I know this one thing to be true: kids, freaks, racists and fools love them some Halloween, so I shouldn’t be at all surprised by the costume crazy that’s been creeping across my sightline on the internet and in real life. The weeks leading up to the holiday bring out more pictures of scamps dressed in hooker wear and dummies dressed in black face than a summer series at the neighborhood strip joint and an Al Jolson marathon combined. Still, this photo of two ignoramuses in Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman costumes, replete with blackface, a bloody sweatshirt, a gun and giggles, made me see stars, stripes, thunderclouds and lightening when it popped up in my Facebook feed this weekend.
The photo is courtesy of a numbskull named Caitlin Cimeno, who thought the Halloween costumes so hilarious she published on Instagram and Facebook several photos of herself posed up with William Filene, the 25-year-old felon from (where else?) Florida, portraying Trayvon, and Greg Cimeno, a 22-year-old Florida resident dressed up like Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who killed the unarmed teen and got away with murder when he was acquitted in a high-profile trial in July. She captioned the images, “Happy Halloween from Zimmerman & trayvon,” and punctuated it with a smiley face emoticon. When Facebook friends balked at the “joke,” Greg Cimeno weighed in, calling his Halloween dress-up, “f*cking hilarious.” Because having a kid’s life taken by a maniac wanna-be cop just blocks from his daddy’s house, then watching the country combust over the injustice of a lackadaisical investigation and an acquittal of his killer, is gut-wrenchingly funny.
I’m not even going to go all too deep into the fact that Caitlin’s racists Facebook posts extended past her Halloween offerings, and included commentary on an unauthorized pic of a little African American girl wearing a “Black Girls Rock” t-shirt; that post was captioned, “First of all, sorry Hun but mommy lied to you & secondly if I was wearing a shirt that said something like the truth ‘white girls rock’ I would be stared at and called a racist cracker.” In the comments section, she added, “White power people” with another smiley face.
Well, I mean, if the shoe fits, darling. Though I’d venture to say that the title should read, “Illiterate, Heartless Racist Cracker,” seeing as Caitlin’s got a problem with both punctuation and thawing out that part of her heart that understands how wrong, how inhuman it is to make a joke—a mockery—of the tragic death of a fellow human being, a person who still is being mourned by a mother and a father who will never, ever see their baby again but must wake up every day to the horrifying fact that their child’s killer breathes and eats and sleeps like nothing ever happened. Like he is some hero who should be celebrated for taking a human life.
Mind you, I came home to Caitlin’s post just hours after shopping for the girlpie’s costume in a Halloween store that had these costumes for sale.
No, this is not a joke. Yes, the General E. Lee costume and the “Tighty Whitey” costume, replete with sagging pants, are both real. The scary part? There was only one each of them left in the store. Which means that some kid could end up on my doorstep this Thursday wearing one of those costumes and leave with his little feelings hurt. Because you know what I don’t do? Suffer fools on my stoop. And nope, when it comes to racist crap like this, I don’t care how old you are.
Hey, I have an idea: how about we all agree that Halloween is not any of these things:
- An excuse to dress up in black face, fake afros, gold teeth, thick gold jewelry and any other stereotypical paraphenalia people think reps African Americans
- An awesome time to play out your racist fantasies of “acting Black” or dressing up like someone who was/is patently anti-Black.
- A time for parents to fall down on their duties and let their daughters dress up in costumes that look like Disney Princess-meets-My Dark Twisted Fantasy with a heap of centerstage at ATL’s own Onyx Strip Club.
- A day when anyone over age 12 knocks on doors with a plastic grocery bag in hand, talmbout, “Trick or Treat.”
Let’s leave Halloween to the kids and save the racist costumes and commentary for another damn day. Please and thanks.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.