Trayvon Martin. Most Americans know his name and the story of his death. But, now his name is strangely associated with Halloween. Apparently, some persons think that it is acceptable to dress like a dead child and in blackface, no less. I cannot even begin to describe the callousness of those who think it good fun to mock the tragic death of another and to suggest that one can represent a socially colored black person by painting their face black.
Rants on social media simply don’t cut it and a law can’t fix this. Another conference will not make sense of it. This is a matter for the heart and it is at the core of our humanity. We must reconcile these truths, these choices to deeply offend.
And I don’t want to hear, “It wasn’t me.” Or, “This was their poor decision. We can’t blame everyone.” No, I do blame all of us. What have we done or left unsaid if this is a choice? What are we really afraid of? And why does the taking of this child’s life not invoke fear in all of us?
And I don’t want to hear that Halloween has passed, that it’s old news now, that the matter is finished because the Facebook account has been closed and he has changed his profile picture. This does not mean that the work is finished– because we don’t see it any more. No.
And don’t let the fact that Trayvon Martin died three years ago imply that what happened to him is in the past. Clearly, it is not; his life and his death now made present in the form of a costume.
Raven McGill offers words for us to reflect on at a National Poetry Slam.