Wednesday, August 09, 2017

OJ Simpson's Legacy.

One of the most debated topics involving American history has been about OJ. To this very day, people discuss about his life. His story, as others have mentioned, is an American story. His life proves that many believe in the delusion that wealth equals happiness and just because some may allow you to have massive material items doesn’t mean that these same people respect you as an equal. OJ Simpson has self-hatred and this is shown by his erratic actions, his total downplaying of his Blackness, and his unresolved insecurities. He knew the truth about racism and the system of oppression, but he made a conscious decision to ignore the important issues of our community. One example is in 1969. OJ told NY Times journalist Robert Lipstye a story. He was in Joe Namath’s bar called Bachelors III in New York. He was in a table of mostly black people. “He overheard a white woman at the next table saying, ‘Look, there’s O.J. sitting with all those n____s,’” Lipsyte told ESPN.  “I remember in my naiveté, saying to O.J., ‘Gee, wow, that must have been terrible for you.’ And he said, ‘No, it was great. Don’t you understand? She knew that I wasn’t black. She saw me as O.J.’” Former SWAT Officer Pete Weireter, who recalls Simpson asking, “What are all these n___s doing in Brentwood?” after his famous car chase on June 17, 1994. There are other stories like this which showed OJ Simpson’s sad, disturbing internal self-hatred. In a paradoxically way, OJ Simpson is a representation of the racism, contradictions, and the total anti-black nature of the capitalist Western system. To begin, OJ Simpson was born in San Francisco, California in 1947. He was raised in the housing projects of Potero Hill in San Francisco. He was raised by his mother. His mentor Willie Mays (who is one of the greatest baseball players in history) saved his life from the situations in low income areas. He started to play football. He played in USC in college and played for the Buffalo Bills by 1969. He was one of the greatest players in football history. He went to the NFL Pro Bowl 5 Times (from 1972 to 1976). He won MVP in 1973. He was the rushing leader 4 times and was the rushing touchdown leader 2 times. He was the fastest player to get 2,000 rushing yards in one season. OJ was acceptable to many.

His first wife was a gorgeous black woman whose name is Marguerite L. Whitley. With a black wife and children, it wasn’t enough for OJ. So, he started to make the great mistake of using adultery against his first kindhearted wife. OJ Simpson dated Nicole Brown in 1977 (while OJ was married to Marguerite). She or Nicole was a waitress in a nightclub called Daisy. Adultery is always wrong and evil. Then, the divorce happened in 1979. He married Nicole Brown in February 2, 1985. By that time, he retired from football. He was in commercials, he was in movies (including TV shows), and he thought psychologically that he was immune from the system of white racism. He internalized a lot of naiveté and ignored the truth that black people in this country are scrutinized heavily and targeted by the capitalist order for exploitation. OJ Simpson didn’t just do adultery. He committed domestic violence against Nicole Brown on multiple occasions, which is wrong too. His life would change forever in 1994. On June 13, 1994, the bodies of Nichole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman were found outside of Simpson’s Brentwood townhouse. Their bodies were very bloody. 3 days later, OJ Simpson was on a car chase with the police. His former USC teammate Al Cowlings was with him in the vehicle. According to Al Cowlings, he talked OJ Simpson out of committing suicide. The car chase was televised internationally. After the chase, OJ Simpson was arrested at his mansion and OJ was charged with the murder of his ex-wife including her friend. The country back then was in shock over a previously beloved person (especially beloved by many in white America) found accused of murder. OJ Simpson would plead not guilty to all charges on June 20, 1994. The hearing came about in June 1994. The judge, who presided over the case, was Judge Lance A. Ito. Simpson's preliminary hearing was held.

Prosecutors wouldn't seek the death penalty against OJ as they said in September 9, 1994. They wanted him to be in prison for life without parole. More than 200 prospective jurors reported for duty as the trial of OJ. Simpson started in late September 1994. The jury was made of mostly black men and black women. Ultimately, the jury was made up of 9 black people, 2 whites people, and one Hispanic person. They are sworn as jurors on November 3, 1994. They are sequestered in a secret location by January 9, 1995. The trial is televised worldwide. Much of the coverage is shown every single day on various networks or channels. The leading prosecutors in the case were Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden. On January 24, 1995, the prosecution presents the argument that since OJ couldn’t control Nicole Brown Simpson, he murdered her and her friend out of malice and jealousy. The prosecution also said that DNA analysis has shown Simpson's blood at the scene of the crime, then OJ Simpson is guilty. Much of the evidence that the prosecution has shown to the jurors like the — bloody glove, bloody socks, blood in and on the Bronco — was discovered by Los Angeles Police Detective Mark Fuhrman. The bloody shoe prints at the crime scene were identified by FBI shoe expert William Bodziak as having been made by a pair of extremely rare and expensive Bruno Magli shoes; only 29 pairs of this style were sold in the United States. The large size 12 (305 mm) prints matched Simpson's shoe size. OJ soon released his book in 1995 called “I Want to Tell You.” The Defense team is led by Defense attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Many labeled the defense team as the dream team which included very popular lawyers like F. Lee Bailey, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Kardashian, Shawn Holley, Carl E. Douglas, and Gerald Uelmen. Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld were two additional attorneys who specialized in DNA evidence. Johnny Cochran said that the DNA evidence is corrupted and issued other words in his opening statement that makes him believe that OJ Simpson is innocent (on January 30, 1995). Two attorneys specializing in DNA evidence, Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, were hired to attempt to discredit the prosecution's DNA evidence. Cochran and the defense team also said that misconduct by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is related to systemic racism. Many LAPD people came on the witness stand like Officer Robert Riske of the LAPD. He said that he picked up Nicole’s phone without glove and without dusting it for fingerprints. By February, the jurors, Judge Ito and attorney visited the Simpson Rockingham Avenue home, the crime scene, and other locations. The prosecution lost the case in part because of Mark Fuhrman. Fuhrman was a gift to the defense team. Fuhrman was a LAPD Detective. He was cross examined by attorney F. Lee Bailey. He or Fuhrman lied and denied making racist comments and dismissed the suggestion that he messed with evidence involving the murder investigation of OJ Simpson. He committed perjury and new tapes have shown him making racist remarks. On March 21, 1995, Brian “Kato” Kaelin took the stand about the hours before the stabbings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman. LAPD criminalist Dennis Fund admitted under oath that errors were made at the crime scene on April 4, 1995. DNA evidence is researched and told by Cellmark Diagnostics lab director Robin Cotton. By early June of 1995, jurors saw the autopsy photographs of the 2 victims. On June 15, 1995, OJ Simpson tries on the gloves. He said that they are too tight. On July, the prosecution via Marcia Clark said that the people rest. Then, the defense used its argument. Arnelle Simpson (or the daughter of OJ Simpson) testified on her father’s behalf in the trial. Arnelle supports her father completely. The defense shows blood samples that they claim that the prosecution didn’t show. Later, on August 1995, it is revealed by Screenwriter Laura Hart Mckinny that Mark Fuhrman used racial slurs and gloated about police brutality (as found on tape). In September 1995, Mark Fuhrman pleaded the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination after asked by defense lawyers who charged that he framed OJ Simpson. He refused to answer the questions but cited the 5th Amendment.

Judge Ito ordered the prosecution to begin its rebuttal even though the defense hasn’t rested yet on September 12, 1995. Both sides rest their cases in September 22, 1995. Prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden delivered their final arguments on September 27, 1995. Defense attorneys Johnnie Cochran Jr. and Barry Scheck deliver the closing argument. “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” Cochran told the jury. Marcia Clark released 911 tapes of Nicole Simpson calling for help because of domestic violence abuse on 1989 and on 1993. On October 3, 1995, the verdict is read. OJ Simpson is found by the jury to be not guilty. I was in the 7th grade in my classroom when the verdict was read. The classroom had used the television to allow the entire classroom to witness the verdict of the trial. Many black people in America cheered and many white people were shocked by the verdict. It showed the racial disagreements on the same issues that continue to this very day. It represented how controversial the judicial system is.  For a long time, many black people have been falsely convicted over crimes and OJ Simpson was a black man who was not convicted by a jury. Back then, most black Americans viewed him as innocent and most white Americans viewed him as guilty. According to a 2016 poll, 83% of white Americans and 57% of black Americans believe Simpson was guilty of the murders. OJ Simpson was found liable for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman on February 5, 1997. So, he has to pay restitution. The money is about $33.5 million in damages. He has other legal troubles. The major legal trouble was 2007 robbery. OJ Simpson and a group of men stole some of his memorabilia items. Later, he is convicted and he claims that another person used a gun on another person. At his parole hearing on July 20, 2017, the board decided to grant Simpson parole. His release date is October 1, 2017. He will have served nine years. His life has been filled with chaos and bizarre situations. Since we know the truth about his life, many people have renewed interest about this story. There is In FX's cable TV mini-series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (February 2016), based on Jeffrey Toobin's book The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson (1997). In the mini-series, Simpson is portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr. The documentary mini-series, O.J.: Made in America (released January 22, 2016 at Sundance), directed by Ezra Edelman and produced by Laylow Films, is an American 5-part, 7.5-hour film that previewed at the Tribeca and Sundance Film Festival. Also, it was aired as part of the 30 for 30 series airing on the ABC and ESPN sister networks. I like the 30 for 30 series from ESPN myself.

The documentary didn’t just talk about race, celebrity, and race relations in Los Angeles. It exposed the brutal Drug War and the evils of police brutality including other injustices going on in America (like the problems found in the incarceration state) back then and today. The film won a 2017 Academy Award for best Documentary Feature. Tons of people have said that it is a great documentary. The tragedy of OJ Simpson is that he expressed an askance attitude for many black people and ironically enough most people that truly cared for the man has been black people (which includes his family). He tried to promote the myth that success and fame makes you immune to the problems of the black collective. Later, he made serious mistakes that almost made him serve life in prison. His story is a lesson and a warning that naiveté is never an option for anyone to embrace, adultery is evil, the love of Blackness is sacrosanct, and it shows the importance of commitment to justice is a legitimate path to follow.  The fantasy of post racialism has been fully exposed to the world with the OJ Simpson life story. OJ is a reflection of America’s criminality since its inception, because many in America have used massive criminality (especially against Native Americans, black people, etc.). In a way, OJ is a representation of the sickness of how racism, racial-self-hatred, and oppression can manifest itself in unique ways. Some even use OJ as an excuse to promote the racist myth that criminality is exclusive to black people, but the truth is that one male's acts should never be blamed on all black people. It is truly sad that some people so obsess with fame and fortune that they lose their sense of self. Yes, we aren’t OJ (who is a black man who is about to leave prison soon. I wish no evil to come upon him. My only wish for OJ is for him to wake up for real). We are human beings who see the value in our black minds, our black bodies, and our black souls.

By Timothy

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