Michael Jackson dodged a bullet

Larry Elder
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Posted: Jun 16, 2005 12:00 AM

"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha . . . While all of white America weeps, every black person is celebrating. Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, we beat you guys."
 
On the evening of the Michael Jackson verdict, I came home to receive that e-mail -- one of several expressing the same sentiment. Michael Jackson beat the system. Michael Jackson beat "The Man." As with the O.J. Simpson case, polls show a split on the verdict down racial lines. By a 2-1 margin, according to Gallup, whites believe him guilty. By a similar margin, non-whites believe him not guilty.

 After his acquittal, many expected Jackson to change his behavior and be more in touch with reality. A glance at Michael Jackson's website, MJJsource.com, does not inspire confidence. The website pronounced the verdict a milestone in world history. The website intro shows a hand in the "V" for "victory" position -- one of Michael Jackson's trademark gestures. Under an "Innocent" banner scroll the words "V is vindication," along with various dates and events. First, "01-15-29, Martin Luther King is born." Next, "11-09-89, Berlin Wall falls." Then "02-11-90, Nelson Mandela is freed." Finally, "06-13-05, Remember this day, for it is a part of history."

 Many blacks feel the system lies in wait to bring them down. An Associated Press poll on celebrity justice conducted in January 2004 found that in the O.J. Simpson case, 82 percent of whites believe O.J. murdered Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown, versus 35 percent of non-whites. In the Kobe Bryant case -- by a 76 to 18 margin -- whites thought Bryant would get a fair trial. But 43 percent of blacks said he would not.

 Just prior to Michael Jackson's arraignment, 60 percent of whites thought he would get a fair trial, while only 38 percent of blacks thought he would. But in the case of Martha Stewart, the majority of both blacks and whites, pre-verdict, considered her guilty. So, apparently, blacks feel the current justice system works for whites, but not for blacks. Tell that to Oliver North when a Washington, D.C., jury found him guilty of lying to Congress. How many whites were on North's jury? None. When North successfully appealed his conviction, did his lawyers argue injustice because of the lack of whites on the jury? No.

 The "my race, right or wrong" attitude hurts the black community and hurts America. Many black jurors simply refuse to convict black criminal defendants, leading to high inner-city acquittal rates, with bad guys getting off to commit more crimes against the very people who set them free.

 This is not the Jim Crow South. Black Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson said, "The sociological truths are that America, while still flawed in its race relations . . . is now the least racist white-majority society in the world; has a better record of legal protection of minorities than any other society, white or black; offers more opportunities to a greater number of black persons than any other society, including all those of Africa . . . "

 During the O.J. Simpson case, many blacks felt the police planted evidence. But at the time, a black man, Willie Williams, ran the Los Angeles Police Department. Because of the accusations of policemen's conduct, Williams conducted an internal review to uncover any evidence, however small, that cops conspired to frame Simpson. He found nothing. But this had no effect whatsoever on how many blacks negatively perceived the police, the investigators and the prosecution.

 There is pleasure in being a victicrat. If "The Man" conspires to bring you down, why try? If he stands ready to block my success, why study? Why work hard? After all, what's the point?

 After Michael Jackson's arrest for child molestation, brother Jermaine Jackson called it a "modern-day lynching." His father, Joe Jackson, also blamed racism for the charges against his son. After a dismissed black juror appeared on "Good Morning America," cautioning Michael Jackson to be concerned about the lack of black jurors, Joe Jackson said, "I'm sorry that they got rid of the black juror because we needed that juror and it's not fair." In the waning days before the verdict, however, "spiritual advisors" Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton downplayed the race card. Rest assured, they would have whipped it out had the verdict gone the other way. The race card -- never leave home without it.

 The bottom line is this. Jackson dodged a bullet. Getting a conviction in a child molestation case or rape case is inherently difficult, absent physical evidence. It comes down to -- in this case -- a "he said, he said." In listening to the jurors, many considered Jackson a child molester, and undoubtedly some even felt Jackson likely molested the accuser. But the prosecutors couldn't overcome the very high burden of proof required in a criminal case.

 The jury did its job. Race, quite appropriately, played no role. Immoral behavior is immoral behavior. Wrong is wrong. And the attitude of "my race, right or wrong" is quite wrong.