I am outraged at Merritt Beckett’s demonstration of accessibility on campus that was featured in the Oct. 6 paper. I am in a wheelchair myself, and I couldn’t believe it when I read it. Interviews from wheelchair-bound students on campus could have easily replaced this disrespectful experiment. What are we—lab rats? To put an able-bodied person in a wheelchair and try to attempt to know what it’s like is wrong! No able-bodied person could even begin to comprehend how it feels, to know that you can’t just “… walk away from the chair” or “leave the chair tucked neatly in the trunk of my car and run up the stairs…” I am very proud to be in a wheelchair, yet after reading the story I felt violated. If someone is going to dedicate themselves to a wheelchair, try it from morning to night. Try putting on a pair of jeans, or any other article of clothing for that matter. I can only speak for myself, but I am sure that others must agree that we wouldn’t want to see such mockeries in future editions of the Campus Times.
Erin Leanne Johnson
Race and Simpson
In regards to the column by Raechel Fittante, “Justice System Fails,” in the Oct. 6 issue of the Campus Times, I can’t help but wonder what world she lived in before the Simpson verdict and what planet she now lives on. There are a couple issues I would like to discuss, the first being her newfound ability to understand how Black America felt when the King verdict was rendered, the second being her superior insight into who is and is not a peer of Mr. O.J. Simpson.
I would like to thank her for her considerate empathy. However, I would venture to say she hasn’t the slightest idea what the outrage over the verdict in the police beating of Rodney King was really about. It was not about the single verdict to acquit four or more white American police officers in the beating of a Black American citizen. It was about hundreds of years of abuse being caught on camera, and being told don’t believe your lyin’ eyes. It was about the indignation of a people failed again and again by the American justice system and said people finally getting fed up with this mistreatment. In other words, it was like having the shackles slapped back on and being told to shut up. She calls it mental oppression but she has no idea what is under the weight of these shackles. I would like to think its an attitude of survival.
She seems to be saying that the jury should have convicted O.J. Simpson as a gesture to white America. Does white America really need this token of affirmative action? If the State of California, the City of Los Angeles, Marcia Clark, Chris Darden and D.A. Gil Garcetti thought they were a jury of his peers, who is she to say otherwise? These “mentally oppressed” people did what they were instructed to do, and in Juror No. 7’s words, “did not bring race into it.” I am sorry that she felt that this jury of nine Blacks and three non-Blacks were not intelligent enough to come to a verdict of her liking based on the evidence, but you know those inner city people! This case was decided neither by race, the media, the opinions of Americans (Black and white), or the educations of said Americans, but by the evidence or lack thereof.
Ms. Fittante, I certainly hope that the implications suggested in your column, which reserves the privilege of education for those who presume O.J.’s guilt, does not preclude those who uphold the verdict, since you have divided these into white and Black respectively. Just a thought!
When I picked up the Campus Times and read Raechel Fittante’s opinion column “Justice system falls,” I was appalled. In one sentence, Raechel claims that race is not an issue for her, yet in the next sentence she jumps upon the media-induced bandwagon of the great “racial divide.” The real issue that this trial brought to the surface was not race, but how much money do you need to get a fair trial, be you red, yellow, white or black.
Raechel’s suggestion that the jury did not take their job seriously, and that our justice system failed solely on the basis of the O.J. trial, is naive and inane. I find it hard to believe that Raechel sat in front of the T.V. for nine months and watched the entire trial—saw it all from a juror’s perspective. Furthermore, would you have been so upset with a three-and-a-half hour guilty verdict? Would O.J. have been convicted if he did not have the millions to counter what the prosecution spent?
The real problem with our system is that it takes money for an individual to get a fair trial. Why is Raechel not angered by all of the innocent people who go to jail each year because they cannot afford—regardless of race—a proper defense? To get angry at the system for letting O.J. go, while not even considering all of the innocent people in jail is ludicrous. Consider it a form of social Karma—cynical as that is.
We are writing in response to the column written by Raechel Fittante titled “Justice System Fails.” This response is addressed directly to Ms. Fittante.
Raechel, you are one of many Americans suffering from amnesia. How many times have Blacks, Chicanos, Asians etc., been butchered, slain and systematically erased? How many times have the lives of people of color been lost to violence? How many of those cases have gone unnoticed?
In order to understand the split reaction that so shattered your crystal house of naïveté, you have to understand this reaction in an historical context. Yes, many people supported O.J. Simpson because he is Black. However there is a reason (not an excuse) for this. IT IS CALLED HISTORY! Can you take the time to study history and truly understand? You, too, have an oppressed mentality. History from the perspective of people of color has been systematically hidden from you. A piece of truth has been hidden from you. If that is not oppressive, what is?
Raechel, if Oct. 3, at 10 a.m., in the ULV Student Center, was the first time you witnessed segregation, then we must declare you painfully ignorant. You seemed to be bothered over race being placed as the “issue before the issue.” Did you reread your own column? Wouldn’t you say that race is a predominant issue in it? You seem to be the one who is painfully aware of the “Black element” in the Simpson trial.
Raechel, you go on to presumptuously claim to understand the “rage” of the people who rioted Los Angeles in 1992. Why must you claim an emotion you have yet to experience in a socio-economic and political context as a “Caucasian” in America? The Los Angeles uprisings must, too, be viewed historically. Many people were enraged because of the historical frustration we have felt in the face of injustice. The acquittal of Koons and Powell was only another secured link in the chain of injustice that has kept us bound for hundreds of years. Moreover, the crime that was committed against Rodney King was blatant! We saw it happen. Did that stir any human emotion within you? Did the same “wave of anger and disgust” come over you then? When Koons and Powell were acquitted, you were “disappointed?” You should have been livid! However, you fail, or perhaps refuse, to understand that what triggers rage is history!
Raechel, you say that you are appalled at the lack of justice in the American justice system. A little late isn’t it? We are appalled at the lack of justice. Our parents were appalled at the lack of justice. Our grandparents were appalled at the lack of justice. Justice has rarely been served to us. Why did it take the high profile murder of two white people to get your attention? Ask yourself why you are so selective of the people you allow yourself to feel sympathy for.
If we truly want to achieve justice in America, America itself should be put on trial for the systematic obliteration of billions of people who had no trial, no jury and no judge. As for your attacks on the jury, you are wrong again! The jurors breathed, ate and slept the “trial of the century” for nearly one whole year. For you to question their ability and dedication is asinine. As for their bags being packed before deliberations, the media will say anything to further fuel the opinions of misguided souls like yours. Furthermore, Raechel, how do you know that all of the Black jurors came from the inner city? Have you personally visited their homes in hopes of saving them from their “oppressed mentality” affliction? You offered no facts to buttress your opinion. Your opinion is based on the belief that the proper qualifications for a juror should include a Simi Valley zip code.
The Simpson trial jury did not widen the racial divide. However, you and your column have. Your column goes on to imply that Simpson was found not guilty because nine of twelve jurors are Black. Why must you undermine their abilities? Many jurors left throughout the trial. The ones that remained were thoroughly screened. Why, after almost one year of hard analysis, would they base their final decision on the color of Simpson’s skin?
Raechel, you say that it would have been a true historical event if Black jurors would have found Simpson guilty. Wake up! A Black man was found not guilty of a crime against white people. That is a true historical event indeed! You claim that if Simpson had been found guilty, the whole justice system would have been redeemed! How little you ask for the redemption of America! If America were to be redeemed, we would have to begin by digging up America’s white founding ancestors and putting them on trial for the rapes, murders and dehumanization of more than one hundred million Black slaves and the genocide of the already existing natives of this continent. Since this will never happen, America can never be redeemed, now can it Raechel?
Editor’s Note: The Campus Times prints letters to the editor to provide an opportunity for reader opinion. Letters must be typed, no more than 250 words and relate to a topic covered in the Campus Times. The decision was made to run this week’s letters in full to carry out the discussion.