Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gates and Unlawful Assumptions

I can't say I wouldn't go a bit ballistic if I was in the same boat as Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the Harvard professor arrested for breaking into his own home. Let's see, if I was in my own home, showed identification proving that, and could also point out pictures of myself with family around the house....and the police officer would not listen and arrested me anyway? Or being put in handcuffs when I walk with a cane? Let alone, coming home from a very long trip - and then having to break in because the keys were in my luggage...when I was just so exhausted and relieved to be home? We all know what that feels like. Just the jet lag alone from a flight from China to the United States must be unbelievably overwhelming.

According to
Crowley arrested Gates, a leading expert on African-American history, last Thursday after police were called to a report of a break-in at the Ware Street home. Gates had just arrived home from the filming of a PBS documentary in China. His front door was stuck shut, and his taxi driver helped him pry it open.
Said his commanding officer:
"I don't believe that Sergeant [James M.] Crowley acted with any racial motivation at all," said Commissioner Robert Haas.
No "racial motivation?" What other explanation is there? Even after the mistake was made, it could have been stopped once the identification was checked, once ownership of the house was established, and once the policeman took a few minutes to look around for pictures in the house of the man he had just arrested. So, as far as the arresting officer - enough excuses. You made a huge error and assumed that, because of his skin color, he was a burglar. This is a case of racism and stupidity. Just apologize, take it as a learning experience, and quit making excuses.

And for that matter, Harvard Professors may have reputations of great brilliance, but hasn't everyone at one point or another, locked themselves out?

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