If you haven’t watched ESPN’s 30 for 30 series about the murder of Nicole Brown and the descent of O.J. Simpson, please do. It is an extremely thought-provoking piece about race relations, police brutality, impartial justice systems, and the rise and fall of one of America’s golden boys. The story still rings true today as some in white America have no idea why black Americans are rioting and frustrated from a lack of social justice. It begins with one’s experience. If you were never accosted by the police, treated well by the justice system, and society at large welcomed you, that was your experience and you didn’t understand why someone else would accuse these institutions of racism. If you were black and encountered the opposite, you would view these same things wearily. Of course not all black people felt this way and not all white people the other. Then there were those who were untouchable.
Racial tensions still run high and you can trace the arc of it through history. Some people have adamantly stated that everyone has the same rights, so why are some people complaining? They are right. Everyone has the same rights, but what they refuse to see is that everyone is not treated the same due to personal biases that have been built over centuries of oppression and aggression. O.J was in a class of his own. In the series, it is noted that he tried to sound more white in commercials and welcomed criticism of his speaking abilities to sound more white. He was an incredible athlete who was charismatic and very good looking. He used these traits to propel himself into the world of rich, white America, where there were relatively few Blacks. He refused to acknowledge the racial divide and partake in social protests because he wanted to be seen on the merits of who he was and not the color of his skin.
Unfortunately, I have to agree with him. I don’t agree with him overall, but I agree with him on a personal level. Not everyone is cut out to be a social activist. Not everyone is ready to put their career and earning abilities on the line. Not everyone is capable of thinking outside of who they are. And in his own way, he did help contribute to the cause by offering himself as a role model to Blacks and Whites alike. This was only possible because he did not see himself as Black and deferred his Black identity. Lee Daniel’s The Butler is pretty much an apologist movie supporting individuals such as this. Oftentimes, you want someone to rise to the occasion and fight, but unfortunately, it is not their job to do that. It was his decision to further his career and that was his right. In the end, he actually benefited from the outrage of black Americans in his upsetting verdict, but at this point, I don’t think he was aware of that. He was already untouchable in his mind.