It all started around 1994, my birth year.
African-American football player, O. J. Simpson, allegedly killed his wife Nicole Brown Simpson, and her good friend Ron Goldman.
Despite Johnny Cochran’s superb lawyering which resulted in a “not guilty” verdict, everyone knew then, and still know today, 22-years-later, that O.J. Simpson was guilty. But, black people did not care. As a matter of fact, they were happy.
Kobe Bryant. An NBA MVP and one of the greatest basketball players of all time, was accused of raping 19-year-old Katelynn Faber during a hotel stay in July 2004.
Denying the rape allegations, he did however publicly admit to having “consensual” sex with the young woman, therefore committing adultery. And no, black people did not care, as they counted down the days ’til basketball season.
Bill Cosby. Everyone’s favorite TV dad during the late 80s, early 90s. A loving husband, attentive father, and notable OBGYN on The Cosby Show, arguably one of the greatest sitcoms to date. Cosby was accused of either rape, drug facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery, child sexual abuse, and/or sexual misconduct by over 50 women. While his reputation has been tarnished, and is currently awaiting trial, black people, for the most part, do not care. Granted, the historically black colleges and universities Cosby has had connections with in the past, and who have supported him, have each cut their ties. Nonetheless, the issue is not discussed nearly as much as it should be. And deep down inside the black community is praying for his innocence.
Barack Obama, the first out of 44 presidents of the United States to be African-American. When he first ran for president 2008, I’m almost 110% sure that black people were not nearly as concerned about what he would actually accomplish as POTUS, as we were concerned about him just getting to the White House. Four years later, in 2012, some of his supporters fell off, but MOST black people were taking their SOULS to the polls for Obama once again. A black president for 8 years? Has he done anything for us? Yes? No? Maybe? BLACK PEOPLE DIDN’T CARE.
Even Bill Clinton (cited by black people as the actual “first black president”), got a pass from us. When he got caught with Monica, black people were quieter than Taylor Swift at the VMA’s.
Now, Nate Parker, who is set to release the ground-breaking, eye-opening, educational film Birth of a Nation, this winter, has been revisited by his past. Parker has been called out for rape allegations he received as a student at the University of Pennsylvania in 1999. His possible victim committed suicide in 2012. And while he has not admitted to committing the crime, and the allegations were dropped 17 years ago, he did not fully deny that he did it in his recent statement. Black people, once again, are quiet.
If you’ve made it this far in my article and are not black, you might be questioning our character and morale at this point. “Wow, that’s horrible! How do they not care about adultery, sexual assault, or Obamacare?!” (That last one was sarcasm).
Everything I just stated, are indeed my personal observations, and I realize some do truly care about these issues and no longer support the public figures mentioned above. However, the majority of the African-American community has slowly brushed each situation under the rug.
In each of these situations, justice has either been served or most likely will.
If one has repeatedly been denied justice, they will simply take it wherever, whenever, and however they believe they can. This might seem irrational and just plain stupid, but it’s almost as if the outcomes of these incidents are a result of random glitches in the criminal justice system, because 90% of the time, black people are the ones going to jail for any and every crime, guilty or not. And honestly, if these were ordinary black men, they would have already joined the endless roster of African-American male inmates packed like sardines in jails nationwide.
Black people have always longed for justice. It’s not something we know very well. So when presented with just a taste, we drink the whole fountain. Cosby’s former co-star and TV son, Malcolm Jamal Warner said in an interview referring to Cosby’s allegations, “From the black community perspective, it’s feeling like the justice system never works for us.”
No matter the situation, at the end of the day, when one of us wins, we feel that we all win. When one of us hurts, we all hurt.
O.J. and his defense team were able to win in a state (California) that was still trying to cover up wounds from another high profile “black man” case involving Rodney King just three years prior. A black man beat a rigged system and made much of White America look foolish.
The results of a broken criminal justice system are so severe — and more damaging than we realize. I personally believe I am a good, morally sound person. So when I am questioning whether or not Bill Cosby or Nate Parker committed rape, when as a woman, I should not question rape at all, there is an under-lying issue. Our minds are messed up in ways that we don’t even realize.
I think it’s clear.
Will things change?
We’ve been conditioned to feel like until we actually start regularly receiving justice, it’s safe to always fight for just us.