Monday, September 22, 2008

Fresh Squeezed O.J.

When I was in high school, there was a guy we called "Crosswhite". Don't ask me why because I don't know... he wasn't mixed and he wasn't light-skinned. It was just one of those ridiculous nicknames that people have sometime. Anyway, Crosswhite introduced me to O.J. Simpson. He knew everything there was to know about O.J…. his number, birth date, place of birth, stats, you name it.

O.J. was playing for the Buffalo Bills when I was in high school and he was also in the Hertz Rent-A-Car commercials where he could be seen running through the airport. An old white lady used to yell, "Go O.J. Go!" I knew that he had won the Heisman Trophy a few years before and that, while he was breaking some of Jim Brown's records, his team had no chance of going to the Super Bowl and for me, that was all that counted back then.

Well, the years went by and unlike my friend "Crosswhite", I forgot all about O.J. until he popped up in a couple of silly movies like The "Naked Gun" in 1994 (which I loved because to date I've seen it six times). When O.J. was in the news again for a sensational double murder, you may not believe this but, I couldn't have cared less. Unlike the rest of the country, I was not mesmerized by the trial and had almost no opinion whatsoever as to whether he did it or not until a white guy (who I'll call Frank) that I worked with came along.

Frank was one of those white guys who really didn't like black people but, would hang around them... usually, because he was stuck in a job with them and didn't have a choice. We were all in the same Air Force Reserve Unit. At the time, the sisters in my unit vehemently defended O.J. They thought he was being framed and they felt that if he had killed a black woman, none of it would have been on the front page of any newspaper.

Frank felt it was his duty to tell these women that they were wrong and that, in fact, O.J. was guilty and that they were letting race cloud the issue. He would get very emotional about this and turn beat red. The sisters, for their part, would get just as emotional, and everyday like clockwork there they were in a heated discussion about O.J. Simpson.

We were in Norway that year and I think the locals must have looked at us like we were crazy. Here was this white man and these black women arguing. I am most dangerous when I am bored and having nothing better to do, I would bait him. We would all be in the chow hall and I would say out loud, "Hmmm, I think I'll ask them if they have any freshly squeezed O.J. today"... to which the brothers would break out in gales of laughter. Frank would explode into a frenzy... "You all are practicing reverse racism. O.J. is guilty as hell. A man and a woman have been murdered. This is not a race issue. O.J. doesn't even hang around people like you all... he hangs around WHITE WOMEN!"... he screamed in desperation.

Now, he did it... then, the brothers began arguing with him. "Oh, so that is what's really buggin' you ain't it. You are mad because the brother was with a white woman. Man, you are a racist!" And now, Frank and the entire black race was in a heated argument and I sat back and laughed at the entire thing. After all, I had started it and I never missed a chance to throw a dig at Frank.

On the plane ride home, I gave a couple of brothers some cartons of orange juice and told them to give them to him. "Hey man, no hard feelings. Sarge told us to give you these... some frozen O.J. hahaha..." I sat back, instigator that I was, and laughed my head off. Yes, I could be a real prick sometimes when I wanted to be and now that I think about it, Frank may have been right, partially. A man and a woman had been brutally murdered and in the lurid details of the homicide, all of that was forgotten. O.J. became a symbol of the flawed justice system, black oppression, and several other things that I know meant little or nothing to him.

Frank was right... up until the trial, O.J. was only seen with white women and rich white men. He was rarely ever seen with blacks and yet, black people and black women in particular, were his staunchest defenders. If you look at the case, his blood and DNA were everywhere it shouldn't have been. People have been executed with far less evidence. Frank said the O.J. "bought justice" for himself. Right again but, white people have been doing that for years and still do it. So, when O.J. was acquitted, it wasn't so much that black people were chearing for him (with the possible exception of my buddy "Crosswhite" who idolized the man)... they were cheering because a black person finally beat the system.

Think about Emmet Till who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 for merely whistling at a white woman. The two guys who killed him admitted that they did it, the whole town knew that they did it, and an all white jury still acquitted them. You could kill a black man in Mississippi for years and you couldn't get a white jury to indict, let alone convict, a white man of murdering a black person. O.J. was collective payback for all of that.

Even though, in my heart, I knew that Frank was right, I couldn't agree with him and chose to tease him instead. He didn't understand the collective psyche of the black man and woman. Hell, that was just a few years after the Rodney King trial, in which three white police officers were acquitted of any wrong doing after being caught on tape beating an unarmed and subdued prisoner. I didn't give a damn about the injustice of O.J. being acquitted. I had witnessed more than my fair share of injustice committed against members of my own race in this country's history.

Which brings me to today... ironically enough, O.J. is on trial again in another state, before an all white jury for something stupid. Once again, I just don't care. I'm sorry, but the man just doesn't move me in that way. I don't know what white people will do if he gets acquitted( and Obama gets elected president too.) Lawd have mercy... some of them might just move to Canada. Me, I'm gonna drink a cup of fresh squeezed O.J.!


Strongblkwmn said...

I don't think it was about O.J. for most people. It definitely wasn't about him for me. He didn't care about being a black man until they ran his ass down on that highway.

I'm really sorry that two people lost their lives and I don't want to lose sight of it. The thing is, we've all known or heard about someone who got a raw deal in the court system. Johnny Cochran did a hell of a good job poking holes in what the prosecution thought was an air tight case. That's what impressed me.

O.J.'s just an ass. After being acquitted of murder. He should have been quiet as a church mouse for the rest of his life.

Anonymous said...

Slide me a glass of OJ too. I don't really care about OJ's new trial. He sat himself up for this. He should have move to Canada and layed low. I wouldn't be surprised if the all white jury found him guilty. This is payback for them.

Don't throw your freshly squeezed OJ at me but I don't think OJ killed Nicole and Ron Goldman. He may know who did it. I'm still eyeing his son.

Rich said...

I haven't paid a bit of attention to OJ and his court case, but you are right, if he gets off again, white folks will go off the deep end.

When Barack wins...well, that's a post in and of itself.

The F$%K it List said...

pour me a glass of fresh OJ too. hahah

I remember watching the verdict in undergrad (skipping the first 20 minutes of macroecon). I think most black people only cared because it was a justice for us at last. However all of those Black women that were jumping up and down were real pissed when OJ moved onto the next snow bunny.

Mizrepresent said...

This was a great post Keith as always you brung it! I remember the OJ trial, and yes i was tuned in and i remember the great divide in my office, just like the Rodney King was a time of awakening for many of us. Black and white and we saw each other for our real selves.


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