O.J. was once their darlingâ€”promoted by white media, advertising industry and public relations, when he entertained white fans on the football field and later did the Hertz commercials. He was an honorary white—then came those murders and his honorary white status was revoked
(The day white America gave O.J. back to Blacks…)
Truth is often stranger than fiction.Â
In America, that maxim often takes on a grotesque nature. The latest chapter in the O.J. saga is just that.
At the center of the latest furor is a new book entitled â€œIf I did it.â€? The book apparently theorizes the possible manner in which O.J. would have killed Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, if he actually had. The reported author? None other than O.J himself.
As you can imagine, white America is again up in arms against the â€œButcher of Brentwoodâ€? as he has been called. He was once their darlingâ€”promoted by white media, advertising industry and public relations, when he entertained white fans on the football field and later did the Hertz commercials. He was an honorary white—then came those murders. To make it clear his honorary white status was revoked, in that famous cover, Time magazine darkened his complexion.
Today, there is a great hue and cry about how O.J., not only got away with murder years ago, but also that he is now trying to cash in on his crime. Many now declare that this is proof certain that O.J., despite his denials and his acquittal on trial, committed double murder in 1994. The argument is that why would he debase himself by writing such a thing if he wasnâ€™t guilty?
O.J. was acquitted on his criminal trial but found liable in the civil trial. In a civil trial, the bar of evidence is much lower. In a criminal trial the standard is â€œbeyond a reasonable doubt,â€? while in a civil case it is based on â€œa preponderanceâ€? of the evidence. These two distinctions have always seemed ridiculous to me.Â So, heâ€™s â€œnot guiltyâ€? but still â€œguilty.â€?Â It is reported that O.J. has not paid any of the $33.5 million that he was found liable for.
O.J. is no Black hero–far from it. His actions before and after his acquittal proves it. Many white people misread the celebration following his acquittal as a cheer for O.J., the man; far from it. To many African Americans, the hypocrisy of the justice system, which had sent many innocent African Americans to their deaths, had been exposed.
Yet, this latest charade is a calculated bid to cash in on Americaâ€™s obsession with the O.J. phenomena. Judith Regan the bookâ€™s publisherâ€”and former girlfriend of crooked former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerikâ€”said that she intended this to be a sort of â€œconfessionâ€? by O.J. and to comfort the countless women victims of spousal abuse.Â Pure bull. What she intended to do is cash in on the obsession. Is the book going to be handed out free?
What is it about O.J. that so enrages white America?Â Was his crime, indeed, the greatest miscarriage of injustice in the annals of American history? For centuries, genocidal miscarriages of justice have been carried out in the name of white America and have been readily accepted. We are fed up of selective outrage.
Ever since Africans were forced upon these shores, our people have been brutalized and oppressed to create the fantastic wealth and prosperity we see in America today. Many will no doubt squawk at my pointing this out. There they go again, always talking about slavery. Most whites pretend that the so-called Emancipation Proclamation brought with it freedom and access for African Americans.
What white America never wants to admit is that African Americans went through a period of systematic mass murder in the post-slavery-lynching era. Untold, thousands of our people were slaughtered in the most barbaric manner. Itâ€™s not just about the community lynchingâ€”which often took on a picnic-like affairâ€”but itâ€™s also the mutilations and burnings.
Remember the destruction of thriving Black towns like Rosewood in Florida and â€œBlack Wall Streetâ€? in Tulsa Oklahoma?
Jim Crow barbarity continued into the fifties with the murder of 15-year-old Emmet Till for â€œwhistlingâ€? at a white woman. Protecting white â€œwomanhoodâ€? was a frequent excuse used for lynching Black men, as popularized in the racist xenophobic movie â€œBirth of A Nation.â€? It also resulted in the bombing of the Fifteenth Street Baptist Church, which killed those four young Black girls in the South.
In our own time, we have seen the murders of Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, Timothy Stansbury and many othersâ€”where is the outrage? In fact, Amadouâ€™s executioners, who fired at the unarmed man more than 40 bullets and shot him with 21, were all acquitted and are today earning a living comfortably. Where is the outrage against those killers?
Some time ago, I wondered to myself why white America refuses to let go of O.J. Then I realized the true scope of the ugly racism and guilt that O.J. represents. First, there is the sexual angle. Here was a Black man that slept with the blond symbol of pure white womanhood, who later â€œmurderedâ€? her, and yet was not lynched.
For centuries, white men have had a paranoid fear of Black men having sex with white women. The Scottsboro Boys Trial is instructive. If those two white prostitutes behind the accusations had been Black, would white America have looked twice at that case? Moreover, the travails of the great and first Black heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Johnson â€“hounded and exiled because of relations he had with white women, many of whom he even set up with businesses of their ownâ€”exposed white Americaâ€™s not so secret fear of Black sexuality.
But there is something else behind white Americaâ€™s obsession with O.J: He allows white people to release some of their wretched guilt regarding race matters. Ironically, O.J., in this sense, is held as proof that racism no longer exists. After all, if it did, how would a Black man get away with the murders of two whites? So, while white America â€œdespisesâ€? O.J. on one level, he is also held as proof certain that Americaâ€™s racial playing field has been leveled. We all know better.
The writer is a member of The Black Star News’ editorial board and can be reached at [email protected]
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