Commentary: The Shocking Halloween Horror at Trayvon’s Expense

When two men "dress up" as Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, it shows how deeply standards of decency have fallen.

Posted: 10/28/2013 04:43 PM EDT

There are always people in American society who will test the boundaries of good taste and decency. People whose sense of compassion and proportion has sunk so low, that their behavior is breathtaking in its insensitivity.

That is firmly the case in the latest Halloween costume selection made by two Twitter users. One was dressed in Blackface as Trayvon Martin with his friend posing as George Zimmerman wearing a “Neighborhood Watch” T-shirt for their costumes. The photo shows "George" mimicking a gun at his friend who was playing "Trayvon." 

It was posted onto Twitter with the caption: “Happy Halloween from Zimmerman & Trayvon.”

It is shocking to see someone seek to create light of the nightmare of the death of an unarmed African-American teenager at the hands of an overzealous neighborhood watch volunteer. But it shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise.

We live in an age where the limits of civility and decency are tested on a daily basis. Gun violence has become so commonplace, such a stable of news reports, that we as a society have become desensitized to even the mass killings of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut or the daily carnage in the streets of the South Side of Chicago.

No behavior is too ghastly, no act too shocking it seems. After all, this is an era where a member of Congress feels comfortable with yelling at the president of the United States at a state of the union speech and proclaiming him a liar.

The only recourse against living in a society where any act, no matter how egregious, becomes acceptable is by taking strong note of the act and calling it out as publicly as possible and with as much condemnation as can be mustered.

Of course, the Trayvon Martin Halloween insanity ignited a firestorm in cyberspace, and the offensive photo was removed from Twitter before too long. Still, the image had been available for all the world to see.

This is one such act. The death of Trayvon Martin was a national tragedy that exposed some of the most horrifying fractures in American society. By reducing the legacy of his death to some cheap Halloween joke his unspeakably demeaning. It is yet another sign of a society that can cheapen the value of Black life.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks. 

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(Photo: Twitter via Jamie Vanderkamp)

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