Trayvon Martin's death is a tragedy and outrage to several individuals across the nation.

Whenever tragedy strikes, many turn to the Internet to spread awareness or pass around petitions, calling for change and justice.

Undisputedly, the Internet led to widespread knowledge and recognition of Martin's death and Zimmerman's arrest and upcoming trial.

But many also use it to spread humor as much as publicity, creating and posting memes on each other's Facebook walls or their own profiles.

Images of hooded persons, lying on floors with tea cans or Skittles litter the Internet.

Older generations see a shift in memes from hilarious to macabre, while younger generations see an increase in awareness, best prompted by images that provoke a reaction – strong, memorable and personal.

Are the memes re-enacting Martin's death an indulgence in dark humor or possibly, a new form of camaraderie and a way to raise awareness?

We feel that while the circumstances of Martin's death are horrifying, memes can create promote activism — if not also fostering remembrance of controversial issues.

The medium in this particular instance, the meme, grabs the attention of several viewers, even though some of the images are disturbing in their unusual cross of humor and tragedy.

Delving deeper into Martin's situation, the "Trayvoning" memes have not received as many views as others on Facebook, reflecting that viewers see them as disturbing rather than funny.

Once Osama Bin Laden was found dead, several memes populated the Internet celebrating the removal of a notorious terrorist.

There is a difference between the two, the most obvious lying in who and how one dies.

In Martin's instance, popular opinion, counted by those who signed petitions calling for Zimmerman's arrest, saw the incident as a murder committed with racist motivations rather than self-defense.

Looking at memes formed after Bin Laden's death, popular opinion, at least in the United States, viewed his death as a relief rather than a tragedy. Those memes allowed his pictures to be considered "hilarious."

Yet the ones simulating Martin's death, not so much.

— Nat Fort is the variety editor for The Red & Black

(2) comments

theatregrad
theatregrad

"Trayvon Martin's death is a tragedy and outrage to several individuals across the nation." [huh] several, like 4 or 5? Your opening sentence is a bit of an understatement, no?

StevenTyler2020
StevenTyler2020

"Trayvon Martin's death is a tragedy and outrage to several individuals across the nation."

Come on, R&B. Where is the EIC or ME on this? Several individuals?

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