Justice or Just Us: The OJ Effect
The OJ Effect is the third section in the discussion on Justice or Just Us topic. The focus of this discussion revolves around the impact the media plays on race and justice in America and how that positively or negatively impacts the Black Community.
The 3 Questions
1. Does the media make more of some incidents/crimes with a racial component then it should and why or why not?
2. Do you feel that the media shows Black crime suspects pictures on purpose, why or why not?
3. What do you most remember about the OJ trial and which over arching issue stood out the most to you concerning society at large?
Why OJ some of you are asking? Why would We name a section that has to do with the justice system and law enforcement include the likes of OJ Simpson? The answer is simple, his first trial exposed everything wrong with the justice system. We are not saying OJ did it, nor are we saying that the results of the jury were wrong. However, the OJ trial brought out the dividing lines between rich justice vs poor justice, famous justice vs not famous justice, and black justice vs white justice. However, one of the unconscious effects of the OJ trial was the media coverage and how they played on peoples sensitivities and biases. This type of media coverage has only been exacerbated by the politically leaning 24/7 news channels, and has helped to crystalize an environment of mistrust of one another and promote overarching assumptions about a situation before the facts are known. This unfortunately greatly impacts the Black Community due to the statistical representation of Us being accused and convicted of crimes. Are the effects of the OJ trial assisting in the destruction of the Black community?
Please write in and response to our 3 poll questions or post some questions that you would like to see asked. These question and more were addressed on MONTH/DAY/YEAR during the discussion which is now airing on YouTube @
5 thoughts on “The OJ Effect”
1. Yes. It is no secret that media is about ratings and getting people to watch. The only way to get people to watch is to have subjects or topics that are polarizing and universal. In America, there is no subject more suited to fit that description than race.
2. Yes, for the same reason as fore mentioned with the added attention on the promotion of us Blacks as criminals plays into the narrative that we are the problem and not the system to further create a divided populous which assist the system and the people that benefit from it at the top
3. I remember how white people reacted to this compared to how they reacted to the Rodney King verdict and how disgusted I was at the lack of understanding a lot of them displayed. My biggest take away however, was the medias way of picking winners and losers and using that narrative to garner the biggest audience. It was the first time I can remember thinking the news was not news but rather a bystander to destruction hoping to cash in on it like a business tycoon who looks at the stock market crash with a smile, understanding the only benefactor to such an event is them and them alone.
1. Personally I think the coverage of OJ’s case had more to do with his famous-ness than his skin color, although due to the high visibility of the case, and the exposing of the racism of the cops involved with the investigation, the case and its coverage seemed to morph into more of a racial issue than it probably should have. The racial factors involved simply added to the drama and its polarizing effect among the public watching, possibly leading to increased media coverage of it.
2. The Sentencing Project study shows that the news media does reinforce public misconceptions as they ‘over-represent racial minorities as crime suspects and whites as crime victims. Blacks and Latinos are more likely than whites to be presented in a non-individual and threatening way – unnamed and in police custody.’
This may be explained partly by unconscious biases of the reporters and news establishments themselves, or at least feeding the conscious or unconscious bias of the viewing public as it’s more likely to increase drama and therefore viewership.
3. It was quite a long time ago and as I was a teenager I don’t remember paying extremely close attention to it, but based on what I can remember racial divides and biases were brought up frequently. In reading back on the history of the trial, the fact that it involved a very famous person and many interesting aspects of the case (the history of the relationship, the note, the car chase, the gloves, etc.) makes in unsurprising that networks found that it made for very good television. After that it seems like the dominos happened to line just up so that neither the broadcasters nor the public couldn’t look away.
1. My answer to that is a definitive YES! This behavior has been consistent throughout the history of the media. Even today a good percentage of white America gets to “know” black America via their television sets. The media is always looking for provocative stories to ensure patronage of their program, thus stories of crimes reign supreme as they create an emotional reaction from viewers. I do not know percentages, but I am willing to bet that the ratio is greater than 4 to 1 that a person of color will have their picture and name on display for the audience to see. Regardless of how large the crime problem is in an area, minorities are consistently shwon in local/national news as dregs of society that should be either feared for their savagery or seen as inferior based on the brief interview of an inarticulate black commenting on the situation. So the question is why….part of the answer must be because it sells due to it serving as confirmation to those that believe in all the negative stereotypes in circulation about blacks.
2. I do. My reasons are in my answer to question 1.
3. I remember most the fascination that people had with the process of watching a murder trial in real time. Honestly, I think that black people tuned in based on who OJ was and white people tuned in to see him get what they felt he deserved….the death penalty. After all, what made the trial such a hot topic is not that he was on trial for murder. It was that he was on trial for killing Nicole Simpson. If he was on trial for murdering his first wife, I do not feel that white America would have been invested like they were in the outcome. To me, the over arching issue highlighted by the passion associated with the verdict is that much of white America still felt like blacks should know their place of inferiority. I heard angry mutterings of things like “they let that N***r get away with killing that beautiful woman” when the judgment was announced. There was not nearly as much outrage for the acquittal of Nazi war criminals as there was for OJ. Which suggests that regardless of how people think they feel….when the stakes are high the real feelings may be quite different.
1: yes they make more of some because it makes a good story.
2: I think they show them as much as other races, they just seem to use black suspects images when they are at their lowest a opposed to whites graduating or some shit.
3: how divided the classmates were. Ultimately how divided America was/is
1. Yes…absolutely. They (Mainstream Media) spread fear to force people to keep watching. They have no social responsibility and I’m not sure if it’s intentional or neglectful but either way, it’s fucked up. The 24 Hour news cycle is a propaganda tool of the devil. Covering a single story for 24 hours with 10 minutes worth of actual real information.
2. Yes. (see answer #1)
3. What I remember most was the fact that A black man (Cochran) was the most dominate figure in the entire trial and commanded respect and power every time spoke. I was proud. The biggest issue was that rich celebrities can literally get away with murder because they can afford to pay for great lawyers. The second issue was the national exposure of racist, nigga-hating cops in the LAPD.