It occurred to me that after posting Mr. Peter Gordon’s book-winning question — Vincent “Vince” Bugliosi once stated that “race was falsely injected into this trial”, by Johnny Cochran, one member of OJ Simpson’s defence team. Would you agree with this statement? — others besides Mr. Gordon might be interested in my answer. So here it is:
No, I do not agree with Vincent Bugliosi’s statement. Race is almost always a subtext in the United States in issues involving African Americans, even when African Americans are obviously absent, such as with all-white clubs and organizations. Because of the country’s history, race-consciousness, if not actual racism, is in the nation’s DNA. So race would have been an undertone of the Simpson trial even without overt injection. Because of his football-star and pitchman/B-movie-actor status, O. J. Simpson was an African American whom white America accepted as a “good guy.” That perception changed as details of the murders of his ex-wife and her friend and evidence in the trial emerged. As his attorney, Johnnie Cochran was obligated to present the best defense possible for his client. In doing so, he included race as a major component of that defense, along with police incompetence and forensic laboratory bungling. Making race a centerpiece of his defense received a great boost from audio tapes of an aspiring North Carolina filmmaker interviewing police detective Mark Fuhrman in which hMr. Fuhrman used a racial epithet after he had said in sworn testimony that he had never used such a word.