George Zimmerman, the notorious killer of innocent Black teenager Trayvon Martin, has signed on to a celebrity boxing match. Zimmerman said that all are welcome, “even Black people.” It looks like rapper The Game is the leading contender. But DMX also threw his hat in the ring, saying that if he were to box with the killer, he’d “break every rule in boxing.” Essentially, it would be less of a boxing match, and more of a beat down.
And today, Zimmerman announced that he welcomes a match up with Kanye West, causing even more hysteria. Apparently, Zimmerman isn’t too thrilled about Yeezus assaulting “defenseless” people; odd considering that his sole claim to infamy is him murdering a guiltless Black teen in cold blood.
All proceeds of the match will go to charity, but the social capital and promotional leverage that Zimmerman stands to gain is disconcerting.
Following his controversial acquittal, George Zimmerman has failed to stay out of the limelight. It began with speeding in Texas, where he was traveling with a gun. He got off with a warning. Then, his wife, Shellie Zimmerman, divorced him, citing that their marriage was strained due to the highly publicized trial. Then Zimmerman was splashed across headlines yet again after a startling domestic violence charge against his new girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe. She alleged that he choked her, and then pointed a shotgun in her face. Zimmerman too called police, with a chilling calm in his voice. Many expected Zimmerman to finally face justice, but Scheibe dropped the charges, stating that she was “intimidated” by police, and may have “misspoke.”
The world moved on, and then, Zimmerman floated back into our gritty consciousness when he sold a painting on eBay for more than $100,000. The winner remains anonymous, but it’s not crazy to speculate that the bidder probably donated to Zimmerman’s obscene legal fund.
Zimmerman also toured gun shops, taking pictures at the same gun manufacturer that was used to kill Trayvon.
And now this. A high-profile celebrity boxing match.
What’s next? A reality show? Well it doesn’t seem entirely unlikely. Zimmerman has been thumbing his nose at society since his acquittal, and desperate for steady income, Zimmerman may be prepping for his own series.
Not to say these antics are pre-planned or are indicative of any cohesive marketing strategy, but the disparate parts do make a compelling narrative that is best served in the reality TV medium.
Which petrifies me.
Society has already rewarded Zimmerman for his services against the Black community. His cult-like following view him as a martyr for a destructive cause. Of course, they hide behind terminology like “gun rights” and “self-defense,” but the interpretative truth is that Zimmerman is a rebuke to racial progress in the United States. His defense team successfully embellished Trayvon into a terrorizing effigy that plays on our innate fears about young Black men in America.
The trial is long over, but Zimmerman continues to reap benefits solely out of spite. His fans uplift him as way to undermine racial justice. Following President Obama’s historic presidential election, racism has risen to alarming levels. An increase in radical neo-Nazi groups are fueled by right-ring commentary. Fringe political minorities, like the Tea Party, master structural racism through comprehensive bureaucratic measures which work to further isolate and subjugate the poor and people of color. These people are terrified by a new reality; that unchecked white supremacy is diminishing as the electorate becomes more diverse and educated. Zimmerman is a potent excuse to allay their fears. He is a symbol of nostalgia; a reminder of a racist past in which criminal justice encourages murder.
Zimmerman knows that he attracts attention. This celebrity boxing match is the first strategic stunt in his quest for unrivaled notoriety. The match, which is scheduled for March, will undoubtedly be viewed by millions.
Some in the Black community are elated to see Zimmerman get street justice. When the story first broke, I was one of those people. Tired by his manipulative tactics in evading justice, I wanted him to suffer. I wanted to assuage the anger that I still abhor for him. I wanted revenge.
But with greater introspection, I recognized that his publicity ploy will only add to his disturbingly lengthy resume of catchy headlines. That he would only foster even more celebrity status amongst his followers.
Followers that would not hesitate to tune in to True Life: I Got Away With Murder.