America’s Racial Polarization in the OJ Era

Since his infamous trial, racial ideology continues to shape Americans’ views of criminal justice.

What happened: Football star Orenthal James Simpson, or “O.J.,” passed away last week at 76, reigniting conversation about his divisive, highly publicized 1995 murder trial.

Catch up: Simpson was charged with the stabbing deaths of his ex-wife and her friend and led police on a car chase before his arrest in California.

  • The racial component: Lawyers claimed racist law enforcement had planted evidence against Simpson, who was black, and a jury acquitted him after less than four hours of deliberation. A civil jury later found him liable for the deaths of the murder victims.

Why it matters: Simpson, who had a history of beating his ex-wife, is still widely believed to be guilty. Nevertheless, the progressives’ need to elevate “racial justice” supersedes culpability, as demonstrated by voices in the mainstream media and the courtroom.

Happy to see it: One CNN contributor said, "So many people … were just happy to see that someone who was rich and famous and black could get away with what other people did in the system.”

  • More: Another at CNN said that regardless of the evidence, Simpson “represented something for the black community” during a time of “racial tension” and thus received support.

  • Payback for King: One black juror on the case admitted that “90 percent” of the jury chose to acquit Simpson as retribution for the police beating of Rodney King years earlier.

Zoom out: The movement to structure the American justice system around race and alleged disparities — rather than individual guilt — persists in legislatures, local government offices, and law schools nationwide.

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