As you may have noticed, the hot race issue in recent weeks is the arrest of distinguished Harvard professor of race and culture, Henry Louis Gates Jr., for "disorderly conduct." Apparently, after a trip back from China, Gates found the door to his house jammed so had his driver help him unjam it. Lucia Whalen, seeing this called the police to report a possible break in. She did not mention race, even when asked, and acknowledged that she was not certain if the gentlemen lived there or not.
Things got out of hand when, according to the report of the officer in charge, James Crowley, Gates was noticeably upset yelling, "This is what happens to black men in America." When Crowley asked to speak with Gates outside, he reportedly said, "ya, I'll speak with your mama outside." That's when the officer slapped him with a disorderly conduct rap which was quickly dropped by prosecutors.
I don't doubt officer Crowley, a "race sensitivity expert" who was appointed to his position by a Black police chief, racially profiled. I believe he tried to put Gates in his place when he "sassed." I especially believe Gates stated a fact, Blacks historically experience police misconduct in a disproportionate number. He probably also capitalized on the situation by not remaining docile throughout. Sometimes, one just tires of the harassment received simply because the color of one's skin. Check out such an example with the video below.
With the Cambridge police, the only difference this time is, the Black "criminal" is a high profile, premier public intellectual. Oops. I know it's predictable of me to side with the academic brothah, but let's face it, news surfacing about shady police reports wrongly claiming the woman who called in described the men as black wearing backpacks doesn't look good for the Cambridge Police Department.
So, this leads me to the second funky thing that transpired. Obama, in a knee-jerk (but most likely genuine) reaction to the situation said Crowley acted, "stupidly." As a Harvard alum who's certainly well aware of who Gates is, yeah, it probably seemed to Obama that it was rather dumb of officer Crowley to racially profile a race scholar for entering his own home. Obama was not racist as certain journalists quickly claimed, but rather racially aware. So, almost immediately, Obama's team tried to do damage control by inviting officer Crowley and Professor Gates to have a beer at the white house, assumed to ease the tension.
Racism is not an isolated incident but rather a systemic disease deep rooted in American life and psychy. Try as one may, police actions against black men, and race relations in general, cannot be solved over a beer and round table back slapping. If Americans think it will, they are pulling the three monkeys move -- see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil. Obama still has not dealt with the elephant in the room (aka the race issue) adequately and I'm sorry to report, this opportune moment only pushed him deeper into the racial awareness closet and I just don't know when he'll come out again if at all.