The Race Problem

by Frank Viola author

For members of the human species, perception is reality. At least that’s the way it is for most mortals.

And perception is shaped by our own experience, the experience of our peers, and the images and messages that we consume.

frank viola

When the O.J. Simpson trial aired on public television some 20 years ago, I followed it closely. When the verdict of “not guilty” was announced, the majority of the black community celebrated. The majority of the white community was baffled. To their minds, O.J. got away with murder.

Why the drastically different perceptions?

Because of experience.

Toward Understanding Reactions

Just a few years before the O.J. trial, Rodney King – a black man – had been beaten mercilessly by police, and it was caught on video. A few years later, the police who were involved in the beating were acquitted.

Blacks felt another injustice had taken place against their people.

You can read the rest of the article on