aimed at African American Hubie Jones who is also a longtime friend.
Jones was receiving an honorary doctorate degree at the ceremony, so Frank took the time to tease his friend.
"Hubie, I think you now have a hoodie you can wear and no one will shoot at you," Frank said, "So I hope you'll feel pretty protected by that."
The hoodie joke was made in reference to the controversial shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. That shooting, garnered national attention as thousands poured into the streets demanding justice. Martin was wearing a hoodie at the time of the shooting.
In a statement, Frank says he wore a hooded gown in three ceremonies earlier this year and used the same joke on himself.
"On Sunday, I was awarded a medal but not an honorary degree and a hood, so I could not use myself as an example. 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," says Frank.
Frank adds that he has "used the hoodie line to ridicule the notion that a hooded sweatshirt is somehow sinister."
Longtime social activist Hubie Jones reportedly said he did not think Frank meant any harm.
The comment resulted in mixed reactions from UMass Dartmouth students.