Saturday night, George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering teenager Trayvon Martin. Of course, hours later, the internet had something to say about this, and I’m not talking about the heated debates over Twitter and Facebook and countless op-eds grasping both sides of the story. I expected riots, but you know what? I really didn’t expect Trayvon Martin memes.
I know there have been a lot of morbid trends on the internet: pro-anorexia culture on Instagram, Creepshots and probably others I don’t really want to know about. “Trayvnoning”, like many other trends, takes it way too far. A young boy just died, and teenagers from all over the country are taking pictures of themselves pretending to be that dead teenage boy.
Images can be found all over the web; mostly (white) boys dressed in hoodies pose sprawled on the ground loosely clutching an Arizona iced-tea and Skittles bag. I hope this terrible movement goes away as fast as it started. According to the Daily Mail, this sick joke between teenagers is a result of MSNBC and HLN actually showing the picture of Trayvon Martin after he was shot just before it was sent to the jury. Definitely a mistake on their part.
This just isn’t funny. Like, am I missing some key element of this gross trend? What is so funny about a kid pretending to be a teen who has just been shot? Whether you support the court’s decision or not, mocking the life of a human being is inappropriate, crass, and simply not cool.
Our culture is so deeply rooted in violence, that we take any opportunity to expose a crime and essentially put our own spin to it because it’s “entertainment”. We make movies out of famous trials, book deals are made with criminals and victims, and half of our television shows are about killing people. In a sense, we have always idolized violence and crime.
But for right now, it’s time to stop. Trayvon was just a kid. I don’t care if he was considered problematic by some, I don’t care if he attacked Zimmerman, right now I’m even going to forget about the political agenda that was in place during the trial; the point is that a teenager senselessly died, and all of this could have easily been avoided. If the message these teenage boys are sending has to do with the contempt and disregard for Trayvon, then they are missing the point of this entire tragedy. This is not the time to be making fun of a dead teen. In fact, it’s never the time. An internet meme is meant to be funny; this one is just incredibly sad.