Topic: "Why Black Folks Cheered"
Ten years ago Frodo heard the news on the radio. Simpson was "Not Guilty" according to a jury of his peers. Perhaps the voiced opinion which came closest to Frodo's opinion at the time was that the "City and County of Los Angeles was so incompetent that they were unable to frame a guilty man." Not unlike many Citizens of Middle Earth, Frodo was most surprised at the cheering, the jubiliant reaction of nearly every black person he knew. It was inexplicable. A man had gotten away with murder, and people cheered. Perhaps more of the world was Republican than Frodo had ever imagined?
This evening, "Frontline" presented a non-invasive, non-celebratory analysis of what transpired and a somewhat historical perspective on what it all means today. Frodo learned many things from the PBS presentation. It further convinced Frodo that Public Television must be preserved.
The presenters made the case that Orenthal James Simpson was a black man readily accepted into the white man's world. Simpson was accepted because he accumulated all the assets of white America, wealth, celebrity, and the rest. As long as he retained those assets, he would continue to be a part of white America.
The presenters allowed black America to state the opinion that that status is what made the case so spectacular. Simpson lost that status in the eyes of white America when he was accused of the heinous murders of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown-Simpson. It was no longer a "white-on-white" crime, it was a black man killing a blonde-haired white woman with all the value-added assets of wealth, celebrity, etc. To black America it was the reality of the fact that one is never more than a "nigger in white man's clothes."
Black folks cheered because it was the first time that one of them played the white man by his own rules, and lived to tell about it.
It was clear that very few Citizens of Middle Earth today believe that Simpson was clearly innocent of the crimes. Many, it seems, believe the verdict was due to the strategic failures of the prosecution, and the inclusion of any participation in the trial by the infamous police detective, Mark Fuhrman. Many also believe that the defense was strategically balanced to discredit the method in which evidence was accumulated, and to challenge its' incorruptibility. Many others still believe the jury was stupid.
Frodo was engaged by the fact that the trial is a centerpiece of classroom discussion in Law Schools throughout the country. Now if Law Schools could only find a way to assimilate "ethics" into their curriculum?
Ten years have passed, and John Edwards had to remind us that we are still "Two Americas." Frodo is ashamed that so many never understood what he meant.