Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates is a racist. And an opportunist and publicity hound for the sake of his racist cause.
He brings no resolution or improvement to the cause of race relations.
Professor Gates had just arrived home with his driver from a long trip, and found his front door damaged and unable to open.
In an affluent neighborhood site of two men, with a backpack over one shoulder, trying to shove their way into an apparently locked door is suspicious, regardless of the race.
A neighbor called the police to report a possible home invasion/robbery taking place.
Apparently it took around 20 minutes for the cops to arrive, by which time Professor Gates had found his way in the back door.
The police officer, responding to the possible home burglary report requested identification of Professor Gates.
Professor Gates commented back to the effect asking if it were now illegal to be black inside ones own house.
The Police officer arrested Professor Gates when he exhibited “loud and tumultuous behavior”.
If I call the Police reporting a home invasion burglary in progress, the Police responding to the call are required to verify the occupants of the home are there legitimately and that the occupants are safe.
The Police officer responding to this situation was trying to ascertain the nature of the situation cautiously and according to his responsibility before the law and those he served. I don’t doubt some of the Police Officer’s pride was injured in the affront he received from Professor Gates, and this may indeed have contributed to the eventual outcome.
How hard would it have been for Professor Gates to respond peacefully and maturely and with deference to the arm of the Law asking him for identification?
A question I’m certainly not the first to ask: If Gates’ house were robbed while he’d been away and the Police Officer who responded allowed himself to be racially browbeaten into allowing the thief to continue on their way, what hell would the Office have faced?
Professor Gates may be well known, but that doesn’t mean he’s universally known. This ignorance may have come as a shock to the tired Professor as he was winding down from his long flight.
But the obvious problem was the chip he was carrying on his shoulder.
Gates’ reaction to this situation can bring nothing but embarrassment to those he purports to represent in his success, and illustrates a point I made a long time ago:
When any person, regardless of any unchangeable characteristic (such as race, gender, etc), is advanced artificially because some higher “level” of society is not “diverse” enough, that one’s most harmed are: first, the individual or individuals being elevated, and second, those they represent symbolically or actually. Role models are important, there are none who can deny this fact. When a whole generation of black Americans are seeing role models in the form of rap stars who are in and out of jail as frequently as they are on and off the stage. When the women the girls look to dress like whores and sluts, selling and subserviating themselves to men and boys. There is no respect or honor here, there will be precious little in the generation who looks up to them.
Professor Gates heads the W.E.B DuBois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard. It is telling that the philosophy of the departments namesake is very likely at play here. W.E.B DuBois championed the idea that the best way to resolve racial inequity in reconstruction America, post Civil War, was to find the top former slaves and other blacks, and advance them to very high positions. My commentary above was in response to this faulty idea.
A man is less a product of his surroundings than he is a product of his ability and character.
General Colin Powell, a military strategist and capable man of unimpeachable reputation and ability, was able to come up from roots in poor and depressed inner city life. And the scientist and inventor George Washington Carver was able to leave the life of servitude he was born into and grown into one of the premier inventors and scientists of all time.
The road to success, for all people no matter their immutable characteristics, should be paved only with the sweat of their own effort, the paths of their own choices, and the foundations of their own character.
Professor Gates apparently believes that the Police Officer, because he was white, was incapable of normal and balanced thought racially, and therefore addressed the REAL root of the problem, as he saw it, by accosting the Police Officer with his own queries upon the request by the officer that he identify himself.
The Bible tells that what we are passionate about will be revealed by what we say. What consumes us cannot be hid because it will show in our words.
It would appear Professor Gates’ heart is filled with extreme racial sensitivity. When I see an Officer of the Law, he sees a racist.
Professor Gates has shown he is not worthy of the respect given him. There are many better people than him, more worth of recognition and respect. And when the need for true role-models for the multitude of children and youth and even adults and anybody else aspiring to true greatness look to him, he fails them in exchange for a few fleeting moments of infamy.
One wonders what he sees in the seats in his classrooms.
The Guardian makes a sage observation: Never a good idea to get angry with the Police.