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View Diary: On Gates: Cops Did Act Stupidly, But It's Not About Race (84 comments)

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  •  I hear you, but I don't think it needs saying. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil, Richard Lyon, mallyroyal

    Racism in America is an amalgam of incidents such as this, wherein an African American or a minority is mistreated in typical fashion by a store clerk, a police officer, a waiter, a secretary, or some other person in a position of authority that robs the African American of their dignity.

    In any of these individual situations, it is always possible that race is not the motivator, that the person treating them poorly is having a bad day, is socially inept, or is confused about the situation.

    However, once you have witnessed enough of these situations, you stop giving the benefit of the doubt.  In Gates' case, it's possible that he was wrong about the initial call to the police being racially motivated.  Certainly the 911 call doesn't indicate any racial bias, and the caller doesn't seem to be accusing, just wanting to check up on some suspicious behavior.  On the other hand, it's possible that the call would never have been made had Gates been white and the caller is simply sensitive of the racial implications her 911 call.

    But as for the arrest, I simply cannot imagine a white harvard professor being arrested in that situation.  Yes, police often abuse authority.  Yes, Jim Crowley might have arrested anybody who mouthed off to him.  

    But the simple fact is that professor Gates was arrested for being uppity, and there is too much history of white people oppressing black people for being uppity for that to be defended or mitigated.

    Snarka Snarka Snarka!

    by Hunter Huxley on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 10:16:54 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  actually, the 911 caller (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darmok

      could not identify the race of the men when asked and said that one might be Hispanic.  It doesn't seem like her call was racially motivated at all.

      If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

      by Tamar on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 12:07:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  She lives in Cambridge, works in Harvard (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tamar

        she could easily have been aware of the implications of saying they were two black men.  

        Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting some sinister motive.  Obviously she had no way of knowing this call was going to become part of the number one national news story.

        What I'm suggesting is, she saw the men forcing the doors open, and part of her brain immediately said "BREAK IN!"  But then the more rational part of her brain said "No, just because those men aren't white, doesn't mean they don't live in that house."  And then she thought about it some more and decided that the safe thing to do would be call the police and report suspicious behavior but make it clear that the men could be in their own house.

        Which is all very rational and should have been harmless.  The police should have done their job and been on their way.

        Nevertheless, even after hearing the 911 call, I can't help but wonder if she would have seen anything suspicious if the men forcing open the door had been clean cut white men in expensive clothes.  And I can't help but wonder if the caller would have avoided answering the dispatcher's race question if the men had been white.

        Either way, it's not at all important, but thanks for reading.

        Snarka Snarka Snarka!

        by Hunter Huxley on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 12:22:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  interesting analysis (0+ / 0-)

          I don't blame her at all for this.  Whether or not race played a part in her deciding to call, I think it's a good idea to be on top of what's happening in your neighborhood and to watch out for suspicious incidents.  
          I also don't blame the police for responding to that call or for asking Dr. Gates for identification.   I have no idea whether that was handled politely (on either side), but if the officer was polite and respectful, then I have no criticism of him for that part of the incident.
          However, arresting someone on their own doorstep for being rude and unpleasant, even if they were, goes beyond what is legal and right.

          If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

          by Tamar on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 08:45:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  one more thing (0+ / 0-)

          she mentioned that she saw suitcases, so she was questioning her own suspicion.
          I have to say that if I saw 2 people breaking a door in I would be suspicious, no matter what their race.
          I will admit that if the people (black or white) were well-dressed, I would be less suspicious (which is funny since I don't dress well at all, myself), and that I'm more likely to be suspicious of men than women.
          So I guess I'm just snobby and sexist.  

          If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

          by Tamar on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 08:49:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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