A picture of two young guys and a female has gone viral and caused outrage around the World Wide Web. Why? The image features one man as a black faced representative of Trayvon Martin, as a Halloween 2013 joke.
Trayvon Martin was shot dead by George Zimmerman in February 2012 in Florida. Few people in the west will not know at least some of the story and Trayvon's name.
There was never any doubt that George shot and killed unarmed teenager Trayvon. The subsequent furor featured many questions though.
Why was George Zimmerman not immediately questioned and arrested by police? Why did it take the President of the USA to speak out before action was taken? How come George was freed? Does the case mean that in Florida you can shoot and kill a person and, as long as you claim that you were standing your ground, and felt under threat, you will receive nothing more than a slap on the wrist?.
Of course, it will help is the victim is black and the shooter white, or as in the case of Zimmerman a pale skinned Hispanic.
You may choose to believe that all of this has little to do with a black-face Trayvon for Halloween.
Certainly in the 21st Century we are complex. In some ways we are easily offended and in other ways we offend others easily and do not give a damn.
It is not that long ago a band of singers in the UK donned black make-up to perform as the Black and White Minstrels. All performers were white skinned but made up in traditional minstrel make-up. Black faces and large white lips -- offensive at the very least.
Times change and that is no longer acceptable.
But this story is about more than sporting a fake black face but rather about disrespecting the memory of a young man murdered in cold-blood.
Halloween is a recent event for celebration in the UK. It has always existed but until recent years it attracted little attention. Americans have long enjoyed playing the fool and dressing up for Halloween. Part of the ritual is donning wacky Halloween costumes.
If a Halloween face represents a fairly recently murdered teenager is that so wrong?
You bet it is.
If you need to ask then maybe you are part of the problem or a lost cause.
HINTV reports: In the controversial photo, the man on the left is wearing a gray hoodie stained with fake blood and what appears to be a black mask or black face paint. The man on the right is wearing a shirt that bears the words "Neighborhood Watch," and his fingers -- simulating a gun shape -- are pointed at the first man's head. The photo, posted by the woman standing between them, was shared on Facebook and Instagram on Saturday with the caption, "Happy Halloween from Zimmerman and trayvon :)"
They opt not to name the individuals.
The image was soon pounced on and has appeared on various reporting sites with many opinions expressed. The majority appear to be that it was a step too far.
However looking at the comments beneath the post it is sad to see that some people have missed the point.
"Xiao-Hong Yang · Top Commenter If people today were any more thin skinned, they'd have a resovoir tip.
Tshecomah Eugene Fisher · Top Commenter · CEO & Founder at Rockstar Games Exactly! The native community is pissed about that. But, do you hear about it? Does Johnny Depp have to make a public apology?"
Here is my take.
It is racist and offensive because the "joke" centres around a young black man unlawfully killed. It includes his killer. The events are in recent memory. The family and loved ones of Trayvon are still hurting.
Florida continues to send signals to the world that it is a backward, racist state. Floridians may not like that statement but that is how they are being viewed around the world. A state hung up on a black President winning the election.
Would the perpetrators of this Halloween joke be comfortable dressing up as a few of the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary almost a year ago?
We all know what the answer to that one should be.
n that case why is it acceptable to deride a murder victim who is hardly cold in his grave?
As you sow you often reap and the three people involved in this story have found their lives under the microscope:
"The outrage sparked by the Martin-Zimmerman costumes has inspired acts of retribution. Posters on several websites have dug in to the identities of the three people in the picture and posted personal information about them, including their phone numbers, arrest records and past activity on social media. Since the photo gained attention, the three individuals in question have made their Facebook accounts private and the picture itself appears to be scrubbed from their profiles".
One word springs to mind -- Good.