O.J.: Made in America: Part 2: Lack of Community Involvement
June 28, 2016 10:01 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

There was never one Los Angeles, California. There were always two.

One was the world inhabited by O.J. Simpson: wealthy, privileged, and predominantly white. A world where celebrity was power, and where O.J. - race be damned - was one of the most popular figures around, cultivating the perfect image, even if it hardly lined up with what lay beneath. Then there was the other LA, just a few miles away from Brentwood and his Rockingham estate, a place where millions of other black people lived an entirely different reality at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department. It was in that "other" Los Angeles where riots erupted in 1992, and more than 50 people died with thousands more injured. The city burned for nearly a week that spring, laying bare all the anger, and all the alienation, that black people in Los Angeles felt towards the police. For his part, back in Brentwood, O.J. Simpson had other concerns.
posted by Cash4Lead (7 comments total)
This episode was riveting. I was just old enough in 1992 (11) to understand what was going on, and it remains something of an interest of mine. This was one of the best overviews of race in LA that I've seen.

The whole project is getting criticized for focusing too much on race, and not enough on domestic violence. I thought this episode did a good enough job of documenting the history between OJ and Nicole, although I see the critics' point. There's an effort to tie OJ to the history of LA race relations, but there's no similar effort to link OJ and Nicole with the history of domestic violence, especially among powerful people and ex-athletes.

I'm excited to watch the rest of the series.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:51 AM on June 29, 2016

I think the purpose of this episode was to really tie the decision of the jury in the case to the racial strife that existed between Los Angeles' black community and the LAPD. After the jury verdict is given, it's heavily implied that OJ's innocence was built not on the facts provided at trial, but on the opportunity to use OJ's situation as a means to hit back against the quite obviously semi-broken system.

Watching this episode, particularly the death of the young woman in the market, had me gnashing my teeth over the repeated disrespect and lack of value for life and justice given to the black community, at least through the lens of the documentary. The OJ verdict, based off this episode and the documentary at large, was a second 'riot' against the legal system.
posted by Atreides at 9:00 AM on June 30, 2016

there's no similar effort to link OJ and Nicole with the history of domestic violence, especially among powerful people and ex-athletes.

I don't quite agree with that. I mean, maybe other celebrity abusers aren't mentioned, but it's entirely clear in this (more clear than I ever heard of it before) that OJ got massively let off the hook for beating her up repeatedly. I think it's said by more than one person, "any other black guy, and he'd be in prison." Instead he hosted a golf tournament and called it "community service." (I forget exactly which episode mentions that detail, it might be 2 or 3.)
posted by dnash at 10:48 AM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Note the juror with the "why didn't she just leave him" mindset.
posted by brujita at 5:06 AM on July 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

And to that dumbass juror: she did. Then he killed her.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 3:38 AM on July 3, 2016

I'm finding this (I'm on episode 4) just so infuriating from all angles. #teamnoone basically.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:55 PM on July 4, 2016

I just got to the part with the "why didn't she just leave him" juror. That was... just wow. I don't even know.

That said, they're doing a good job, especially in the fourth episode, of explaining why the jury reached the verdict they did.
posted by kevinbelt at 1:38 PM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

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