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The Dahmer Effect

Cw: Mentions of Murder,Cannibalism and sexual assault

Now that Halloween has come and gone it’s time to talk about who wore it worst?

I’m not talking about cheesy couples costumes or dressing up your pets here. Not only do we have to deal with seeing all of the culturally inappropriate “costumes” now we have to deal with this:

If you don’t get the reference this child is dressed up as Jeffrey Dahmer, an American serial killer and sex offender who occasionally ate his victims. Yup, you read that right. Someone thought it was ok to dress their kid up as a murderer who killed,sexually assaulted and ate over 17 men and boys.

Now, as someone who is fascinated by the human mind I’ll often dive into a good documentary or two that investigates the life of these notorious serial killers, so when I saw they were making this show “ Dahmer. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” I was intrigued. I got about 15 minutes into the show before I quickly realized where this story was headed. I had heard of Jeffrey Dahmer before but didn’t quite know all of the facts about who his victims were or how he chose them and “spoiler alert” the majority of the people he killed were gay, black and Hispanic men during a time when a lot of people from those communities were going missing or dying from aids and HIV, which some say made it easier for him to get away with and if you know the story some of you would agree too.

Here’s the problem, in my opinion, with why making a show versus a documentary can sometimes be irresponsible. I’m an extremely white representing black woman who’s light skinned privilege was really showing when I tried to justify watching the show with the words” I never would’ve known the whole story if I hadn’t watched this show”. While it is true that I only learned the impact systematic racism and homophobia played in this story by watching the show, it glamorized and dehumanized a tragic situation experienced by real life people. So much so to the point that memes were(and still are) going around making jokes about everything from hockey to photography. Everyone seems to miss the fact that this isn’t just another Netflix story. There were real people who were targeted and murdered. There are real families and friends who lost their loved ones to the hands of this person and as if losing their loved ones wasn’t enough they now need to see little children running around dressed up as this monster like it is some kind of joke. The outfit was methodically put together right down to the foot and hand that were painted black and thrown into a bucket.

I’m going to go ahead and assume that the parent who chose to dress their child up as a real life serial killer, didn’t think about how problematic and I’ll say it RACIST this outfit was. I’d also like to assume that once this photo went viral, the parent took some time to think long and hard about the choice they made and how much harm that choice caused but it’s 2022 and we still see people wearing “costumes” that are culturally inappropriate, sexualizing certain race groups , oh and let’s not forget black face is still happening on a continual basis.

So, I guess I’ll just hold out hope for next year and maybe the only thing we have to worry about is our kids breaking a tooth on that piece of candy that you just know was from 5 years ago.

Yours truly,

The Undercover White Girl

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