It seems we are not going to be given the opportunity to move on and let the O.J. Simpson saga dissipate. I wonder if America’s fascination with this case serves as a reminder of how racially divided we are as a nation.
Prominent and immensely wealthy celebrities are constantly tried and found innocent, although through the eyes of the public the evidence many times overwhelmingly indicated that they were guilty. Like it or not, when questionable celebrities are exonerated, the majority of the public accepts the verdict and the accused go on with their lives—maybe looked upon with heavy eyes by some, but not verbally scorned and berated publically.
However the Simpson case brings with it a different twist when you have a Black man who is found innocent of murdering his ex-wife Nicole and her friend, Ron Goldman, who both incidentally happened to be White. Historically, Whites have blatantly murdered Blacks with overwhelming and undisputable incriminating evidence and been found not guilty in our courts of law. Too often the dubious verdicts are readily acceptable by many of our White counterparts without debate. It comes across as if Black lives, for the most part, are trivial and irrelevant. Blacks have no choice but to live with the findings of all White juries.
The case of Orenthal James Simpson, alias the ‘Juice’ or ‘O.J.,’ an all American beloved ex-football running back, celebrity, actor, broadcaster, and spokesperson for many products, may be considered a pivotal turning point in racial tensions in America. He was alleged to have murdered his ex-wife and her male friend (both White)—an inconceivable crime for anyone, especially a Black man. In one of the most contentious and broadcasted trials of the century, Simpson was found not guilty. What made this case so divisive is that White America, for the most part, wanted Simpson to be found guilty and given the death penalty, while Black America basically wanted him to be found innocent.
Black America saw his verdict of not guilty as redemption or retribution for the countless number of innocent Blacks maliciously accused, put on trial and found guilty of frivolous crimes against their White peers. The not guilty verdict was celebrated and considered poetic justice by most Blacks, regardless of whether they felt he was guilty or not.
The inability for White America to accept the decision by the parole board, releasing O.J. after nine years of imprisonment is not only an indictment on O.J. but on the judicial system. Belief what you want but manifesting hate and verbal abuse toward O.J. won’t solve anything. If one truly wants to vent, put that energy into trying to legally change a judicial system that all too often punishes innocent people and rewards criminals. Our judicial system is undoubtedly flawed and the problems so many of us experience lie within.
We must realize there was pain generated on both sides, regarding the O.J. ordeal. Pain was evident with the murdered victims’ families and loved ones—and pain from generations of Blacks who have seen their loved ones indicted on trumped up charges and falsely found guilty by all White juries. Innocent loved ones that were incarcerated and sentenced to life imprisonment or death appeared to be the norm for members in many Black families.
The O.J. Simpson saga, unfortunately, is a reminder that we can’t hide, dilute or erase the racial tension we once attempted to mask. Black America wants it to be known that our pain and feelings are real, while many in White America seem to want us to know that we should stay in our place and that White lives rule.
Maybe when we look at the O.J. saga, we should be reminded that seeking justice should be paramount regardless of ones race, sex, religion, or social status. The O.J. saga should be a reminder of whether you think this judicial system works, or needs to be overhauled. Don’t spend time demonizing those whom you feel manipulated the system. Fault the system that allows gross injustices to prevail.