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When Halloween Goes Wrong

by Monday, October 28, 2013

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By Bryant Cross

Halloween…

That time of the year where you can pretend to be anything or anyone you want. A time where all your inner cravings for debauchery are permitted for 24 hours because hell – it’s Halloween. The only time all your animalistic desires are allowed is New Years Eve and your birthday. Now we usually think this is cute because who wouldn’t mind getting drunk and looking like a fool on the dance floor without being judged? But unfortunately Halloween is also the time where racists get to show their true colors.

A photo has gone viral of Greg Cimeno dressed as George Zimmerman with his friend, William Filene, dressed as Trayvon Martin. Filene wears a hoodie with a bloody bullet hole in the center of the chest while wearing blackface. In the middle of the photo is Caitlin Cimeno, who posted the photo on her Facebook and Instagram. The caption of the photo said something to the extent of – “Just having fun.” Many people across the country are outraged, but Cimeno has defended his costume calling it “Hilarious”.

Now two concepts typically undergird why we choose the costumes we wear: fun and fiction. We choose a costume because it would be exciting to be some mythical creature or monster and because we know deep down none of it is real. Crazy enough, this is how racists view the pain of Black lives – as fun and fiction.

Here’s a scary thought – racists actually enjoy being racist. They get some type of…joy out of it.

Let’s do a quick history lesson on lynchings. Did you know that they use to take the place of movie theaters? Seriously. Folks would pass out flyers like movie ads and at the lynching – pass out popcorn and raffles.

I wish I was making this stuff up – Black murder was entertainment…and still is. Dead black people were fun like going to the movies. So when Greg Cimeno, William Filene and Caitlin Cimeno called their costumes fun and hilarious, know that they are serious.

But another part of our costume choices is the idea of fiction. We know that vampires, werewolves and zombies are not real. Unfortunately (and here is the twisted part), racists actually believe that racism isn’t real.

Seriously, have you ever tried to tell a racist that they are in fact – racist? I kid you not to try it. It’s the most warped experience I’ve ever seen. A racist will actually look at you like you’re making it up! That you’re dealing with something personally and that you are the one that needs help.

Talk about a Jedi mind trick…

Believe it or not, there are still white people who believe that racism is not real and that when a Black child dies that it is nothing to grieve about.

Now lets turn the tables: What if I got two of my friends together for a collaborative costume? I would dress up as Osama Bin Laden, and the other two as the Twin Towers with decorative fire and people falling from the buildings.

Or what if I dressed up as Adam Lanza, packed an assault rifle and have my friends dress up as school children?

White folks everywhere would forget about politics and string me up to the closest tree they could find.

The point here is about honoring the dead (which in some cultures is the actual point of Halloween in the first place). White people will go to bat to honor their dead. Memorials, anniversaries, campaigns, etc. At the most, white people will change our very laws to make sure not another white body is murdered again. White pain is real and trust when I say that they will make sure you respect it whether you want to or not.

This is not about white vs black, but being a decent human being. That two white men can make a mockery of a dead child and his killer for Halloween costumes shows that there is something still terribly wrong with how we view and treat other people. It’s flat out wrong. But in light of the story it should also be noted…

…these boys are from Florida.

Check out more Halloween “costumes” that crossed the line.

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