Williams - 4 Introduction

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Unformatted text preview: 4 Introduction aftertheverdicttodistancehimselffromanovertlyraceddefense.Onceagain, thetermwasinvokedwithnosenseofthehistorybehindit,oreventheshort- termmemorythatitwasShapirohimselfwhofirstintroducedtheevidence ofFuhrman'sracism;hiscriticismthussmackedofhypocrisy. As itbecame possibleforsomewhitestosaythatoneextremelyprivilegedMrican-American malemayhave"gottenawaywithmurder"bydeployingthedisadvantageof racetomakethejuryseehimasaracialvictim,italsobecamepossibletosay thattheaddressofpastMrican-Americangrievancesthroughaffirmativeac- ___1.-l_~------....J "1- 1 T~.... ff~_lli~n onPT~;J{~e_ PlayingtheRaceCord whitewomanendange{edbytheblackman.Thestudyofblackandwhite melodramaaffordsanopportunitytoseejusthowfrequentlyracializedclaims ofinjuryhavebeeninplayandhowtheyarelinkedwiththatotherfamiliar historyofembodieddifference:gender.Forexample,prosecutorDardenhim- selfcouldnothelpbutplayagender-inflectedversionoftheracecardwhen heshowedpicturesofthebatteredfaceoftheblondNicoleBrownSimpson duringthetrial,orwhen,inobjectingtotheverydeploymentofthe"race card,"hementionedhow"outrageous"itwouldbewerehetoinsist,inturn, thatthe"defendanthasafetishforblond-hairedorwhitewomen."2Indeed, ".~_~~_~;:~l~,,;=_the racecardwasmadebyablack Playing the RateCard MELODRAMASOFBLACKANDWHITEFROM UNCLETOMTOO.J.SIMPSON lindaWilliams 5 Introduction ~~~lgying the Rac~ Card-.... ~ I ~ The "racecard"wasinvokedasatermduringthefirstO.J. Simpsondouble-murdertrialwhentheprosecutionaccusedJohnnyCoch- ran'steamofcheatingbyintroducingevidenceofdetectiveMarkFuhrman's racism.Thisevidence-of Fuhrman'sprioruseoftheword"nigger"-was calledan"aceofspades"byprosecutorChristopherDarden:"Mr.Cochran wantstoplaytheaceofspadesandplaytheracecard....IfyouallowMr. Cochrantousethiswordandplaythisracecard,notonlydoesthedirection andfocusofthecasechange,buttheentirecomplexionofthecasechanges. It'saracecasethen.It'swhiteversusblack"(Bugliosi1996,66).Accordingto Darden,evidenceofFuhrman'sracism,whichpermittedthedefensetoput theLosAngelesPoliceDepartmentontrial,shouldhavebeenirrelevantto thequestionofSimpson'sguilt.Behindthisstatemf,tstands.amoralassertion thatwithinAmericanjurisprudence-andindeedimanyotherareasofcon- temporaryAmericanpopularculture-race shoIdbeunmentionable.As PeggyPascoe(1999,482)putsit,"Inasocietydeerminedtobecolorblind, grantingpublicrecognitiontoracialcategories[eems]tobesynonymous withracismitself." IntheSimpsontrialtheterm"playingtheracdcard"becameafrequently invokedmantra.ItwouldbeinvokedagainbydefeJseattorneyRobertShapiro Introduction PlayingtheRaceCord 4 aftertheverdicttodistancehimselffromanovertlyraceddefense.Onceagain, thetermwasinvokedwithnosenseofthehistorybehindit,oreventheshort- termmemorythatitwasShapirohimselfwhofirstintroducedtheevidence ofFuhrman'sracism;hiscriticismthussmackedofhypocrisy.Asitbecame possibleforsomewhitestosaythatoneextremelyprivilegedMrican-American malemayhave"gottenawaywithmurder"bydeployingthedisadvantageof racetomakethejuryseehimasaracialvictim,italsobecamepossibletosay...
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This note was uploaded on 11/23/2009 for the course THEATER R1A taught by Professor Steen during the Fall '08 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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Williams - 4 Introduction

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