The Gates of Hell

Okay, on Wednesday, July 22, President Obama held a primetime news conference to rally support for healthcare reform – and that’s okay. Presidents do such things when they sense that support for whatever is in the works is going wobbly and the opposition is getting up a head of steam. The nice thing about being head of state is that you can commandeer the airwaves.

Sure, the networks and cable news outfits will give the loyal opposition a chance to have their say, they always do, but you have the momentum – they’re reacting to you. And this was framed in a way that made the opposition squirm. Bill Kristol had written a column, sort of an open letter to all Republicans – the legislation may be good and solve a lot of problems, but it could ruin the Republican brand forever, as if it passed and got signed into law people would once again get the silly notion in their heads that the government can do some good – remember Medicare – and we can’t have people thinking that way. Hey, Saint Ronald would cry. We have to pour it on. We have to kill this plan. And then Jim DeMint, the senator from South Carolina, had said that regardless of the possible merits of the legislation, Republicans had to make sure nothing came to a vote – that would “break” Obama. That was the whole point. DeMint pretty much said this particular legislation wasn’t the issue at all – it could be any legislation. The point was to make Obama look like a fool – people like the guy too much and his charisma must be eliminated. DeMint had nothing much to say about healthcare. This was a matter of saving the Republican Party – that’s what mattered here.

Of course Obama referred to these two guys and said that people were going bankrupt, people were dying, the economy was in tatters – and dealing with our absurd healthcare system, changing it, was an effective and rather direct way to deal with those sorts of things. And they want to break him? He seemed to find that interesting, and stupid. When you have one holy hell of a mess, getting worse by the day, you might want to worry about the tens of millions of folks in deep trouble and what you can do to fix things. Some people are serious and deal with actual problems, and others do whatever it is they do – political maneuvering and that king-of-the-hill crap. Obama won that one.

But the news conference was, in the end, not that interesting – this was after all the middle of the process. All the issues had been thrashed about in the media for weeks, and it would be weeks before anything at all came to a vote. Not much was clarified. What had been said before was said with more fervor, and new dramatic heart-wrenching examples. But it was more of the same. You could say it was a waste of a perfectly good primetime hour, but in the middle of July there’s nothing much to watch anyway. It would have to do.

And it was all said in Washington Code – politicians and the press who ask the questions talking the way they talk, with catch phrases and formulations that are dog whistles to political junkies, but have civilians clicking through the channels for sport scores or some pleasant old movie they wouldn’t mind seeing for a fourth time. Luckily, the Moonshine Patriot translated the code – one of the better concise summaries of the whole event.

The only startling thing had to do with that Gates fellow. No, not Bill Gates, the far beyond obscenely wealthy man who gave the world Microsoft, nor Robert Gates, the Bush secretary of defense Obama kept on as that Gates was a sensible and careful man. Now we have a third Gates, the noted African-American Harvard scholar Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr. The Wikipedia entry on this third Gates has an interesting note up top – “Editing of this article by new or unregistered users is currently disabled until July 24, 2009 due to vandalism.” Something is up here.

Obama was asked about the controversy, and CNN offers this video of Obama’s response, and this text:

President Obama said that police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, “acted stupidly” in arresting a prominent black Harvard professor last week after a confrontation at the man’s home.

“I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played,” Obama said Wednesday night while taking questions after a White House news conference.

Cambridge authorities dropped disorderly conduct charges against Henry Louis Gates Jr. on Tuesday.

Obama defended Gates on Wednesday night, while admitting that he may be “a little biased,” because Gates is a friend.

“But I think it’s fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry; No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, No. 3 … that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.”

The incident, Obama said, shows “how race remains a factor in this society.”

Obama really stepped into it with that. You don’t call the police stupid. That’s like calling the real American heroes, firefighters, cowardly. Calling the police stupid, or saying that even if not stupid they’d done a stupid thing, meens you hate America, and particularly the Irish (you know the cop stereotype). It might mean you’re a terrorist, or something. This was a bad move.

And this would not die down:

Gates told CNN on Wednesday that although charges had been dropped, he will keep the issue alive.

“This is not about me; this is about the vulnerability of black men in America,” Gates told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien.

Gates said he’d be prepared to forgive the arresting officer “if he told the truth” – but the arresting officer, Sergeant James Crowley, said no way – “There are not many certainties in life, but it is for certain that Sgt. Crowley will not be apologizing.” CNN didn’t ask him why he was referring to himself in the third person.

Gates said the mayor of Cambridge had called him to apologize about the incident – being arrested and charged with disorderly conduct – but CNN couldn’t confirm that. Mayor Denise Simmons wasn’t answering her phone. She has to stand by her police guys after all.

And what happened was just odd:

Crowley wrote in the Cambridge police report that Gates refused to step outside to speak with him, the police report said, and when Crowley told Gates that he was investigating a possible break-in, Gates opened the front door and exclaimed, “Why, because I’m a black man in America?” the report said.

The report said Gates initially refused to show the officer identification, but eventually produced a Harvard identification card, prompting Crowley to radio for Harvard University Police.

“While I was led to believe that Gates was lawfully in the residence, I was quite surprised and confused with the behavior he exhibited toward me,” Crowley said, according to the report.

Gates was arrested for “loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space” …

In short, Gates was pissed off, assumed to be a burglar in his own home – and he gave Crowley an earful. Apparently Crowley doesn’t take crap from anyone – off to jail. The charges were dropped, but a lawsuit may follow.

Every white man and woman on the right reacted as you’d expect – “Hey Skip, stop whining. You disrespected a cop. Only those who hate America and all it stands for do that sort of thing – so sit down and shut up, and don’t mouth off again.” Yep, one more uppity nigger – they’re all like that, you know.

Obama saw it this way:

I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don’t know all the facts. What’s been reported though is that the guy forgot his keys, jimmied his way to get into the house, there was a report called into the police station that there might be a burglary taking place. So far so good, all right. I mean, if I was trying to jigger into – well I guess this is my house now, so it probably wouldn’t happen. But let’s say my own house in Chicago. Here I’d get shot.

See Eric Kleefeld:

The press gallery naturally laughed at the joke. It was unclear whether Obama meant he would get shot in the sense of hypothetically being some random guy trying to break into the White House specifically – or whether this was a very dark joke about himself becoming a victim of racial profiling. Perhaps it was a bit of both.

Obama then continued narrating the circumstances of the Gates story. “I don’t know, not having been there, and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that,” he said. “But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry. Number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And number three – what I think we know separate and apart from this incident – is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.”

This after Obama nominated Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, the judge who ruled against the white firefighter claiming minorities were always getting a break and he never got one, ever – just because he was a white guy. The right will be livid for a year over this “stupidity” remark from Obama too. Gates said mean things to the cop. Like the New Haven firefighter, this one cop had had enough of disrespect from some scruffy black man – and you can imagine how much he resented that the guy was a fancy-pants Harvard professor, and he was just a cop. It wasn’t fair. No one respects the white man anymore.

Those who aren’t white have a different view, as CNN notes here:

Jelani Cobb, an author and professor at Spelman College in Atlanta, says it’s troubling on many levels when “one of the most recognizable African-Americans in the country can be arrested in his own home and have to justify being in his own home.”

“It’s really kind of unfathomable,” Cobb said. “If it can happen to him, yeah, it can happen to any of us.”

That’s a sentiment echoed by Jimi Izrael. “If a mild-mannered, bespectacled Ivy League professor who walks with a cane can be pulled from his own home and arrested on a minor charge, the rest of us don’t stand a chance,” Izrael wrote Tuesday on The Root, an online magazine with commentary from a variety of black perspectives that’s co-founded by Gates.

“We all fit a description. We are all suspects.”

And there’s this:

Kim Coleman, a Washington radio host, cultural commentator and blogger, said she grew numb when she saw the mugshot.

“I was not prepared for that,” she said. “To see one of my heroes in a mugshot was not something that I was expecting. … It just tells me we’re not in a post-racial society.”

She said there’s a reason why you don’t hear about prominent white people arrested in their homes: “because it doesn’t happen.”

It’s time for America to have a long overdue national conversation about race, Coleman said. “When are we going to have that,” she said. “When are we really going to sit down and strip down and say, ‘This is what I feel about you and this is what you feel about me. Now, how are we going to get over that?’”

And this:

Rebecca Walker, an award-winning author, said the arrest was devastating to scholars, writers, and artists “who work so hard to keep a free flow of information.”

“It seems eerily ironic Mr. Gates was returning from China, where surveillance is so high and freedom of speech and ideas so curtailed,” Walker said. “To see the mugshot of Skip was a blow to all of us who feel some sense of safety based on our work to try to mend all of these broken fences in America – to make ourselves into people who refuse to be limited by race and class and gender and everything else.”

“To end up, at the end of the day, treated like a criminal, unjustly stripped of our accomplishments and contributions, even if only for a moment, is profoundly disturbing.…”

There’s more at the link, and see this from Josh Marshall, Breaking: President is a Black Guy:

It’s a funny thing. When I was watching the press conference tonight during the Gates question, I think I must have looked away or maybe been writing when Obama made the “stupidly” comment. Because I didn’t hear it….

Now there’s a flood of para-commentary: not necessarily what he said, which is inconveniently unremarkable. But are we surprised that he said it? Should he have gone into such detail? What’s the fallout?

The political press is all atwitter over this, a bit like just after two high school kids square off for a fight but just before the punches start flying. But let’s be honest: this is all about a black guy getting on the side of another black guy who got crosswise with the cops. Why would he touch such a powder keg? Like it’s going to ignite at least one more battle in the late lamented Culture War.

But Marshall suggests we look at what he sees are the salient facts:

The house was Gates’ house. From what I understand, no one disputes that prior to his arrest and while in the house, Gates provided proof that the house was his. When you have those facts and the guy whose house it is ends up getting arrested, I think that’s prima facie evidence of bad police work.

We certainly can’t know it was racism. And perhaps there are extraordinary facts that would show the arrest was proper – that all the escalation came from Gates, was unwarranted and left the officer no choice but to arrest him. But I think the assumption has to be that the officer mishandled the situation. Because we hire the police to protect us from burglars breaking into our homes, not to arrest us in our own homes if we get a little miffed at being mistaken for burglars. Police are trained to prevent situations like that from escalating. They’re professionals. And I suspect that people who actually train recruits in best practices policing procedure, as opposed to political analyst and GOP press secretaries, would probably agree with that.

Marshall just cannot muster any shock that Obama said this. But he doesn’t work at Fox News.

But of course there is the quite black James Hannaham arguing the Gates incident is good news:

First of all, I’m elated that black Harvard professors exist, though I’m sure there are not enough of them; secondly, that what happens to any Harvard professor, regardless of race, can become worth reporting on; and thirdly, that this event will probably make members of the Cambridge Police Department and other police departments think twice before they arrest another black man. Imagine the confusion it will cause the po-po – “Uh-oh. Is this brother a professor, too? What does Cornel West look like?” Maybe some ordinary, untenured black men in the street will get some much-deserved benefit of the doubt now.

I’m even happier that the net result of this contretemps may be that Gates, whom I consider a hero, will most likely gain two things: increased fame, which will hopefully lead more people to his work, and, dare I say, a bit of street cred, like Martha Stewart’s stint in jail. No one can accuse Henry Louis Gates Jr. of living in an ivory tower anymore.

Hannaham also argues that the conflicting statements of Gates and arresting “also measure exactly the gap between, well, to be as accurate as possible, officers of the law and people they perceive to be black.” And that’s important:

Though they describe the same event, the two accounts are so substantially different that we can only pray for the leak of a YouTube video to set the record straight. Gates depicts himself calmly requesting the name and badge number of officers who had already entered his home and reveals gradually his realization that profiling might have occurred.

If we’re to believe Crowley’s police report (which I am disinclined to do, frankly), a Harvard scholar, faced with arrest in his own home, suddenly switches codes and begins to talk like George Jefferson – “Ya, I’ll speak with your mama outside!” This cry doesn’t sound so much to me like the gent who edited “The Norton Anthology of African American Literature.”

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if there’s one thing a successful academic knows how to respect, it’s authority. What’s more, in the battle of cop versus professor, it’s a safe bet that the African-American historian knows better what’s at stake when it comes to keeping an accurate record of the past.

We’re in for a bumpy ride. Healthcare – did someone mention healthcare?

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About Alan

The editor is a former systems manager for a large California-based HMO, and a former senior systems manager for Northrop, Hughes-Raytheon, Computer Sciences Corporation, Perot Systems and other such organizations. One position was managing the financial and payroll systems for a large hospital chain. And somewhere in there was a two-year stint in Canada running the systems shop at a General Motors locomotive factory - in London, Ontario. That explains Canadian matters scattered through these pages. Otherwise, think large-scale HR, payroll, financial and manufacturing systems. A résumé is available if you wish. The editor has a graduate degree in Eighteenth-Century British Literature from Duke University where he was a National Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and taught English and music in upstate New York in the seventies, and then in the early eighties moved to California and left teaching. The editor currently resides in Hollywood California, a block north of the Sunset Strip.
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84 Responses to The Gates of Hell

  1. PJ says:

    I think that President Obama said it right: “the police acted stupidly”. No one should be arrested for being in his own home. That cop should be taken of the streets. He clearly showed very bad judgment. This is indefensible. The Mayor should make matters right. The incident should have finished once correct ID was presented, but NO! The stupid cop had to push his weight around and show the black man who’s in charge. Well he pushed on the wrong black man. Now he’s going to have to answer for it. At the very least a public apology is in order. I do hope Gates will sue for all it is worth and he’s in the the right here. This only reflects on Cambridge police in a very negative light. They have a lot of explaining to do publicly. Hero? Not at all. We don’t need cops that behave that way. There is nothing worse than a crooked cop.

  2. jim says:

    Obama admits that he doesn’t know the facts, but he knows that the police acted stupidly. And THIS is a constitutional scholar. Or is he just an “affirmative action” constitutional scholar. The one who acted the most stupidly in this affair was Obama! He is trying to push through congress some very questionable programs and needs all the citizen goodwill he can muster. This is definitely not the way to get it!!!

  3. John Hix says:

    Professor Gates will keep this issue/story alive as long as possible to get his 5 minutes of fame. The story did not deserve comment from the President. I would rather the police catch me breaking into my own house than never show up when a real burglar triggered the alarm.

  4. mark says:

    Maybe the Obamination should keep on topic of how he’s giving our hard earned tax dollars to bank executives earning top dollar (the spoils of the financial bailout) that they caused by lending to boneheads that couldn’t afford garbage mortgages, rather than issues that have gray areas. I believe that professor should have presented a positive ID and that police did what was required when presented with a belligerent PERSON, take him away! Don’t you get it? Act like a moron, get treated like one regardless of color. You all are so stupid.

  5. Victor says:

    This is the time to evaluate the role of police and law in United States. Laws are ment to protect people, not to take freedom of Americans, The absurd prosecutors dont even think how much it cost taxpayers when they put people behind prisons for small and petty things. I have been in Prison and surprisingly there are 5 Blacks and 2 Hispanic or Latinos out of every 10 people in Prison Population. Yes there is a racism, and if you are a colored people, “Criminal” written all over your face.

  6. Victor says:

    also i say if any people who are arrested wrongfully, then the police and the prosecutor should serve the time which they intend the accused to serve. Let say if someone who is accused wins the trial, then the prosecutor and the detective should be sent behind the prison for the same period of time which they sought for accused.
    We preach the whole world equality and justice without prejudice , where as we at home let the police arresting people just by looking there skin color , race and ethnicity.

  7. Kelley says:

    First of all there was a black policeman involved in all of this and secondly if Professor Gates had simply acted like the gentleman he was supposed to be and simply answered the questions without smarting off in a belligerent way to the officer, none of this would have been in the news. The MSM is determined to make something of this. Gates is going to sue when he himself made the racist remarks and the poor officer that was called to the scene of a possible break in is being assaulted in the news. Another instance of race being used for an excuse for bad behavior and an excuse for anything and everything that black people decide they don’t like. It’s all about racism to them. This is their que card for everything. So sick and tired of it and America is fast becoming sick and tired of it too.

  8. Jamal says:

    Lookie here – thase was wrong in arresing mr skip. thase was investgating a breakin and he is only the one black man in that neberhood? Come on.

    • Rob says:

      I almost fell off my chair this comment is so funny. I hope to god that I just “got the joke” and this wasnt an honest reply from a black man. If so, let the stereotypes live on!

  9. Mark Jeffery Koch says:

    It’s good to know that driving while Black is now in second place to entering your own home when Black!

    There seems to be a pattern of Black men returning to their homes after work, a night out, or after going to the supermarket or shopping mall. They come home to their homes expecting to enter normally as the white folks do but thanks to their scared to death good White neighbors who call the police they are handcuffed, arrested and prevented from entering. Whatever made Black men think they had a right to enter their own homes without being harassed by the police?

    The good news is that they are eventually released so the same police can stop them when they are in the cars for driving while Black. Thankfully, the cops are able to prevent Black men from entering their own homes now too. What a color blind society we live in! Makes you feel glad these same brilliant folks are our front line in the war against terrorism, doesn’t it?

  10. David says:

    Let’s see: A witness sees person A forcing a door on a home. The witness calls the polices. Office B arrives and questions person A. Person A refuses to show identification and begins acting belligerently. Officer B arrests person A. Person A eventually provides identification. How does officer B know this is still person A’s home? (People move all the time.) Given that person A was behaving in a belligerent manner and refused to provide identification at home after person A appeared to be breaking into the home, it seems to me that officer B must take person A in until officer B can clear up the matter. Regardless of race.

    Also, get the facts straight on Sotomayor’s ruling on the firefighter case. It is not about “… the judge who ruled against the white firefighter claiming minorities were always getting a break and he never got one …” This statement alone may lead one to doubt anything in this long post of yours.

  11. jamie says:

    This kind of bullshit attitude on the part of blacks may very well usher the term “nigger” back into vogue!

  12. DavePad says:

    2 egos clashing in the night-Obama was wrong in his characterization . Similar incidents happen to us all – white and black.

  13. John says:

    The neighbor’s photo shows the professor with three police officers, two white, one black. Since there was a black officer there at the time Prof. Gates was removed from his house, the idea that this is a black civilian vs. the white police needs to be reconsidered.
    I haven’t seen a single comment regarding the black officer in the photo.
    When Prof. Gates says this would never have happened to a white professor, he’s probably right for two reasons. 1. White people aren’t carrying around 400 years of pain with them, ready to unleash it when they are confronted by a person of authority. 2. Most people of any color would have politely identified themselves when asked, thanked the officer for doing his job, and sent him on his way.
    That a college professor could have failed to act politely toward the police and identify himself when asked to astounds me.
    I’m disappointed that the President would say, “I don’t know all the facts but..” and then offer his opinion. It would have been far better to admit not knowing all the facts and then say that he would wait until all the facts were known before he made a comment. This would have shown prudence and wisdom.
    This is not a racial issue. It’s a case of a citizen acting inappropriately to the police and being arrested for it. Leave out the color of the players and you’ll see the situation for what it is.

  14. Joe says:

    White people cannot begin to understand the obscene frustration that black people go through on a daily basis. The President was obviously frustrated last night, not only on the healthcare debate but in the past 2-weeks two high profile discrimination incidents. Did the campus police act stupidly YES! I can say it, you can say it, we all know it but the thing that gets more media attention is the utterance of the word. Focus on the fact that black people in this country are still not afforded the benefit of the doubt. If I prove to you that I own something buy providing physical evidence, and you don’t believe me then there is much more under the surface then you are letting on.

  15. JAY JOHN says:

    RACISM IS A TWO WAY STREET,
    JUST ASK PRESIDENT OBAMA.

  16. Aaron says:

    You can’t arrest a man for being beligerent or being a “jerk”. Dr. Gates may have yelled at the police officer and gave him “attitude”, but that is not against the law. Upon realizing that Dr. Gates did indeed live in the house, the police officer should have turned around and left. Sgt. Crowley did not arrest Dr. Gates in the house, the officer arrested Gates on his front porch. If Dr. Gates would really broken the law, the charges would not have been dropped.

  17. Susan says:

    What is interesting to me is that Prof. Gates neighborhood has had 8 break-ins recently, including his own home (Harvard owned) and he had never bothered to notify Harvard of his lock being broken from the break-in and requesting it be fixed while he away on his trip to China. Of course the police will investigate when they receive a possible break-in in progress call.

    Also, if you Google Prof. Bates and see the different stories he has told through the years about prejudice towards himself starting in childhood (he blames a doctor for misdiagnosing and not treating him because the doctor considered him a “too integlligent” black boy to treat him and the reason for his limp) you will see this has been building up for years and unfortunately it finally had him release his anger at the wrong person, not all the people that may have been prejudiced toward him and treated him unfairly in the past. If only he had had his lock fixed this would never have happened at all.

  18. Scott says:

    My opinion of Pres. Obama just eroded a little further. Now not only does the professor owe the cop a sincere apology, but so does the prez. Is there any doubt that the prof introduced race as an issue? He was arrested not on suspicion of burglary (which WOULD have been stupid), but for disturbing the peace AFTER having been warned several times. Sure, I’d have been upset too, but I’d have held my tongue and surely would not have weathered the event as well as the well connected prof under similar circumstances……

  19. Weary says:

    First off, there is too much speculation and assumption in the responses to this story (as there always is). People are too quick to react based on views and biases held previous to this event and NOT on the “facts” provided by the press and the party involved. I am ashamed at President Obama for making his statement that the police acted stupidly. This man was not arrested for trying to “enter his own home.” He was arrested for disorderly conduct. We (including Mr. President) should wait until there is a clearer picture of what happened before deciding whether or not this man was a victim of racial profiling. That being said, if gates was calm and collective and was still arrested, than he was profiled. If he was upset about being questioned and his pride led him to act disorderly and disrespectful to the officer than he should have been arrested. Saying the officers acted stupidly and not knowing the facts is just ignorance. Plain and simple.

  20. First of all, he was in the house when the police got there. He went in through the back with a key. He did show his ID. If you can prove other wise, do so, or shut up. My brother-in-law is a long time police officer. If Mr. Gates presented his ID and drivers license as proof of residence, the officer was to leave, period. I can say what I want, whenever I want, to whom ever I want. Per the Supreme Court. You play victim. I won’t. This man had just returned from China that great bastion of socialism to home the great bastion of democracy. I bet he didn’t suffer this indignity researching the lineage of YoYo Mah. My son is stopped by a white cop at leat 3 times a week backing out of his own driveway. He and his wife own their home in a predominately white area of Cleveland. I guess his wasn’t racism, either,right? He has no record, works, has owned and lived in the house 10 yrs. Still no racial profiling. He should just take betting butt ****** because you allow it. Not in this life and not this 60 year old grandmother, either.

  21. tom says:

    Nice that Obama played the race card.

  22. Scott Powell says:

    The bias is amazing. Mr. Gates did not get arrested for being in his own house. If he’d have stayed in there, he’d probably have been fine, even though he has berating a police officer without cause. He was arrested for being belligerent OUTSIDE the house. Did Mr. Gates come to the door when officers first arrived? No. Did he show identification when he was first asked? No. Did he treat the officers with any respect? No. Did he take his bad attitude outside for the world to see? Yes. Then he got arrested. Mr Gates deserved it. Race was not an issue from the officer’s perspective, only Mr. Gates. The officer was doing his job. Mr. Gates was being a bad citizen. His defenders are racists just as he is. Maybe we should see a re-enactment with a properly behaved citizen:
    *Knock * Knock * “Can I help you, officer?” “Yes, we are responding to a report of a possible break in at this address. Is this your home?” “Yes it is. What makes you think someone was trying to break in?” “A call was received that the front door was being forced open. Can you provide some identification?” “Yes. Oh sorry, that was me officer. I have just returned from a trip abroad, and the door was stuck. Here, this is my Harvard ID card” “Thank you sir. I will check this with the Harvard College police”

    What is so bloody hard about that?

  23. Why should Mr. Obama tell you where the money is coming from. You were too stupid to ask about a bogus war, weren’t you? Money, is definitely beyond your comprehension. As for what the president said, most of them are stupid, including my brother-in-law. I tell him this to his face and I love him to death. Brains were not high on the agenda. A lot of them are brilliant. I know too may who are. They are great and I would help them in any way possible. Don’t you ever tell a black man, president or no, what he can or cannot say. If you do a stupid thing, shout it out. Just like that stupid woman who is still ranting and raving about Obama’s place of birth. Now, that is a blithering idiot, if I ever heard one, including all the dimwits who stood up for an impromptu pledge of allegiance. Talk about real dimwitted idiots.

  24. PJ says:

    Gates said that it was only at the request of the black cop that the handcuffs were placed in front.
    You see Gates needs a cane to walk. The white cop couldn’t have cared any less. That cop seems to have domination and racial issues. I would not want him on the streets. You are not dealing with a career criminal here. It is a university professor.

  25. Susan says:

    Police Officer Crowley is the designated trainer for diversity training in Cambridge. Maybe both Prof. Gates who is a also a teacher can speak with each other on racial tolerance (from both angles) and collabote on a book or video together for the next generation that is coming up. Wouldn’t that be better than asking people to beg their apologies and/or not apoligizing and setting wrong examples for the younger ones? I bet it would be a bestseller with all this publicity and the Presiden’s endorsement. I actually think the police officer now will be famous like Joe the Plumber and may have been offered some deals already. And Prof. Gates will be asked to go on a speaking tour. That’s what being an American is all about…making lemonade out of lemons.

  26. Meese says:

    Gates was arrested not for being in his own home – not for “being a black man in America” – but because he gave the police a hard time when they were investigating a break in. If he had just given the officer his ID when asked for it, the first time, and did not turn this into a racial issue, we would have never heard of him or this report. It’s a shame when a police officer, someone who risks his life every day for the people of his community, is accused of wrong doing when all he was doing was his job.

  27. Adam says:

    Why is the President getting involved in a domestic disturbance case?

    A mayor if it got BIG n HOT…but the President of the United States of America? Obama are you going to be speculating on all racially charged domestic disturbances? You can be a guest host on COPS. Maybe start guest hosting “To Catch a Predator?” I mean how is rape less a crime than potential racial profiling?

    Is it racial profiling when a cop is called to a specific residence to investigate a possible break-in? I mean ANYONE that was inside that house would be a suspect…would they not? But since I don’t know the details let me get back to the clear violation…

    That’d Obama would give an opinion on a case that he does not know all the facts on? Disappointing.

  28. Why should you be believed. He was in the house and per Gates, was asked to come out on the front porch which he denied. When he did, he was arrested. He was already in the house. Let himself in with his key through the back. You weren’t there either. Why is it when black people call it at we see it, it is racism. White people call it justice? I don’t get it.

  29. rusty says:

    Obama had no business making any comment on this. so the guy is a friend so what. Someone is always shouting something about some race. I remember a time when americans were able to have our voices heard and it was ok. Now when a white person makes a comment we are racists. All races make comments about all races but whites are the one who are racists. To everyone who is not white, please allow us to use the english language without being labeled a racist.

  30. The president prefaced anything he said with, …a friend, ….not there, …..do not know the whole story but one thing in his favor which is considerably lacking here. He is an attorney and knows the law and considering my brother-in-law said basically the same thing, I bet his answer came from the law. Something most of you enablers would rather not fight for. IF, it were broad day light and he is the resident of this home, how did the ‘neighbor’ not know who he was? I just cannot get around that fact and the fact she discribed them as TWO large black men with back packs. Explain that one please.

  31. William says:

    President Obama addressed the Gates issue as only he could, honestly and straight forward which is something that many officials refuse to do even when the facts are on the table. The officer in question should of been made a example of and fired. There are plenty of Americans willing to take his job and uphold the laws of this great land without treating others as second class citizens. The police work for the American taxpayer. It is time to get beyond this nonsense in America. I have had it up to my ears with stupid behavior in America.

  32. Adam says:

    Joane it’s a neighbor that after having heard about EIGHT break-ins in their neighborhood…thought he/she was witnessing another. Maybe he/she is old and doesn’t see so well. I don’t know the witness do you? Do you know if the witness was white for example? I know you’d consider that detail important. You should find out!

    Personally I’d take comfort in knowing the cops would show up quickly if somebody was trying to break into my house.

    But yeah maybe the cop just went Rambo on the professor and the witness just hated living next to a black man so thought of a good plan to hassle him.

  33. We shout racism because it has been shouted at us too long. At 60, my first time was under 10 yrs of age by a teacher, no less. The second was from a cop when I was around 12. In the old Cleveland Stadium every August there was a sandlot game, Indians vs Cincy Reds. We received the tickets with our final report call. We were leaving the game walking up 9th street to where my father would pick us up away from the crowd. Anyone who remembers the old stadium knows how treacherous the ramp was, leaving. One of our friends twisted her ankle and it was visibly swelling. We had to help her. We were 12 and younger. The white cop at 9th and St Clair told us to get our black n-word a**es up the hill or he would run us in. We tried to explain, he just repeated the ‘word’. That is just two of many. So spare me your whining. You have 400 yrs of precedence.

  34. Adam, where have you been. All over the net, cnn, etc., it was told a white woman called in the 911 call. I did not pull her from a hat. I still say, if I came home, break ins or no and I saw my ‘neighbor’ doing the same thing, white, green, yellow, martian from mars, I would know of them if not them. It was day light. If it had been at night, I would not be so harsh. Day light. I do not know everyone on my street but I know them by sight. She didn’t? My son is 6’6″ and no way, unless you are legally blind, would you mistake Gates with him.

    • rebecca says:

      Joane
      The woman who called in the incident was not a resident of the neighborhood. She worked nearby for Harvard Magazine. So she does not know professor Gates. Unfortunetly for her she was trying to be a good citizen and call in suspicious behavior in a area that has recently had 8 break-ins. One in Professor Gates’ own home. Please do a little more research before you comment on something you dont have all the facts for. It has been widely written about in all the Boston papers. Maybe you could go online and read about it there. While I believe both parties in this instance could have behaved better, jumping to conclusions without knowing exactly all the facts as they have been reported is irresponsible.

  35. Marc L says:

    It is all about respect, not color. The two just happen to coincide. Respect yourself, respect others and you will be respected back. It is an obvious secret that people like “Rev” Jesse Jackson, “Rev.” Jeremiah Wright, “Rev” Al Sharpton don’t want black people to understand. What they preach actually enslaves black people to the masses. The fact is, if we are to have an honest discussion on racism, as so many black scholars claim to want, then it has to be a two way discussion. Most black people would consider what I just said racist. I don’t. Bill Cosby doesn’t. He has said and written it many times. But because it came from a white person, it is racist.

  36. Rick (from Atlanta) says:

    The same thing happened to me one day when I forgot to lock the back door and the wind blew it open, setting off the alarm, which brought the local cops to my house with guns drawn. I was aware of none of that when I came home and opened the front door to find myself face to face with a couple of pretty gruff cops asking me for my ID. I complied, they apologized, and then left without incident.

    Whether I was not arrested because I’m not black, or else because I was just too stunned to get belligerent with the police, is hard for me to say. Maybe both. But I was struck, after I regained my composure, by the singular lack of respect shown me as one of the founders, in 1980, of a certain popular TV network. Okay, so maybe they weren’t aware of my national prominence when they entered my home; still, they could always have googled me!

    But my guess is that this was a confrontation between two parties who believe they were not receiving the respect they deserved — one for being a homeowner who finds himself confronted by cops who seemingly invaded his house for no good reason, and the other for being a cop just doing his job and being confronted by an ungrateful and rude citizen — that somehow turned into a black-white thing, which probably shouldn’t have been.

    I voted for Obama once and plan to do so again, but in this particular case, I think he carelessly stepped in something he shouldn’t have. But did he do it because he’s black? Hey, we tend to forget that, technically speaking, he’s only half black! His other half is white!

    And while we mull the meaning of that one, if any, let’s just try to get this one behind us as soon as possible.

    Yet somehow, I’m afraid this story, being much more interesting than Healthcare, will have as many legs as a centipede, helped along not only by Hannity and the gang, but also by the president, who, as a famously smart man, should have known better.

    Rick

  37. Rick, when should black people, excuse me, he may be bi-racial but until recently by white man’s law, if you had a drop of black blood you were black(negro) speak up about wrongs? Ronald Reagan labeled us all criminals with mention of one name. Where was the white outrage, then? Whenever crime came up, they spoke of us by inuendo or directly. We were wefare queens, crack addicts, drug dealers, you name it. Nothing was said.
    Well dear, race has been used by many white politicians to get elected and now, the president cannot acknowledge what he has experienced in his life because you don’t deem it appropriate? What really gets my goat, a Supreme court justice, I believe to the KKK oath but we better not voice this, right?

    • Rick (from Atlanta) says:

      “Rick, when should black people, [excuse me, he may be bi-racial but until recently by white man’s law, if you had a drop of black blood you were black(negro)] speak up about wrongs?”

      Exactly my point. In fact, maybe ironically, it brings to mind one of my favorites of the works of Henry Louis Gates, the one in which he surprises a number of African American celebrities with geneological studies showing they they have more European than African blood in their veins.

      But this is interesting, because by saying this, you seem to be putting yourself in a group — one I think would be mostly made up of white people, and many of them very bigotted whites — who would argue that Obama only took the position he did because he’s black.

      When to speak up about wrongs? Anytime is a good time, but when the wrongs don’t seem to be there, no good is done when you say there are. In the Gates case, I’d be much more willing to believe Gates if, in fact, he charged that the cop made racist remarks to him; did Gates claim this? If so I missed it. In fact, we are left with nothing more than the suggestion that Gates was singled out for some sort of unspecified abuse, since he’s obviously black! It’s an easy case to make to any black in America who has themselves, or knows anyone who has been, picked up simply because of the color of their skin.

      My point in talking about my similar experience was to underline the fact that, the only thing that keeps my case from being used to illustrate how blacks are discriminated against in these situations is the fact that I’m not black! If I were black, than it would be assumed by many that I’m just another sorry statistic. As it is, the only lesson that be learned is that sometimes whites also find cops in their home, demanding to see IDs.

      But this is one of those times when experience unfairly trumps reason: Just because it sometimes happens doesn’t mean it happens every time. And if ever we get to the point where abandoning reasonableness overwhelms finding common ground, than there will be no purpose whatsoever to having any dialogue about race.

      “Ronald Reagan labeled us all criminals with mention of one name. Where was the white outrage, then? Whenever crime came up, they spoke of us by inuendo or directly. We were wefare queens, crack addicts, drug dealers, you name it. Nothing was said.”

      Sure it was. You just weren’t listening. Lots of us still make fun of the old man and his imaginary “welfare queen” story to this day.

      I suppose I could say where was the black praise for all the white people, standing up against racism in this country back then?

      Did you ever speak up to publicly thank the white folks who were beaten and killed while trying to register blacks in the South?

      Maybe so and I just didn’t hear it.

      (Hope there are no typos in this, but they’ll have to stay in, since I got to go pick up my kid from camp now. It’s been nice talking with you!)

      Rick

  38. Marc L says:

    Here is an idea for black people. Instead of blaming white people for discrimination and profiling and everything else that happens to you, look inward. Blame the statistics. Blame the majority of black people that fit the profile and give the rest of you a bad name. Blame the media for glorifying the thug culture. Blame the so- called “reverands” Sharpton, Jackson, and Wright for preaching that black people are incapable of independant thought and unable to overcome any obstacles on their own . And don’t just blame them. Do something about it other than whine. There are more than enough examples of prominant black people who looked to themselves to better their lives. There really is no more excuses today. Black people have proven by example that while color may make the ladder harder to climb, it can still be done. Playing the race card just isn’t as believable any more and will only turn people against you.

  39. babybear says:

    So sick and tired of the poor me syndrome people of all colors have these days, not taking responsibilty for there own actions … slip and fall sue the store . get pregnant rely on goverment for support. always someone elses fault but there own.. There are some good cops and some bad. just like politicians.etc….. but obama went way over the line in calling the police officers action stupid. I have no respect for obama anymore which is sad because I was expecting change… the only thing I will have left when hes through is change in my pocket

  40. Adam says:

    Is it just me or is America getting MORE racist?

    Joanne I am 36. I have no slaves. My family is only 2nd generation American. They had no slaves. It is MORE likely that you have had a slave owner in your family tree than me.

    I’d like to hear from some Jews who have had family killed by Germans in concentration camps.

    We have the generic white response and the generic black response covered.

    Any Orthodox Jews in the house?

    Any Africans (not American) in the house?

    What is the Latino response to this?

    What about the Asians? We always forget about the Asians. It’s too bad too because they were the most recently persecuted by the white man.
    Between railroad slavery and Japanese internment camps…they are bound to have an opinion right?

    While we are discussing race…

    How come only blacks have a history month anyways? You NEVER, EVER, EVER hear of a single Asian wanting a month of attention and admiration do you? Maybe if you understood why they would not want that kind of attention…you would understand why they don’t need it.

  41. The only thing to be assumed as racist is considering me or anyone like me racist. I am not. yet, you cannot have a dialogue when you limit the playing field. You cannot allow me to acknowledge wrongs because it ‘appears’ racist. That won’t work. i agree whole heartedly with Bill Cosby. My family is so much like theirs it’s scary. 5 daughters, all have degrees. 7 grandkids, all but 2 still in high school, have degrees, the great grands are too young, the oldest, my grandson is only 6 reads on a 5th grade level and comprehends. has a 115 IQ which was lowered because he scored only a little above average in Math. Has mastered Bookworm, Scrabble, etc. Loves video games. Loves to read. Harry Potter. His music likes are from MJ to the Beatles(he had this guy laughing in the market because he started singing ‘Hey Jude’ with the song over the intercom).
    As for the ‘revs’. I do not care for Sharpton nor Jessie(not even during the civil rights movement). As for Rev Wright, it goes to what I said about open dialogue. White people label Mitt Romney a great christian man and vilified Wright. Mitt’s church preaches blacks were put here to be their slaves during life and after death and not one word was ever spoken of this during this election. Black men were not nor never would be good enought to rise to deacon. You cannot have open dialogue unless it covers it all. They had a bogus ephiphany about 30+ yrs ago that changed them. Yet, from all I have read they still do not allow black deacons.

  42. Adam says:

    I am to blame for derailing the train. For that I apologize…but perhaps it’s not all for naught.

    The white man is a master of nobody. WE are not unbeatable. We are very beatable as a matter of fact. Go to a university science lab and tell me what race is representing there. Indians and other Asians. Go to a university math lab and see the same. Go to a university music lab and see the same. Engineering…etc.

    I think white people are still dominant at hockey.
    (not me personally though…I can’t skate)

    China is absolutely, positively beating the living cr_p out of you and I Joanne. We are both global minorities to a race of people that is passing us by VERY quickly. Perhaps it’s time we pooled our efforts on the behalf of OUR country?

    Let stories like this get less media play and focus more on the positive achievements of Americans?

    We are after all swirling around a toilet bowl about to be flushed.

    I still don’t know what happened at the Gates house. I’m assuming that if it’s a he said/she said thing…I never will.

  43. Adam, I love history. In fact my major was English History and literature and minor was English. One sister taught English and French and has her masters. Another sister was valedictorian of her high school class and was told by the advisor in college to become a bookkeeper, not the CPA she is today.
    You really should get angry with the lack of any history. Especially American, period. You speak of the Japanese, Jews, etc. They have a history. You have days, even. We have nothing. Not our names, our history, nothing. We learn of what we can because you(white America) took the rest away. I envy white people, Japanese, Italian, etc. My 4 grandchildren are lucky. They can actually celebrate St Patricks day. Their father’s grandmother came from Ireland. That dummy never knew, he does not know too much of anything. I am equal opportunity when it comes to village idiots. I have no patience. I just have this thing for fairness. That is my one flaw if it is one. Fairness.

  44. Scott Powell says:

    Joanne, have you read the police reports? Both the one filed by Crowley and the one filed by Figueroa? Mr. Gates was being uncooperative and belligerent the entire time. No officer is disputing that. Yes, I implicitly and explicitly believe the officers. And actually, Gates attorney admits that he used “strong language”.

    Why do you try to redirect the argument and ask why the “white” neighbor didn’t recognize him? I have not seen it reported anywhere that she knew the man. When I lived in the ‘burbs, I knew many of my neighbors, but I’m sure there were some one a few houses away that I did not.

    Why is it that it seems all minorities want to make everything a minority issue? If Mr. Gates had shown the officer any respect, it would have been fine. There really isn’t any more to it. These things do not need to degenerate into whose ancestors oppressed whom. This incident stands alone. Might there be incidents where an officer makes things worse? Of course. But here? I don’t see it.

  45. Adam, you noticed that, too? I go to the Cleveland Clinic. My doctors have gone from black, white to what ever. Asian, Arabic, Indian, Pakistani and the attitudes by some is irritating. I had to bless one out. Sorry. You speak to me as if I were your child. Only my parents can do that and your name is not on the birth certificate. Some of them are the most abrasive people known to man. If I am not following orders, its on me, not you. I may have my problems with America but I will defend her to the death and I won’t be spoken down to by a Johnny-come-lately, either!!!!

  46. Leon says:

    The police were wrong in this case and it is about time this kind of issue was addressed on a national level.

  47. Scott, no I have not read the police reports. I never looked for them. I am questioning the neighbor because being on the next street does not make you a neighbor. You live in the neighborhood. Why do you keep trying to make me see things from your view point? I can’t think for myself? I can’t add? Why do you think everyone has a good meeting with officers? Especially blacks? I have to tell my son to call me when he gets home if his wife isn’t with him when he comes to visit. Why? They own their home in a predominately white neighborhood and a cop likes to stop him for no reason for his ID. They have been there 10 years. You tell me. My opinions comes from lifes experiences. Maybe if you gave us all labotomies we could start fresh and alow them to walk all over us, too.

  48. sumday says:

    Gates was mistaken for a burglar and then mouth oft to a cop that is why he was arrested! I’m white and 3 yr ago I was changing the clutch cable in my car at my appt and was working on it so long I fell asleep laying on the floor of my car someone called the cops and reported me as a homeless man sleeping in a car. You know what I did when the 2 black cops showed up? I gave them my license and they followed me to my appt and made me unlock my door to prove that I lived there. hmmm did they do that because I was white or because it was their job? What do you think the cops would have done to me if I had given them an attitude? Oh yeah although cops are held to a higher standard society cannot expect them to be more or act more than a human. If we have bad police officers it is because we have a bad society since that is where officers come from to begin with.

  49. babybear says:

    I have a black cop in my area spreading all kinds of rumors(lies) about me and my family and us being white trash. Is he being racist? I personally dont give a rats a*s . maybe he dosent like me and my family? can I complain YES. but I choose not to . The only person that matters to me….. is the man upstairs who we will all have to anwser too.

  50. Summday, they may have. Can you prove they didn’t? Why should they have followed you anywhere? You had broken no law. That’s called being a victim. We refuse to be one and are called racist.
    babybear, he is a racist and I wouldn’t stand for his antics, either. Sorry. if it walks and talks like a duck, it is one. As for waiting for the man upstairs, God helps those who helps themselves. You do what you can on your end and leave the rest to him. You do nothing. No me. Not too many black people any longer. We had the ‘Miss Celie” mentality, too one time. No longer, too muvh has happened.

  51. sumday says:

    joane you are out there! You say you don’t have any history what a bunch of BS. your history is the same as “white America’s” history. Maybe you can’t trace your roots back to Adam and Eve but few if any one can. I’m white and can only go back to right after the civil war. What I find ironic is I have never seen “blacks” protest the atrocities that are going on in African countries right now. I probably know more about what is happening in your county of origin then you. You speak of life experiences well I’ve be robbed twice (once at gun point), and jumped for being in the wrong place once, guess what they were all done by black people does that mean I’m justified not to trust or believe black people because of my life experiences? You may not be racist (or not know that you are) but you certainly communicate like one. BLAME THE WHITE GUY they are the ones who brought us to this country. What I hate the most is people who have never experienced slavery but still use it as a crutch to justify and blame others for their current situation.

  52. Scott Powell says:

    So now we are going to dissect the word neighbor. Fine. Neighbor: a person who lives near another. Shall I look up “near” now? Just more misdirection.

    I am not trying to make you see things from my point of view. But I’d think it’d be great to see a comment on the topic at hand. All of your comments are generalities about “too much has happened” and resisting “the man”.

    I think your son can take care of himself. And you can write about your DWB when it is relevant.

    But what do your life experience have to do with a guy who gets arrested for being disrespectful to police officers who were there legitimately?

    I hate to sound racist here, because I am not, but what is the solution here other than segregation? Not promoting it, just asking. If it were an all black neighborhood with only black cops able to respond, does that solve this problem? After seeing the comments of those who are on your side of the issue, I cannot see another solution. Enlighten me. Yes, I know it would never really work because you can’t segregate the roads, etc. I just want you to think. Would this have been different if the Professor was white? Of course. The “neighbor” still would have called about two white males forcing a door open. But, the home owner would have complied, and the officer would have left. What about the colors reversed? Still no problem, because the white home owner will not give the black officer disrespect (see sumday’s message). Also, if Sumday was homeless and sleeping in someone else’s car, he is breaking law. Did the cops need to follow him? Yes, he told them that he lived in a nearby apartment. I believe the officer has the right to verify information.

    What would have been very cool, is if the cop had an open mic the entire time so that the officers and Mr. Gates were recorded in their entirety. Still, sadly, some would still support Gates even if everything in the arrest report is correct.

  53. babybear says:

    Joane, Do you really think filing a complaint will do me any justice? No I havent tried nor will I . I do have plenty of people as witnesses tho. I dont want myself or my family harassed by the police. I dont have the time or energy to fight the “agency”. . the point I was trying to make is YES god wants us to help ourselves but I know who me and my family are and am very proud . The officer thats saying were white trash is just making himself look bad and is not being very professional.

  54. Sumday-I took up for you because I see you as a person. A woman, I guess, maybe? American history is not my history. Never was. We were made less than human. We were enslaved. No laws were ours. laws were made to lynch us. Congress refused to pass anti-lynching laws. Schools to the ’70′s refused black enrollees. How is that my history? So you cannot trace yours. I can trace George Washington’s to the thrown of England. i can trace the names of states and cities to their country of origin. Hawaii was once called the sandwich Islands after the Earl of Sandwich. I want to know more. Hopefully, I will. I have never felt a prt of anything in this country. I have always felt outside, looking in.
    Okay, Scott, let’s not get imbecilic. You are dealing with an educated 60 year old black woman, widow, mother of 3 and grandmother of 4. Neighbor in this case means someone near by. Next door. A couple of houses down. down the block but on the same street. This is a college town. He is a professor and has been for years. He is on PBS at least in 6 months out of the year. When you look up, there he is. Is this simplistic enough for you? My part of the street is maybe 4 blocks long. I know who lives on either end. I do not know their name but if I saw them in the mall I would know them. That is what I call a neighbor. As for my son, just as I thought, it is perfectly okay for him to be stopped for no reason, per white America. I guess if he taken in, it would be his fault Or the cop decides to take him home to show where he lives, that’s fine, too. As for following the gentleman home. I still say no. There was no probable cause.
    Yet, again, nothing on Mitt Romney, either, is there? Double standard again?

  55. sumday says:

    Joane In your mind just how are the cops suppose to protect anyone or prevent a crime? I suppose the cops are just suppose to believe everything they are told, they have no right to verify anything, but are responsible for letting everything bad happen right? You talk a lot about freedoms, being victims, standing up for yourself and rights, but I’ve yet to hear you mention anything about duty, responsibility, or expectations of being a citizen. The more freedoms people have the more prone they are to abuse and twist them. Rather than preach to use our freedoms responsibly you preach to abuse them and shove everything including blame in the face of society. FYI it is attitudes like yours that agitates many people not your skin color.

  56. babybear, I am not telling you what to do. You asked was this racist and I said yes. Profiling, yes. No matter the rqace, creed or color of the officer. Ditto for the person detained. If this had been the other way around, I would feel just as strongly. If Gates had been white and the cop black, and the person who called had been a black woman, my fellings would not change. Do you get it yet, I believe in fairness. I believe we should all be treated with respect, especially by public servants. We should not be their whipping boys/girls. They do not de-facto get our worhipful hommage just because they took an oath. They should earn it.

  57. Steven says:

    The arresting officer in this Gates ‘robbery’ thing
    was Sgt. James Crowley. Please read this related
    article. It states everything that could ever be
    necessary about his professionalism. I heard Gates
    refer to him as a ‘rogue cop’. I think not.

    http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20090722cop_who_arrested_henry_gates_im_not_apologizing/srvc=home&position=0

  58. Cops should not abuse their power. From their inception they have done just that. Read history, fascinating. I want them to do their job. My brother-in-law does. My friends, who are cops and firemen do but they have some who are certifiable. 2 summers ago an officer became enraged because his neighbors blew fire crackers for the 4th. He went next door and killed 2 people. Then, there is another they call out of control to whom I would trust everything. If he asked for ID, I would give it with a smile. He jumped into the icy river to save a mother and child whose car went in. You made the statement, the more freedoms people have the mistakes they make. Sorry, to burst your bubble but that is what Saddam, Hitler, the little idiot in North Korea, King George of England and quite a few other said when they denied the freedoms of their people or tried to keep America under England sovereignty. I don subscribe to that.

  59. sumday says:

    Joane if your ancestors went through all the lynching and slavery then that is your history! It may be tragic and unfair but that is your history. Africa and the things going on there now is part of your heritage because that is the country of your origin. Just because you don’t like your history doesn’t mean it is not your history. I can’t help it or change what happened before I was born nor can you. All the past can offer anyone is guilt, all the future can offer anyone is hope and all the present can offer anyone is opportunity. You say that it wasn’t your laws that were passed yet look at most countries their people don’t make the laws it is the dictator or generals that make the laws and everyone has to follow it (same as what you described). I just find it astounding that you claim your ancestors went through slavery, but don’t feel that is your history. Sorry it is just from what I know about history if any group of people have anything to complain about it is the American Indians. They were treated far worse than any other people, yet they are about the only group that you don’t hear complaining about something.

  60. Stacy Dennis says:

    Let me start by stating that I am a black woman. I have witnessed firsthand what it means to be a “Black man in America” because I am married to a black man who has had numerous profiling incidents. However, I need to take a stand here because this discussion has literally gone racial. I am so tired of black people crying racism every time you look around. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. When it really matters no one is going to take you seriously. I too am truly surprised that a man like President Obama would take this stand with the facts that have been presented so far.
    First- The neighbor called the police because she saw two men forcing their way into someone’s home. I live in a neighborhood that has both black and white neighbors. I cannot distinguish who lives here simply by the color of their skin. If I saw two men forcing their way into the door of someone’s home I would call the police. However, let’s say for the sake of the race argument that she is a racist. How exactly does that make the officer a racist, simply by responding to the call of a brake in? That is his job and he had no idea who or what he would find upon his arrival.
    Second- Gates knew that he had forced the door. He is a Harvard professor, with that said I would assume that he’s reasonably intelligent. Any reasonably intelligent person should have considered the fact that regardless of whether you are black, white or green, if someone sees you forcing open a door, in all likelihood they will call the police. An intelligent response would have been, “Officer, I live here, my door was jammed, let me get you my identification so that we can clear this up.” Instead he immediately played the race card, was belligerent and “he” was stupid. Just because you have book smarts doesn’t mean you have common sense.
    Third- Once the officer reviewed his Identification he could have ignored Professor Gates and his triad and left the premises, however I must agree with one of the previous bloggers. Most police officers have a low tolerance for belligerent behavior regardless of the person’s race. Had the officer been a racist, again I agree with the person who said he would have thrown him to the ground and handcuffed him and made it as humiliating as possible. It seems to me that the only person who showed restraint here was the officer.
    Fourth- Just because you are a fancy pancy professor doesn’t mean you can speak to people anyway you want to. Had he given the officer respect from the beginning, he would have received it in return. Had the professor responded in a cordial and professional manner and THEN the officer arrested him, THAT would have been behaving stupidly.
    Fifth- President Obama, I love you, but shame on you. As Commander –in-Chief, if you felt compelled to side with your friend on this matter, you should have remained silent rather than speak ill of law enforcement when the current facts did not show him to have used excessive force or conduct himself in a manner that was disrespectful to the uniform.

  61. No, the Native Americans aren’t. They are doing something that makes me laugh, buying her back piece meal.
    I never said I did not like my history. I said I had none. America has a history but she did not become America until 1776. She had a history from 1492 and possibly well before them from the vikings. My youngest daughter and i are working on our extended history. That is what i want. I know so many histories. Irish, English,German, African(not just Egypt, either). Contrary to popular belief in black communities, Cleopatra was not black, she was a Ptolemy from Greece. they were originally placed on the throne by Alexander the Great. That is what i want to do with my ancestry. It’s called curiosity not dislike or hatred.

  62. Leron Hicks says:

    Ms. Johnson: It’s people like you that give the rest of us a bad name. There was no racism here, just a citizen with a bad attitude. You distort the facts to meet your own ends, yet you insist others prove their assumptions.

    Sure, there are cases of racism, but this isn’t one of them. By drawing so much attention to an incident that is obviously not race related, you take the importance away from the true incidents.

    I agree, let’s fight racism. That just isn’t the case here.

  63. Sumday, America was to be different. Built on democracy. One vote. One rule. No dictator. A president. Freedom. Justice. Read the preamble to the Constitution. It spells it out. This country was not founded to be like any other. Yet, even John Adams, our second president, was ashamed that slaves built the white house for the head of a democracy and that he could not sway the southerners to abolish slavery.

  64. James Stevens says:

    According to the Massachusetts Law regarding Disorderly Conduct it is clearly stated that:

    a. The defendant engaged in violent or tumultuous behavior.
    b. The defendant’s actions were reasonably likely to affect the public.
    c. The defendant either intended to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly created a risk of public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm.

    What is very troubling and intellectually insulting is that President Obama, a Harvard Law Graduate, made a statement of judgment on the arrest without 1) understanding all the facts, and 2) even if the facts are not known, the arrest was for “Disorderly Conduct” not for “Breaking and Entering”, therefore, there is no relevance to whether or not there was proof Mr. Gates was in his own home. Additionally, the law itself is silent as to the setting in which the Disorderly Conduct was exhibited (i.e. public vs private).

    And this is THE President of the United States AND a Harvard Professor…I guess common sense and critical thinking are not required for those positions.

  65. Another thing. I consider my history separate from America’s. You are getting it mixed up. I speak only of my history. The history of my family/people. Not America’s. i never said slavery was not my history. The declaration of Independence is not. it was not written for slaves. The Dred Scot Decision was not made for America. It was made for black slaves. Separate.

  66. sumday says:

    Joane I said the more freedoms people have the more they are prone to abuse them, and since you like history so much can you point to a law that hasn’t been abused? Laws are good if they are followed, but people create loop holes and twist meanings that is where anger at the law comes from not at the law itself. You are right about cops shouldn’t abuse their power; however, cops are human and that is the tendency of humans, so how do you create a police force that does not abuse power when humans by nature are prone to do this? Also where do you draw the line between abuse of power and doing their job or do we only base it on the outcome of the situation? This Gates thing half the people think the officer was doing his job and half the people think he was abusing his power, so how do you draw the line and when and how is the officer suppose to know the difference? Is there any protection for the cop? (I’m speaking to small things here there are clearly cases when it is obvious of abuse of power).

  67. Rebecca, thank you. i would have called in that instance. The whole story. She was not a neighbor. That one little item had me.

  68. sumday, you got me. I wish I knew. I have a running ‘discussion’ with our local newspaper editor. He is a white man and the only person with whom I can speak my mind. Black people think I am too upity. White people, don’t get me until they just talk to me as he did. I do not have the answers except I believe in fairness. If it is wrong to profile blacks, it’s just as wrong to do so with whites, arabs, moslems, gays, anyone.
    My real solution for those two. Go to dinner, out of town, quietly. Talk. Air out your differences. Me, I would not have made the scene. I woul dhave been angry as hell, IF, it was as Gate said. If not, ID out. Over. No one knew. I would have been taken aback by the number of cops on the porch, though. When my husband and i bought our home it had belonged to a woman who died and her children lost it. One of the sons had an outstanding warrant, he is still in jail for that. Imagine our surprise when the sheriff came to our door at 3 in the morning looking for this fool. I didn’t know him. Didn’t know what he looked like. He had to search the house. All the ID’s , mail, insurance paper, tax papers, meant nothing. They searched our home and I consider the most humiliating thing anyone could do and I was angry and I told the sheriff that. We spoke civily. To this day over 15 yrs later he speaks to me whenever he sees me. He had to search but I did not have to like it.

  69. James, you were not there and unless you had a crystal ball , you don’t know what was intended. All the legal jargon means nothing if the facts do not match. What I am reading now, reads he was in the house and was asked outside. Obama can say what he wants, when he wants by the officer. He can voice an opinion whenever he wants. He was raked over the coals during the election and he said nothing. He took it. Lies, half truths, you name it. Jackie Robinson took it, too, and it ultimately killed him. It came out on the Black in America II program last night, something I saw a while ago, black people no longer fight, they take the road of least resistence to ‘get along’. Not me. We can meet at the cross roads and have a nose to nose argument and once it was over or not, I would offer you your favorite drink. Mine is a manhattan with sweet vermouth on the rocks with a cherry but i won’t hate you, dislike you, just respect your position and defend it.

  70. sumday says:

    Joane Saying your history is separate and saying such things like the declaration of independence is separate from your history is like saying within the water molecule the hydrogen atom is different than the oxygen atom. Yes the “black” race had separate issues/laws than the “white” race, but both races history are intertwined and to assert that yours is separate and that you feel no connection to the “white” history is wrong and to me racist. Did it occur to you that by mentally separating the histories in your mind you make yourself racist? So then by your augment I guess the current hate laws are your history not mine because it was passed only for minorities not majorities (are white people even a majority anymore?).

  71. I did not say I felt no connect. I said I feel nothing. I feel like an outsider. Thqat is different. If I went to a rap concert I would feel the same way. If Iwere in a room full of foreigners and I did not speak the language, I would feel that way. I have never felt wanted. My editor finally understood what I meant. Be honest, have you ever felt like you did not belong? Or, you were made to feel that way? i was made to feel that way at a very young age and my guard went up and is still there.

  72. Hate laws are universal. I just wish whenever someone does something to someone gay, they try them with the hate laws. When they kill a doctor because he performed abortions. Change the law. Do not kill the people obeying the law.

  73. corvedacosta says:

    Obama is a racist. He sat in a church that made the whitey comments for 20 years. Gates was wrong to have played the race card. If you read the report time and time again he made comments hinting at racial profiling.

  74. corvedacosta–Next time write about Mitt Romney ands the Mormons who said black people were put here to be there slaves and remain so after death. Then I will listen to you. I am tired of the bogus dumb-assed right wing reports you all dream up. Like the idiot woman crying tha t Obama was not an American. Don’t get me started you wouldn’t like it.

    I give black people a bad name, huh? Let me see. Two parenst married 56 years at my dad’s death. 5 daughters with degrees from associate to masters. I would have been married 38 years this year if my husband had not passed. 3 children. 4 grandchildren. No teen pregnancies. No criminal records. Own our homes. Grandson reads on a 5th grade level at 6. 115 IQ. Raised in Church. Dad a WWII veteran at leyte and Luzan. I could go on. If that is giving us a bad name. Name On!!!

    Thanking white people. I wrote a letter to the editor of our local paper. A black male wrote a letter maligning the Jewish population. I fired back, I wrote, I was tired of black people listening to everyone instead of reading history and learning for themselves. Jews and other whites like Viola Liuzzo fought and died for us just to vote. They stood on the front line when it was dangerous for them to do so. i wrote they would always have a friend in me and no one would create another holocaust on my watch if I could help it. This is one of the reasons Rev. Jackson irks me so, he seems to have forgotten who ‘walked/marched’ with them as he embraced those who called us toms. I received 10 phone calls and letters from the Jewish community thanking me. So yes, my dear. I thank. i remember and i am loyal to a fault. That sign of Pisces, i guess.

  75. corvedacosta says:

    You know we ought to take responsibility for actions. Black people are the first to pull the racist card. So what if a white person cannot stand you move on, they are not racists. You ought to become just less passionate and accept the reality in the black community. Some history is important to know, but moving on is so critical.

  76. I don’t pull the race card first. I take a wait and see. I ask questions. if it looks funny I question. It is amazing, Obama was called a racist by you because of his minister but when I called you on Mitt Romney and his church teaching we were meant to be slaves, I got the same BS. Nothing or why don’t we just get along. I believe in taking responsibility for your actions. Shoot somone, go to jail. Sell Drugs, go to jail, white/black same time or same rehab. You go to school, work, be the best you can be at whatever you choose. Don’t make babies you cannot take care of or have them with fathers with 15 by 12 women thinking he is going to take care of yours. I can go on. Now black people are going to be angry.

  77. corvedacosta says:

    lol this is funny.
    Why do u associate Romney with his church but you cannot associate Obama with his church and rev wright for 20 years. It is a fact his church spoke with a racial voice against white people. I am not thinking about Romney right now, he is a non issue and he will continue to be that.
    you need to accept that obama sat in that church for 20 years with those harsh gospel messages.
    You need to ask yourself what Obama really thinks about white people. lol Take a break and think about that. So when he came to the defense of a hissy fit that Gates had I am not shocked.

  78. No I don’t. That’s his church. I never would have left. That does not make me a racist. God is not my pastor nor he him. My minster is the village idiot. No education. Anti-woman. Does not believe in a woman in the pulpit. I have been in my chuch over 50 yrs. I have no intentions of going any place else. Your church is ahome. A place you build lasting frienships. A meeting place. i taugh sunday school. I played the piano. One of the members made my prom dress. leave because of an idiots views. Mitt is not a no issue. they want to groom him for the next election. Spare me. No matter what Wright said, it was his right to say it under the constitution, he never condemned anyone to perpetual slavery. They are denying black men the right, in that church, to raise to deacon. They aren’t good enough. If you do not get it. Too bad. People do not leave their churches on a whim or beliefs they do not agree with. If they did, a lot of Catholics would leave on the birth control issue. The child molestation cases. The fact a pope accused Jews of killing Christ which led to many of the pograms and eventually the holocaust. Wright did nothing on that scale. Even poor Mary Magdalene was labeled a whore by a pope. She wasn’t. What his minister said is none of your business and no one elses. Separation of church and state works both ways.

  79. I’m sorry. Romney’s church taught this. This was a part of their teachings. Nothing Rev Wright said was a part of any teachings in a baptist church. Like all the ones I know, we use a book for sunday school. The Bible for everything else. They use THEIR Bible. Wright’s sermons are his thoughts, his words. The Mormon teachings are their beliefs and what is taught like we teach the story of Job.

  80. Pingback: Our Magnificent Obsession with Nonsense « Just Above Sunset

  81. We have three observations about the Harvard professor incident:

    1. We find it interesting that the fact that this was the professor’s home was evidently not established early on way before the dispute escalated;

    2. We find it fascinating that the versions of two members of society, who most would ordinarily view as responsible and honest citizens (this obviously does not include politicians), would vary so dramatically from a factual point of view.

    3. Finally, considering that the reading and viewing public were not present at the scene (and thus have no first hand knowledge), and that there is no video tape to our knowledge of the sequence of events and what was said, how so many have formed conclusions, and made assumptions, about who did what and who was wrong.

    There are some things which Professor Gates might have considered upon the arrival of the police, no matter how incensed he may have been.

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