Conflict & Tragedy
Offensive Halloween costumes include 'Blackface' Trayvon Martin, bloody Asian flight attendants
Halloween is the time when the ghouls and goblins come out to play, but this year seems to have unleashed some from the belly of hell itself.
Unfortunately, these monsters are all very much human.
I’m talking about a string of offensive -- and some say blatantly racist -- Halloween costumes worn and unabashedly posted online for the world to see.
There is the group costume of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, published by The Huffington Post, which takes "offensive" to a whole other stratosphere.
A photo uploaded to the Facebook page of a woman named Caitlin Cimeno, showed her standing wearing a board smile, between a man in blackface, donned in a bloodstained looking hoodie and another with the words “neighborhood watch” emblazoned on the front of his shirt.
One is using his fingers as “the gun” and has it pointed at the other wearing the bloody sweatshirt.
The man in blackface and bloody hoodie is supposed to be 17-year-old Martin, who was shot and killed by 28-year-old Zimmerman Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford, Fla. and the other is obviously the acquitted Zimmerman.
Other Trayvon Martin costumes have surfaced online, with some carrying iced tea and Skittles in each hand.
Cimeno has since deleted her Facebook account, for I suspect the wave of criticism her photo ignited was too much for her. She dished it out but could not take the heat.
One of the men posing with Cimeno even posted the offensive photo as his Facebook profile pic, then quickly changed his page to private.
How could anyone see humor in the shooting death of a teen?
The men in the photo are not naïve children who may not be able to fully comprehend the depth of disrespect and negative racial connotations their costumes convey.
According to the Smoking Gun both men come from the same part of Florida where the Zimmerman murder trial was held.
They are Greg Cimeno, 22, who portrayed Zimmerman, and William Filene, 25. Cimeno reportedly lives in Cape Coral, Fla., where he works for a carpentry firm.
William Filene, who dressed up as Martin, also lives in Cape Coral. He was allegedly arrested in June for felony auto theft. His rap sheet is said to also include collars for loitering/prowling and failing to register an automobile.
Then there was Julianne Hough of "Dancing With the Stars" in blackface. I'm sure the young starlet thought that dressing up as a character from "Orange is the New Black" was very creative, but she managed to offend many. She has since apologized for her racial insensitivity. Is it possible Hough was never taught about the racial history of blackface?
The offensive continues with the bloody flight attendants costumes, where three men thought it was hilarious to dress up as Asiana Airlines attendants from flight 214 which crashed landed at San Francisco International Airport July 6.
Not satisfied with just the bloody costumes, the men also added the racist prank which aired on local KTVU.
Again, why is real life tragedy seen as entertainment for some?
Yes, Halloween is traditionally a time to be creative with the crazy but there isn’t an iota of humor in human suffering and death. I am quite sure we can channel our creative energies in the direction of a plethora of other choices without offending.
Let’s have fun but never at the expense of compassion, empathy, sensitivity and respect for our fellow human beings.