I remember the intense focus on the OJ Simpson case. I remember the impact it had on my students, and the way they celebrated when he was found innocent. I remember being surprised, not by the verdict (I didn’t really follow the case enough to have an opinion), but by the intensity of what I perceived to be the reaction of the limited slice of the black community I knew. Why him? Okay, he was a celebrity, an athlete, an actor, but did the trial even matter? I was reading Inherit the Wind with my students at the time, and I remember asking them to write about why it (in contrast to the Simpson trial) was an important event.

Coates on the OJ Simpson trial

I am reading (slowly) the book, Courageous Conversations by Glenn E. Singleton and Curtis Linton. Near the end of Chapter 7, they ask readers to reflect on their own “social construction  of knowlea-dge” (110). I can’t remember thinking about Simpson in terms of race, a privilege, I’m sure. I was just aggravated by the trial because it seemed trivial to me. But thanks to Coates, I can see how jury nullification may have been at work. And, a strange sense of equality as in, “Hey, our rich folks can do bad things and get away with them too.”

I didn’t watch the recent documentary about him or the mini-series. I just don’t find him or the trial that interesting or important. Perhaps I should reconsider.

Advertisements