The People Vs. OJ Simpson

The People Vs. OJ Simpson

The 9 things I learned watching the OJ Simpson Trial and American Crime Story.
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1. Money Can Buy Everything

The first couple of episodes, you see OJ getting the absolute best lawyer, Bobby Shapiro. He is basically the attorney for all celebrities. Having the best lawyer made him able to negotiate OJ turning himself in, which led to the infamous car chase in the Bronco. He was able to buy the “Dream Team” which made him win. Only money can buy you that. An average person would have lost.

2. The Dream Team Wasn't A Dream

When Shapiro hired Johnnie Cochran, he really didn’t want to. Shapiro was probably one of the most egotistic human beings out there. Then he added another egotistic man, Johnnie Cochran. Shapiro hired a lot of other lawyers that, to me, are not that bad because they never made me yell at my TV. Anyway, seeing Johnnie and Bobby Shapiro interact was like watching college boys compete with each other to see who is stronger. It was what some people call, "a pissing contest." At some points during the trial, they forgot why they were even there because they were so wrapped up in trying to outshine the other. Johnnie Cochran, during one of their press conferences, told Shapiro to not talk to the press, and he did. Then Johnnie went out and had his own. Both of them couldn’t take a step back to let the other be the leader. When OJ asked for Johnnie to be the head of their team, I thought Bobby was going to have a heart attack.

3. Johnnie Cochran Is a Jerk

Watching the show then watching the trial, I can say that I think Johnnie Cochran is an awful person. He is a great lawyer, and I’m sure if I were ever in legal trouble, if I had the money and if he was alive, I’d hire him. However, I do not like him. I think that his tactics were a little extreme and at times, were a little dangerous. When he wanted the jury to hear Mark Fuhrman’s tapes (he’s also an awful person), he went to talk to the press and got people so riled up that it almost started a riot. Also, I think he is downright disrespectful. When Marcia Clark couldn’t find a babysitter for her children, you’d think he’d be a little understanding to postpone the trial, but yet, he mocked her. It was low blow, but in court, it's definitely unprofessional. Also, I think people forget that he was involved in domestic abuse as well. I mean, do we forget that? Anyway, he's a good lawyer but a bad person.

4. Marcia Clark Slayed

Watching Marcia Clark do her thing was like watching Beyoncé (not exactly, but I was mesmerized). She handled everything the best way anyone could have. People in court slandered her for her hair, for her clothes and for being a mother. She not only handled this case, but she herself was going through a divorce. Her divorce was definitely a smart thing, considering the man she was divorcing sold to the tabloids a nude photo of her. Even though every news station and tabloid magazine was talking about her, she held her head high and slayed in court. She had a little slip up with Chris Darden, her co-prosecutor, hiring him because he was black. Though sometimes not listening to him, she overall did well. She had hardcore evidence, not a story like Cochran.

5. Racism Set OJ Free

Even though prosecution had all the evidence they could have had, OJ was found not guilty. Why? It was due to Mark Fuhrman and the law enforcement that handled the crime scene. It was them that let OJ free. They handled the crime scene so poorly, and Fuhrman became so incredible that the evidence didn’t even matter. Cochran basically made it true that Fuhrman was racist. The tapes of Fuhrman talking, he was definitely racist. Anything he did, especially handling a crime scene like this, made him incredible. How is anyone supposed to believe that what he says or does is non-biased? Exactly, no one can believe it. When a racist person like that walks up to the stand and pleads the fifth to everything, basically saying he’s a racist, all the evidence and facts are out the window. Fuhrman and the LAPD’s racism let OJ walk. Their careless mistakes and actions were to their demise.

6. People Forgot About The People Who Were Killed

To me, I think that this case really got away from itself. It wasn’t really about guilty vs. not guilty; it was about black vs. white. People were going with their emotions. Blacks were so angry with the LAPD for their acquittal from the Rodney King case; they just wanted them to pay. Blacks wanted to win something; I don’t think that they even paid attention to the evidence that was presented, and they just wanted to win. The importance to win was so great that people forgot that people’s lives were lost.

7. If Glove Doesn't Fit, You Must Aquit

This saying is total BS. Why? OJ had arthritis, and his lawyers told him to stop taking his medication because they knew prosecution was thinking about using the glove. When he stopped taking his medication, inflammation of the hands was a consequence. Defense lawyers knew that his hands would not be the normal size, leading to the glove not fitting. OJ's lawyers knew this piece of information however, prosecution did not. It didn't fit because it was made to not fit.

8. Rob Kardashian Is A True Friend

Whenever I think of a good friend now, I think of Robert Kardashian. He was with OJ from the start to finish. He believed so much in his friend that he stuck it out until the end. I’m not exactly sure when Rob stopped believing in OJ, but you can definitely see it in the trial. In the beginning, he’s right there with Cochran and Shapiro on the defense, and then he’s in the backseat. In one scene of the show, he’s picking up all of the lovely Kardashian children, and he gets a moment alone with Kris (his ex wife, and also best friend of Nicole Brown) and explains how sorry he is for making her and the family go through this. Kris asks him why he can’t just quit, and even though he believed his friend did it, he said, “If I quit, it will send him to jail." Some may think, “Well if he thought he was guilty, why didn’t he quit? He should go to jail." However, even if you disagree with something your best friend did, or ex best friend, you never want to see something bad happen to them or be the reason something bad happened to them. When watching the trial and they announce the verdict, you can see the horror on Kardashian’s face. He is shocked and a little scared that he’s free. In the show and after the trial, OJ throws a party at his house, makes a speech how he is going to find out who killed Nicole and that’s the last straw. Kardashian gave OJ his Bible when he went to jail, which was given back to him at the end of the trial. Kardashian drops his Bible on the table and says, “I’m done." He walks out, and OJ catches a glimpse of him; there’s an intense stare, and then Rob is gone. To me, a friend sticks with you through the bad times, which he did just that. Once the bad time was over, Rob was done. He was a good friend.

9. Karma, Karma, Karma

Karma was based all throughout the case. LAPD was awful in their law enforcement practices, and it caught up to them. Their bad decisions let OJ go. OJ should have been guilty but wasn’t found guilty. His bad decisions caught up to him. He was found guilty of kidnapping and robbery when he tried to steal memorabilia from Las Vegas and was sentenced to 33 years in prison. What goes around comes back around.

Cover Image Credit: twitter.com

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Let's Talk About The N-Word.

If you're still confused on why this is an issue, this should clear things up.
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A few days ago, I watched a white male call a black female the N-word. He not only called her that, but he also used the word as the caption to his Snapchat. This boy, who attends my university, then continued to post the snap and share this moment of pure racism to all of his friends and followers. That’s a problem.

The N-word is not some slang or trendy language that can be tossed in and out of conversations like “bae” or “lit” or “fleek”. This is a word that has been used derogatorily for centuries to oppress and dehumanize people of African-American descent. People like me.

Q: So why do “people like me” use the word if it’s so derogatory and triggering?

A: Great question. It’s because, when we say it (with an -a ending), to each other, the context is completely different. The word is no longer oppressing. When “people like me” say the N-word, we’re reclaiming a title that was created to make us feel as “different” as we looked and using it in a way that connects us. African-Americans and our ancestors have endured years centuries of racism, bigotry, clutched purses, sideways glances, crossed streets, back of the bus, random drug-tests, stereotypes (the list goes on) to say that word. The word has a sense of camaraderie, not hate, when people like me use it.

Q: But can we use it in a song? “N*** in Paris” is a bop, and I swear I don't even really use the word.

A: It totally is a bop, and you can listen to that song as many times as your heart desires. But just don’t sing that part of the song. It’s not as hard as you think. It’s one word out of an entire song. If you think the beat doesn’t “flow as hard” without it then it might be time to find a new song and check yourself.

Q: But when I use it, I swear I’m not using it in a derogative manner. It’s like saying “What’s good, dude?”, it’s friendly.

A: That’s cool, but did you know that there’s are at least 20 other words that can be used to convey the word “friend”? I’ll even link it.

In today's society, tensions are high, not only with people of color, but with those of other ethnicities, religious beliefs, sexuality, gender orientation and so on. There are people who feel that those who are "triggered" by derogatory statements need to get a thicker skin. Words are just words, and words can't hurt you; but they can. Words, like the N-word, have been taken back by those who have used them to oppress others so that people, like the boy from my university, can't use them.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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There Is An Unspoken Link Between Gun Violence And Men, It's Time We Re-Evaluated Masculinity

Confronting the epidemic of school shootings needs to start with acknowledging toxic masculinity.
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Eighteen. Eighteen is the number of school shootings that have occurred since January 1, 2018. Eighteen in 43 days.

Three. Three is the number of school shootings each week.

438. 438 is the number of innocent human beings, shot in school shootings subsequent to the death of twenty children and six adults in Sandy Hook, Newtown on December 14, 2012.

As these numbers grow larger, numbness saturates our skin, then insidiously seeps into our deep tissue and muscles, including our brains. We detach ourselves from a crisis that is currently quintessential to society as a whole.

Another headline appears on social media, begging for some form of a reaction. These reactions lead to the creation of further polarization and the questioning of the Second Amendment, forbidding us to unite in stopping future massacres executed on children.

“Kids shooting kids.” “Teens killing teens.” “Students murdering students.”

How about, “boys killing kids,” “men killing teens,” “male students murdering students?”

Of the 96 mass shootings committed since 1982, all but two were committed by MEN. In the United States, MEN own guns at triple the rate of women. MEN murdered 1,600 women in 2013 alone. The most commonly used weapon was a gun.

There is an unspoken yet unmistakable link between men and gun violence. It decomposes down to toxic masculinity. Masculinity is arguably the most important entities for a male. It is the concept that defines his self-worth, positions him in his social hierarchy, and controls the way in which he is “sized up" by other males.

Yet, masculinity is the concept that leads directly to the inability to feel, the incapacity to express any emotion at all. Men are taught through the social learning process systematically practiced in each and every institution, that emotions interfere with masculinity and therefore harms male ego and virility.

Emotions, however, are an inevitable and imperative component of human existence. Nevertheless, for men, they are often rejected, suppressed, and avoided. This rejection, suppression, and avoidance is the recipe for gruesome violence perpetrated by aggressive males, that violence that feeds the mouths of too many innocent people…with bullets.

We speak of mental illness and guns. We speak of terrorism and guns. We do not speak of men and guns. In order to eliminate gun violence, it is beyond crucial that we spark a change in the culture of toxic masculinity. This powerful construct is so deeply interwoven into our mainstream American culture of patriarchy and male dominance.

Yet, it is indeed possible to start to change at a local or even individual level. Allow men to begin to feel. Embrace the sentiment. Allow for men to communicate. Allow them to share how they are *hold your breath,* feeling. Because men, like all other living beings, have feelings too.

It is the time that men are capable of immersing themselves in their feelings, without risking their self-esteem.

Aggression and violence are the byproducts of emotional suppression. It is on us to trigger the change rather than perpetuating the current stigma whereby men are prohibited to feel.

Let us alleviate the numbness and detachment from these numbers…numbers that signify the lives deprived of their time on Earth due to gunshots, for these numbers are far too detrimental to accept as “normal.” Let us unite and fix this societal epidemic of gun violence through the celebration of humane feelings, male or female.

Confronting the epidemic of gun violence should not be a fight over the Constitution, but a fight to save humanity. Let us be the catalyst of the modification in masculinity, from aggressive violence to the acceptance of feelings and a manifestation of our humanness.

Cover Image Credit: @usatoday

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