When O.J. Simpson was on trial for the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman in 1995, I was only a child. As a matter of fact, I was so young that I didn’t understand what he’d actually been accused of. To be honest, I didn’t even know who O.J. Simpson was, especially considering I wasn’t into professional sports at all. The only thing that made sense to me was that I had to pray for a black man to be found innocent–of what I wasn’t sure. Still, I remember the day of the trial as if it were yesterday.
My teacher was a white woman, and all of my classmates were black. We were in the school’s cafeteria, along with several other classes watching the trial on the big screen. I remember studying the television, waiting to hear the only words that made sense to me at the time: not guilty. When the juror recited those words, all of the black students, including myself, and teachers exited our chairs, screaming and shouting with joy. The white teachers were silent, displaying utter disappointment on their faces.
It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that the O.J. Simpson trial was about much more than two murders. Race played more of a role in the trial than the actual murder allegations themselves. A black man murdering a white woman and man, and a predominantly white police department (LAPD) targeting and framing a black man (O.J.)–something the LAPD had been notorious for in the black community for many years prior to the O.J. trial.
However today, after watching The People v. OJ Simpson, it is neither the murders nor the racial disparities that the LAPD displayed towards people of color that really stood out to me. Instead, the revelation of just how far O.J. Simpson had turned his back to the black community became more appalling than the police brutality and racial injustices brought forth in the case.
The People v. O.J. Simpson made O.J. appear to be a weak and arrogant black man that aimed to garner the approval of the white community. O.J. had done everything in his will to appease and blend in with white society at the expense of his own roots. He moved into an all white neighborhood, acquired all white friends, participated in all white activities, and even married a white woman. It became obvious that O.J. was desperately attempting to escape any and everything that was black about him.
To be honest, this realization was disconcerting to me, but I still hadn’t personally persecuted O.J. just yet. It wasn’t until he expressed his displeasure with and unwillingness to allow a “black man” on board the “dream team” that I became completely disgusted with O.J. It was at this moment that I realized just how much of a sellout he actually was.
When Robert Shapiro proposed to hire Johnnie Cochran to be a “black face” for the O.J. defense, O.J was completely against it. He didn’t want his “blackness” to be a driving force in his defense, despite the fact that everyone, except O.J., knew that it was. He was so alienated from his “blackness” that he’d even proclaimed, “I’m not a black man. I am O.J.” And I’m still trying to figure out what that even means.
But what’s more, during the trial, Shapiro–the same attorney whom O.J had so much faith in and such a profound “rapport” with–was completely unwilling to give an unbiased fight in O.J’s defense. Instead it was apparent that Shapiro really didn’t have any intentions to take the case to trial, but instead plea O.J. straight to prison. And bizarrely, Shapiro even tried to simultaneously “defend” O.J. while still remain in the LAPD’s good grace. It was the most unethical, yet pathetic set of events to witness a defense attorney partake in. Still, O.J kept him on board and sought his counsel as an attorney and a friend.
And let’s not forget the way that Robert Kardashian appeared in The People v. O.J. Simpson. Just like O.J., Kardashian also appeared very weak, and considering he was supposedly O.J’s most loyal confidant and best friend, he certainly did his share of oscillating from O.J’s innocence to guilt, depending on which way the wind blew. The entire relationship was really eccentric, but more so pathetic.
Ironically, in the end it was those same people that O.J. aimed so desperately to separate himself from that garnered his acquittal. If it weren’t for Johnnie Cochran and the predominantly black jury, O.J. would have been then where his fate ultimately landed him: in prison.
Nevertheless, as an adult I am still just as excited about the outcome of the trial as I was as a child, but not because a black man was found “not guilty.” Instead, I am proud to have witnessed the unity that the decision brought forth within the black community and the justice that black people feel they’d acquired as a result of it.
You can also contribute to Racism In America by shopping on Amazon using our Amazon links. We will receive a commission from your purchases. So use this link to shop on Amazon.
Additionally, by purchasing any or all of the books below to read when you’re not fighting against racism. The books were written and self-published by the authors of Racism In America, so please show your support to them. Thank you in advance!
Keep in mind by clicking on any of the ads in the articles or on the site, you are contributing to our cause.
Finally, don’t hesitate to join the internet’s only online forum that REFUSES to be intimidated and silenced by America’s wealth of hate, oppression, and injustice. Subscribe