Jade Curson (like many of us) tries not to eat her own fist over the upcoming George Zimmerman vs DMX boxing match.
NOTE: the match has now been cancelled amidst widespread fury from the entire human population.
I’m afraid of Americans. I’m afraid of their non-existent standard of gun control, I’m afraid of their police, and I’m afraid of their questionable-at-best methods of retribution (“no one has the right to a pain-free execution”?! Christ on a fucking bike, Ohio judicial system). And now I’m afraid of the implications of upcoming “celebrity” boxing match between rapper/actor Dark Man X and acquitted child-killer George Zimmerman. Stop and read that sentence again. Let the full implication of that really sink in. Killing a teenager in the street is now an acceptable springboard for fame. That’s it, I’m done, world. And if you feel anything other than disgust and horror that this is a real thing that’s happening next month, I’m done with you too. Here’s why:
ICYMI, George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder after shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year. There was a lot of controversy around the acquittal, and there is a consensus amongst many people that the odds were heavily and unfairly stacked in old Zimmo’s favour; Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law states that you are perfectly entitled to use lethal force against someone if in self-defence, rather than be inconvenienced by the “duty of retreat” condition that was previously in place. Makes sense right? Some guy hassles you, maybe starts to get violent. Why move away from a public place you’re entitled to be in when you have the legal right to just shoot them in the head? (To try and end the confrontation without anyone being killed, you say? I don’t think so, sir. This is AMERICA.)
Some people, far more prone to scepticism than I, might argue that a law of this kind lends itself to abuse, making it relatively easy, say, for a member of a neighbourhood watch with a gun and a misplaced sense of authority to murder an unarmed black teenager, on the grounds he looks “a bit suspicious”, and get away with it by working the deeply ingrained institutional racism operating within the judicial system. Some people might suggest that. I am in no way qualified to offer my own opinion on what happened, because I don’t know enough about the details of the trial and, obviously, I wasn’t there. But whether you believe it was self-defence or not, if you think the publicity Zimmerman has garnered from the trial is sound in terms of basic human decency, I seriously question your moral compass.
The fight is due to take place on 1st March, and I’ve observed a number of people gushing about how good it’s going to be. These people come from two camps: Team Zimmerman Is Innocent, and Team Zimmerman’s A Bad Man But Omg It’ll Be Great To See DMX Beat The Living Shit Out Of Him (I wouldn’t recommend getting t-shirts printed, you lot). There’s been some friction between these camps but fear not, weary internet warriors! I am here to explain why you’re BOTH wrong. You’re welcome.
I’ll address you together on this one, because my basic counter-argument is the same for anyone eagerly anticipating this fight, for whatever reason: it is abhorrent to use killing someone as a platform to achieve fame and money. It’s disgusting. I can’t believe I live in a world where I even have to be writing that out. Zimmerman may well be innocent of murder, but there’s no dispute about whether he actually shot and killed Martin. Yeah? Self-defence does not negate the fact that he killed a 17 year-old boy. That’s out there, that HAPPENED. Now, call me crazy here, but I would have thought that taking a life would have some sort of mental ramifications. Even in a me-or-him situation, you couldn’t just pick yourself up and carry on like nothing happened. So it seems a bit strange to me that Zimmerman has actively chosen to draw attention to what he did by throwing himself into the spotlight like this. And specifically choosing an arena of violent confrontation to do so? These are not the actions of a man with any remorse for taking a life.
If you’re one of the people who wants to see Zimmerman beaten into a bloody squishy mess for what he did, your idea of social justice is bizarre and unpleasant. You watch that match, you’re still lining his pockets. He doesn’t give a shit why you’re watching it, because you’re still watching it. And here’s a secret, lean in close: letting DMX piss in Zimmerman’s face (or whatever) is not going to avenge Trayvon Martin’s death. Still, all this publicity must be great for Martin’s friends and family. I can’t imagine anything better than seeing the face of a loved one’s killer splashed around in newspapers and television and social networks as promotion for his new and illustrious (probably) career. Let’s hear it for media sensitivity!
Dress it up any way you want, but watching this fight makes a powerful and damaging statement: “the lives of young black men are less important to me than my right to engage in ghoulish voyeurism”. Let’s not be those people. Let’s recognise when we’re being conditioned to condone something that is objectively and empirically abominable and act on it, by refusing to give Zimmerman the oxygen of publicity he so desperately (and inexplicably) wants.
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