“Make no mistake. O.J. is not Rodney King. In the racial firmament, the King case can be considered a supernova, illuminating the ground of race relations beneath its harsh but powerful light. Millions of poor black men can identify with Rodney King because police brutality is a staple of their adolescence and adulthood, a ritual of initiation into a fraternity of black male pain. Despite his working-class hustling roots, the meaning of Rodney’s beating could nevertheless travel in an upwardly mobile fashion: even well-to-do black males understood King’s horror because it could be directed toward any black man on any given day.
O.J.’s case, by contrast, is considerably more narrow. Most black men charged with a capital crime have little money to seek responsible representation. Most do not count the police as their friends, or even lackeys. Nor do they have the use of fame as a powerful deterrent to their conviction. If Rodney King is an exploding star, it may be that O.J. Simpson is a black hole, a collapsed star of such immense gravity that no light can escape.” (27)
“But for the most partPantherignores the intergroup violence that was only partly instigated by the Government.
The film barely touches on the internecine conflicts that ripped the Panthers into competing factions: nor does it broach the subject of the many members who were murdered by Panther loyalists.Pantherpays scant attention to the heroic contributions of female Panthers like Elaine Brown, Newton’s girlfriend, or Kathleen Cleaver, Cleaver’s wife.
And the movie never addresses the sexual abuse, physical violence, and misogyny that were common in the Panthers’ ranks, according to recent books by Brown (A Taste of Power: a Black Woman’s Story) and Hugh Pearson (Shadow of the Panther: Huey Newton and the Price of Black Power in America). By not alluding to the conflicts of gender, the Van Peebleses have robbed female Panthers of their due.” (116-7)
i’m glad for michael eric dyson’s contributions, i’m just not sure of the inclusion of the extremely personal letter to his wife (at this time) about his previous wives. damn.