||"dawnbreak in the west"|
Monday, June 20, 2005
OJ Simpson's wild ride
TKS has reminded us of the 1990s, when a wealthy Black celebrity got exonerated of heinous charges. But before we take that analogy any further, we need to remember just how polarised the mid-1990s were.
Unlike the Jackson trial, the Simpson trial proved that the suspect committed the crimes of which he was accused. When the Jackson jurors viewed the evidence, they reached the proper verdict; but the Simpson jurors had treated their evidence with contempt.
We try to forget the race-baiting of the Cochran defense, the success of this defense on the jury, and the elation with which the Black population reacted to the verdict. This taught the White population a number of lessons about their country, disabusing many of us of our illusions.
Before the verdict, White conservatives held out hope that conservatism might find listeners within the Black community, and liberals assumed that Blacks were liberal. The verdict taught us that Blacks weren't liberal in their attitude toward Whites. Blacks in 1995 instead viewed the rule of law as compartmentalised, and so meaningless, as did Strom Thurmond in 1948. In a Black / White dispute, the Black population of 1995 would rally around its own, tainting both the electorate and the jury pool.
The survival instinct of Whites to the above statements, if said statements hold true, must be to limit contact with Black folk as far as legally possible, until Blacks see America as a shared enterprise. This is a time-bounded variant of the Faubus / Wallace opposition to integration, and even miscegenation. Since this was and remains unbearable to the White liberal conscience, the White reaction has been to abandon liberalism. Instead Whites ended up embracing punitive conservatism, White nationalism, denial, and/or self-hatred. The Right currently represents an alliance of the former three and the Left the latter two.
Carl Rowan, embittered Black leftist, noted the above and in 1996 predicted The Coming Race War In America. What we got instead was welfare reform, a second Clinton victory, Eminem, and Chris Rock. This sort-of enabled Whites to live with themselves, for a time.
But then Bush won, and Eminem and Rock went Left-ward. Houston had already fallen under the misrule of Mayor Lee Brown, an incompetent hack; and Brown was re-elected only through racial solidarity. In Georgia, a Black population restored the antisemitic Cynthia McKinney to her seat in the House of Representatives. Public order continues to decay in OJ's home, Los Angeles. Black conservatives have re-asserted themselves, especially through an Internet not widely available in 1995, but they have yet to reach the respect in their own community of, say, Booker T Washington or even early Chris Rock.
If another Simpson-like event occurred, we can only hope that the same pattern would not re-emerge.
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