It's a Mad Houuuuuuuse...

And I'm mad. If you've yet to read the media circus surrounding the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. then you're probably a bit perplexed by the public outrage... mostly by people of color. For those not in the know, Henry Louis Gates, Jr is a writer, literary critic, scholar extraordinaire, and tenured professor at Harvard University. He has hosted and produced compelling documentaries for PBS such as; American Lives and American Lives 2, where he helped noted Black American celebrities trace their lineage through DNA testing. Gates also created and edits an online magazine called The Root. So in summation, the man has the skills to pay the bills, and is a distinguished member of the literati. So it was with dismay and shock that many of us read that he had been arrested and taken into custody, where he was kept for 4 hours, before being released. Anger and exasperation soon followed after details of his arrest came to light.
Apparently, after returning from a trip to China where he was filming his latest documentary, Gates came home and discovered that his door was damaged, had jammed and so had problems entering his home. He then entered through the back, and he and the driver who transported him from the airport proceeded to try to pry the front door open. Upon doing so, said driver helped Gates bring his bags inside before driving off. Gates immediately got on the phone with the Harvard Real estate office to tell them about the damaged door. During his phone call, Gates noticed a police officer on his front porch. Through a recently released statement via an attorney/friend/colleague to the press, he would express his surprise at finding several police officers outside his residence. Apparently they were responding to a phone call placed by a neighbor- a 77 year old magazine fundraiser- that "two Black men with backpacks" were on Gates' front porch, one of whom was "wedging his shoulder into the door."
According to Gates' statement-After proving he was was a resident of the home, and after asking the interrogating officer for his badge number and name, and after showing substantial identification, the officer simply walked off sans an apology. Incensed (undestandably so) by the humiliation, Gates exclaimed that the police were displaying bias and being racist. To make a long story short, the police arrested him for "disorderly conduct" because he displayed "loud and tumulutous behavior."
I felt compelled to be thorough about the details leading up to his arrest, because general, mostly White consensus (because many have failed to read and grasp the details concerning the matter)- is that Gates deserved to be arrested, and that he had no right to question the obvious racial profiling that was taking place. To say I was upset by the comments displayed on the Boston Globes' comment board would be putting it mildly. I would then go on to read "Stop playing the Race Card" type propoganda on Facebook's "I Love Black People" board as well as on various other forums. Hence this blog post. One common thread in these comments were "Obama is the president, therefore RACISM NO LONGER EXISTS. GET OVER IT!"
Apparently ignorance is bliss for you naysayers. While it is true that minorities, namely Black folk, have made some strides... we have a looong path ahead of us. Uncompromising situations such as the one Gates experienced is demonstrative of that. How DARE you, having little knowledge about the daily struggles of minorities, tell us to get over it, and stop playing the race card?? I don't expect THE PRIVILEGED MAJORITY to even have an inkling of an idea of what it's like to have to fight to disprove racial stereotypes because people have no faith in your intellectual prowess. Until you many of you (this guy gets it)- take your heads out of your asses and stop pissing all over progress, then NO we will NOT get over it. Since when is it against the law and disorderly for one to express his opinion, on HIS PROPERTY? After Gates identified who he was and why he had to force his way into his home, the officer should have stopped questioning him, apologized for the intrustion, and moved on.
See, the visual that plays in my head, when I picture this happening to a White professor is as follows: Officer examines ID, and says, "Sorry to bother you and for the confusion Mr. Smith. Have a great day."
You mean to tell me that after a long trip, not being able to get into your house, and then having the coppers show up on your doorstep because of some busy body who thinks we're all suspect, to question you for only wanting to decompress that you wouldn't be ruffled by the experience?? Give me a break! You would be mad too! Period. The neighbor in question obviously thinks A Black man trying to force a door open, in broad daylight, whether she recognizes him, what was going on, or NOT, was suspect enough to call the cops rather than making sure she knew what she was seeing was in fact a burglary. While no charges have been filed against Henry Louis Gates, the scar still remains, and tax dollars have been wasted.
We will stop playing the RACE CARD, when it stops getting DEALT.
That is all.

3 comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Yeah, I would have been pissed. It would have taken all my self-control not to yell at the cops for bothering me at all. Put on top that it seems like apparent bias and I would have totally lost it.

    I may not be black, but I have experienced racism as has Steve. And even so, I am hesitant to cry racist. But in this case, it's just obvious. Your account of how the incident would have gone down had the professor been white is, in my opinion, spot on.

    I didn't bother reading comments on this. Anywhere. I gave up trying to stay serene while reading comments on any divisive article on the internet years ago. If only people would really listen...

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  3. access to the internet does not presuppose an ability to think and reason
    I think we underestimate the depths of ignorance that surround us

    it just makes me appreciate the reasonable people I meet even more

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