Wednesday, September 19, 2007

OJ Redux

So OJ Simpson is back in trouble with the law, in a story both grotesque and pathetic.

Injustice happens every day. Usually it's rich white guys who get off and black people who suffer at the hands of a vindictive and unbalanced criminal justice system. 5 minutes later nobody gives a damn. A rich black guy gets off and white people can't get over it for what? 15 years? The guy's at least a creep but you know what? Get over it. There are more important criminals out there.

Did OJ get away with murder? I have no idea: I wasn't there and neither were 215 million other white Americans. But listen to a conversation among white people about OJ and all of a sudden it's the crime of the century and proof of some fundamental criminality of black people and their tribal juries. It's grotesque proof that racism is alive, well, and still the key issue in American society.

OJ? Who cares. A full pardon for Assata Shakur. Freedom for Leonard Peltier. Justice for Amadou Diallo.


  1. I think that a lot of the furor over OJ does have to do with race.

    However, we do know that OJ killed his ex-wife and her friend. We know it because we, the television-addicted public, saw a lot more evidence than the jury got to see. And most of us who didn't know whether or not he was guilty when the trial started were slowly but surely convinced of it as the trial progressed.

    And yes, there are likely other rich men who get away with murder all the time and we don't care. Is our apathy due to the whiteness of their skin? Perhaps, but I also think it has to do with the fact that their trials aren't a national obsession.

    The O.J. trial was a national obsession because he was a famous football player and sometime movie star ("Naked Gun," remember?). While I still hear a lot of anger over his acquittal these 15 years later, I think it has as much to do with class as it does with race. Money and fame buy justice for those who can afford it. Those people ain't me.

  2. Hey thanks for the thoughtful comments. It's funny I actually wasn't watching much TV when the Simpson trial was big and I kinda missed all the fuss, or just don't have any emotional connection to it. I just saw a lot of racial polarization and that wasn't so pretty.