There is nothing new about people using other people’s culture as costumes, especially Halloween costumes. Black people in particular have had their culture mocked for decades as members of other racial and ethnic groups often dawn black face as a part of their Halloween attire. This year however, two Florida men took things to new extremes when they decided to dress up as Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.
As reported by the Huffington Post, the image was first posted on the Facebook page of Caitlin Cimeno. The picture captured Greg Cimeno (depicting George Zimmerman) dressed a black tee shirt that read, ‘neighborhood watch,’ and William Filene (depicting Trayvon Martin) dressed in blackface and a gray hooded sweatshirt with a large red bloodstain on his chest. Within moments of being posted to Facebook, angry and outraged comments began appearing below the post. Many called Cimeno and Filene “racist” and “disgusting.”
The central problem with these costumes is there lack of taste. News One reports that Cimeno posted a status about creating the “best halloween costume of the year,” shortly before the photo and claimed he was joking and thought it was “hilarious,” bringing about the question of what, exactly, about Trayvon Martin’s trial was “hilarious.”
Although claims have been made that “it’s just too soon for jokes like that,” most believe costumes of that nature are in bad taste, as antics about purposeless murder are hardly ever funny. Sadly this is not the only incident of Trayvon Martin’s death being trivialized.
A photoshopped picture depicting a reenactment of Martin’s lifeless form, with a drink and candy, circulated online for a short amount of time this summer, making it appear that some still do not view Martin’s death as a serious incident.
Halloween is a time of year associated with costumes, parties, and a plethora of unhealthy treats. Anyone who has dressed up, or even been to Party City is aware of the plight of coming up with an original idea, but at what point does originality morph into distaste? Culture is not a costume, and neither is an unarmed teen.