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The People v. O.J. Simpson – The Race Card

Previously on TPvOJS, ‘‘100% Not Guilty’

Cochran Is Trying to Win

Throughout this episode, Cochran clearly demonstrates he is out to win the case by any means necessary: During a pre-trial hearing, Darden attempts to convince Judge Ito to not allow racially charged, yet irrelevant, statements made by detective Furhman into evidence. Darden states that hearing Furhman saying “nigger” will only inflame the jury and cause for the black jurors’ judgment to be clouded by their rage. Aghast, Cochran counteracts Darden’s offensive claims and calls the prosecutor a Furhman apologist. With people at home watching, he ingeniously states that black people live with offensive words and treatment in their everyday lives without losing their moral compass. Cochran further disparages Darden by uttering the infamous phrase “Nigga please” to bring his argument to a close.

Vance’s delivery of this line was epic!

After this performance, Cochran successfully taints the black community’s perception of Darden; an LA Times’ poll shows that 76% of African Americans think Darden is indeed an “Uncle Tom.”

Excited Cochran

Images: FX

Due to a mistake by the Shapiro staff, twelve witnesses for the defense are left out of discovery. Determined to use the names in his opening statement, Cochran mischievously still mentions the witnesses and compels Carl Douglas to take responsibility for the error.

How does Toobin know this information? I am sure Cochran would not say anything because this type of conduct could possibly get him disbarred, right? Or was this just a mere theory of the prosecution?

Surprisingly, this stunt also causes the prosecution to lose one of their lead attorneys when an outraged Hodgman has a heart attack. This allows for Darden to be promoted to co-prosecutor, however I am sure this will only put him even more in Cochran’s crosshairs. Cochran pulls one final trick when it is decided that the jury is going to visit Nicole and O.J.’s homes. Knowing that O.J. needs to connect with the black jurors, Cochran has the defense team replace the modern décor of the Rockingham home with African art, his football trophies, and pictures of O.J.’s mother. The team even uses framed pictures of random black kids to pose as O.J.’s relatives.

Legally, how is The Dream Team allowed to redecorate O.J.’s house? Why is this not considered falsifying evidence or misleading the jury?

Darden and OJ

Darden Is No Fool

To Darden’s dismay, he is assigned to prepare detective Mark Furhman for trial. Immediately, Darden confronts Furhman about his sketchy past and that the defense will likely claim he is prejudice against black people. Furhman denies hating black people, but he gives the archetypal racist defense: “I have black friends.”

Civics lesson #1: Stop thinking of your friends who happen to be black as your black friends. We are not a collector’s item. In an authentic friendship, we should be considered as just your friend, not a friend who is in a separate category.

Seeing right through Furhman’s façade, Darden suggests to Clark that the detective not be a witness. Clark insultingly accuses Darden of having preconceived notions about Furhman because he is black and of getting caught up in the defense’s racial rhetoric. Darden protests that it is because of his race that he can sense the detective’s disingenuous persona. Clark demands that Darden continue to prepare Furhman for trial and simply “massage” the situation.

Clark is clearly in denial here. If she really didn’t think Furhman was a racist, then why would her and Hodgman think that Darden would have a problem in questioning him?

After thoroughly being defeated by Cochran in a pre-trial hearing, Darden implores Clark once again to not put Furhman on the stand. She naively tells Darden to toughen up and to not let Cochran get to him.

It’s not that simple, Marcia.

Darden informs Clark that even though he worked tirelessly in law school, he knows people thought of him as some affirmative action charity case who stole his spot from a more deserving white student. That experience greatly hurt him and the hurt has never subsided. Now, those feelings are being rekindled by Cochran’s accusations to the press that he is only on the prosecution team as the black token and not for his credentials. Clark reassures Darden that he was chosen for his intelligence and dedication.

I wanted Darden to use this sentiment as further ammunition in arguing against Furhman being a witness. If Judge Ito allows the tapes to be played in which the detective repeatedly says the word “nigger”, then those feelings of anguish and pain caused by racism that are common to black people will surely erupt in the jurors’ hearts.

Further doubt is placed in Darden’s psyche when Cochran advises him to not question Furhman on the witness stand, but rather force one of the white prosecutors to do it.

To me it does imply that Darden is being used if Cochran just assumed the prosecution was going to make him question Furhman.

Against his better judgment, Darden interrogates Furhman one more time on his racial biases. Furhman sticks to his previous story and states that he does not like dislike black people. As a matter of fact, his sports heroes are Magic Johnson and George Foreman.

Civics lesson #2: Just because someone idolizes black celebrities from afar, does not automatically make him or her not racist. There are levels to prejudice. I personally know people who are nonchalant about their kids having black friends, but they are against their children marrying someone black.

Furhman says he has never unfairly targeted a black person while being a police officer and has never used a racial slur to describe black people. We later find out that he collects Nazi memorabilia, but hey that’s just a hobby right?

Still not buying into his lies, Darden demands for Clark to not put Furhman on the stand. Not even willing to admit that she wants Darden to cross-examine Furhman because of his race, Clark eventually agrees to question Furhman instead. She states that Furhman is “just a cop” and questioning him shouldn’t be that difficult.

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.

Civics lesson #3: Just because something is not a big deal to you, does not mean that it is not a big deal or is not offensive to other people. Clark totally belittled the situation. I was not expecting Clark to fully understand where Darden was coming from, but I was expecting her to have more empathy towards his plight and to respect his opinion. Who better to know if Furhman is indeed a closeted racist than a black person?

Darden and Clark

Eh, What’s up Doc?

Here are a few facts from the Investigation Discovery show entitled Barbara Walters Presents American Scandals, episode “O.J. Simpson: Kato Speaks” and from the A&E documentary entitled “The Secret Tapes of the O.J. Case: The Untold Story” that give insight into how the Simpsons’ relationship evolved into 62+ counts of abuse:

The development of the Simpsons’ relationship

Nicole Brown met O.J. when she was just 18 and he was a married thirty-year old with two children.

O.J. met Nicole in the summer or 1977 at the Daisy restaurant in Beverly Hills where Nicole waitressed.

According to David LeBon, Nicole’s friend, O.J. was aggressive from the very beginning. On their first date, O.J. ripped Nicole’s jeans but Nicole just viewed him as being a little forceful. Five days later, O.J. bought Nicole an apartment and a new car.

Nicole married O.J. when she was 26.

The abuse and infidelity

According to Keith Zlomsowithch, Nicole’s boyfriend from ‘92-’93, O.J. would fly other women in and have them stay at the same hotel as him when he and Nicole would travel. O.J. would then sneak off and have affairs with these women and if Nicole protested, O.J. would abuse her.

O.J. has denied several times that he ever beat Nicole and has downplayed the fight that was recorded by 911 in 1989 on New Years Eve.

In an interview with ESPN’s Roy Firestone, O.J. stated,” It wasn’t that a big of a fight, but it was 3 AM and New Year’s. It got loud. We were both guilty. No one was hurt. It was no big deal and we got on withour life.” Really O.J., really?

During the Goldmans’ civil trial deposition interviews, O.J stated that he never raised a fist to Nicole nor did he slap her or striker her. In reference to the 1989 fight, he also angrily said that Nicole never bled once. Seriously?

Ron Shipp, Nicole and O.J.’s friend, actually saw Nicole with heavy make-up on in an attempt to cover the marks and bruises on her face. O.J. confessed to Shipp he did want to take a lie detector test after Nicole was murdered because he had dreams of killing her.

In the winter of 1991, a battered and hurt Nicole wrote a letter to O.J.:

“ Right now I am so angry. If I didn’t know that the courts would take Sydney and Justin away from me, I would do this. I would sleep with every guy, including some that you know just to let you know how it feels. I knew after 6 years that all things that I thought were going on, were. I was so bad because I wore sweats and left shoes around and didn’t keep a perfect house or comb my hair the way you like it. I just don’t see how that compares to infidelity, wife beating, verbal abuse.”

After the divorce in 1992

Nicole and O.J. would date and there were talks of reconciliation. O.J. was possessive and very jealous according to Kris Jenner.

Nicole became with friends with Ron Goldman since her and her jogging group would stop by the restaurant he worked at for breaks.

Well That’s News to Me

Arsenio Hall was a Judge Ito supporter and wrote him a fan letter.

Dominick Dunne, an investigative journalist and writer for Vanity Fair, covered the O.J. Simpson trial. Dunne’s daughter Dominique, who was best known for her role in the movie Poltergeist, was also a victim of domestic violence and was murdered by her ex- boyfriend John Sweeny.

O.J. had socks in his bedroom that had Nicole’s blood on them.

O.J. was supporting Nicole’s family and there were rumors that they encouraged her to stay with him in spite of the abuse.

I Have Questions

How will the witnesses Mary Ann Gerchas, Rosa Lopez, Joe Stellini, Alan Austin and the other 9 people left out of discovery aid in exonerating O.J.?

Who cleared out Nicole’s house? The police? Her family?

During the proceedings, why was Kardashian sitting in the bull pin with the public instead of at the defense table?

Did Paula really break up with O.J. on the day of the murders and if so, could this have been the igniting event to drive O.J. to murder?

TPvOJS-Episode 5
  • 10/10
    Story - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Dialogue - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Performances - 10/10
10/10

Summary

Once again this show is proving that is not going to shy away from the issue of race. The opening scene with Cochran being pulled over by the police with his two girls in the car was quite jarring. I could not help but to be reminded of Sandra Bland who also was stopped for the minor infraction of failure to signal and is now sadly dead. I also connected with Darden in his efforts to be seen as competent and constantly having to prove himself. With each passing episode I am realizing that this show is about so much more than O.J. Simpson and I am glad he is clearly not the star of this socially relevant show.

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About Jada Selma (22 Articles)
Jada is a graduate student living in Atlanta, GA , who utilizes TV and podcasts to break away from her taxing life behind the lab bench. She is an admitted daydreamer and Investigation Discovery aficionado. Her fandom aspirations include co-hosting a podcast and meeting Idris Elba (at least one is bound to happen right?).
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