Harvard Professor Arrested--Gates Black in America

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by Theonly1, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. Theonly1

    Theonly1 New Member

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    Can you believe this? The man breaks into his own house and is arrested!

    Apparently, the police asked him for his i.d. which he gave them in addition to his Harvard I.D. Even I recognized this honorable scholar the minute they showed his picture on my t.v. Lord have mercy.

    Allegedly, Gates got pissy with the police after they did not believe him and called them "racist" and said, "This is what happens to black people in America."

    Sure seems like it.
     
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  3. STEADFAST

    STEADFAST New Member

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    I read this last night. Unbelievable. Louis Gates is one of the most admired and most famous black scholars in the world, but even he's not immune to the "assumptions" of the local LE.
     
  4. Theonly1

    Theonly1 New Member

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    I know it! So these Mayberry cops don't know when they see a distinguished black man; what kind of rubes are they? Seriously.

    Methinks they would arrest Obama too, or Clarence Thomas.

    I also presume that if he had been WHITE he never would have been arrested.
     
  5. Theonly1

    Theonly1 New Member

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    Press conference now:

    Media: "Should the professor have been arrested?"

    Spokeswoman for Cambridge Police: "There was probable cause for the arrest"

    [Police are saying Gates became "loud and tumultous". Is it against the law to become loud and tumultous?]

    Media: "Why did it take so long...for charges to be dropped?"

    A: "disagree with characterization that it took a long time..."

    The media rep says the best thing to do is to get past it (Oh, I am SO SURE they want to get past it). She says cooler heads did not prevail.
     
  6. Sonne

    Sonne New Member

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    I hope he files suit. Some in this country still can't get past skin color. How long is it going to take?
     
  7. gitana1

    gitana1 Verified Attorney

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    Just imagine what happens to ordinary black men on a regular basis. It is totally ridiculous. Professor Gates is a light-skinned, scholarly, black man. The vast majority of African Americans do not fit that description and are treated much, much worse on a regular basis.
    I worked for two white attorneys, conservative and seemed prejudiced to me. They used words for minorities that I disapproved of. I had to leave the firm as a result of the difference in ethical perspectives. However, even they recognized the disparity in treatment of white people and minorities by LE. They both worked as judge pro tems (temporary judges) in traffic court. They told me that whenever a black man came in on a traffic citation, they just pretty much automatically dismissed their cases because the profiling was so obvious as to be outrageous. Perhaps the professor did get a bit snarky when questioned. I do not blame him. People argue that the election of a black president proves racism is largely dead in this country. That's nonsense. Half the country did not vote for him and I'm sure many didn't simply due to his race. We have progressed but we still have a long way to go.
     
  8. Theonly1

    Theonly1 New Member

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    Right. And *some* of those who did not vote for him could have a real beef against those of us who did. :)
     
  9. Jack

    Jack New Member

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    I don't understand why there is so much being made of this. This man's neighbor reported a possible break-in. The police show up and ask for proof that this man was the owner of the house. What were they supposed to do? Take his word for it and leave? The man's neighbors who should have recognized him reported a break-in. He didn't have to act the way he did, and he wouldn't have been arrested. Instead of acting all high and mighty when asked to prove he lived there he should have just given them the proof and been glad police were doing their job protecting his house by checking out the report called in by his neighbor.

    I can just imagine what would be said if the police had said ok, you say you live here so we'll just take your word for it and leave without checking your ID. The big story then would probably be that the police didn't protect the house because it was a black man's residence.

    BTW, being educated doesn't automatically giv e you a pass to behave any way you want toward the police.
     
  10. southcitymom

    southcitymom New Member

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    My own experience with cops and race:

    As a young, white woman, I was pulled over driving (often impaired and always speeding) at least seven times before a police officer ever even issued me a ticket. During the continued course of my adult life, I had cops come upon me smoking pot in public numerous times and all any officer of the law ever said to me was "put it out." I have engaged in other illegal activities. All of my legal run-ins (even the few that wound up in a ticket being issued) have been completely benign. I don;t even have a DUI to show for my bad behavior.

    I have a number of black male friends and, without exception, their experiences with police officers (even when they have done nothing illegal) curl my hair. Many of them have wound up in jail overnight for no reason at all. Some have been victims of violence.

    Now, I understand that there are some decent reasons why police officers who work the street day in and out expect more law-breaking from black men than blonde women. Many officers of the law automatically and intuitively engage in racial profiling as part and parcel of their job. To think it doesn't happen is to be removed from reality.

    I am sorry that Gates was arrested. I doubt I would have been.
     
  11. Nova

    Nova New Member

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    Oh, SCM, I do so wish we had met earlier! I mean back when we were both fun and interesting. :blowkiss:
     
  12. southcitymom

    southcitymom New Member

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    LOL - me too, friend! :blowkiss: Though, together, we may have wound up in jail!
     
  13. shana

    shana New Member

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    Let's get up a LINK about this matter.

    He opened his back door with his key and tried unsuccessfully from inside his home to open the front door. Eventually, Gates and his driver forced the door open from the outside, Ogletree said.
    The professor was inside for several minutes when a police officer, Sgt. James Crowley, appeared at his steps and asked him to step outside, the lawyer said.

    imo, racism is alive & well in this country.
     
  14. Seamaid

    Seamaid New Member

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    I've been reading alot about this situation and it sure seems that the professor starting accusing the police officer of racism just for questioning him about being on the propriety even though the officer was responding to a break in call.

    I would hope all the people here who are jumping to the racism conclusion so fast would wait a bit for all the facts to come out. Certainly this could be racism...racism in the "traditional" way or maybe racism in the Jesse Jackson/ Al Sharpton way.
     
  15. oh_gal

    oh_gal New Member

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    It appears our own President is sitting in the driver's seat of that particular bandwagon...

    I listened to his comments last night (during his Presidential Address) when asked about this particular situation. He said he is friends with the victim. He said the police arrested him after finding out he did, indeed, live in the house in question. He then called the police "stupid" for doing such a thing.

    I agree, it would be stupid for the police to arrest someone after finding out they live in a house they were accused of breaking into. However, I don't think that's *all* that happened (as the President alluded to). Even published news reports say that the man engaged in a verbal sparring with the police, goading them, and THAT's what got him arrested, Mr. President....not the color of his skin.

    ETA: I've had time to go back and read some comments, and I must say, I'm surprised. In this day and age, when our police officers are being gunned down by crazy lunatics with little or no warning, I don't blame the officers for arresting him. Here's this man (and, forgive them for not knowing who he was, I didn't) who comes out "swinging" -- verbally speaking. If I were an officer, that would put me on guard. Perhaps if HE had kept his composure, instead of jumping to conclusiions and being combative ("you're only doing this to me because I'm black!) he wouldn't be arrested. Maybe the officers felt threatened by his behavior. At least they didn't taser him, which seems to be the trend in these cases, nowadays. The little old lady who was mouthing off to the officers a while back ("I can't believe you're arresting a little old lady like me!) didn't rasie such a ruckus, only much laughter, and she was doing the same thing this man was. Why shouldn't he get the same treatment? Because (gasp!) he's black and a scholar? Maybe he should act like a scholar then.
     
  16. rubelet

    rubelet New Member

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    There seem to be two versions of the story. Both are accounted for in the link provided above. Professor Gates said he showed his driver's license and Harvard ID and brought up the issue of racial profiling after the police officer continued to question him, inside his own home. The officer tells the story a bit differently; he maintains Gates was immediately boisterous, did not produce a driver's license shown, etc.

    I do agree that we should wait for all of the facts to be presented as we should also attempt to acknowledge both sides presented in the case, as available to us, before drawing a conclusion.

    That being said, charges have been dropped and a few apologies issued. Hopefully the attention to the issue of racial profiling will bring about some good dialogue and institutional awareness.

    Maybe it wasn't what was happening in this case, but it happens too often to people of colour and any reason to reflect on the problem is a good one.

    Also, what's the deal with the neighbour? I recognize Professor Gates face from the occasional t.v. interview, wonder why he or she didn't recognize the person living next door?
     
  17. Marthatex

    Marthatex New Member

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    I think racism, unfortunately has "reared it's ugly head again". (we had kind of suppressed it awhile, tho we have made great progress in some ways) thinking we were "over it" , I guess.

    I had not heard of this until last night, on the news. I need to read more about it, but even President Obama joked about it in his press conference last night: something like, "If I locked myself out of the house at night, and couldn't get back in I might be shot, too!!"

    It's easy to jump to conclusions, even for police. Around here I take the police's side if someone draws a gun on them and on drugs. White or black, they have to shoot to kill. And we always have thorough investigations afterwards, and sometimes the police are found to be in the wrong, and dismissed.

    Yes in this case, sounds like some folks jumped to conclusions!

    It doesn't matter if he was a little "boisterous and upset"; white people get upset too if a policeman is suddenly misinterpreting what they're doing. GOVERNOR RICK PERRY WAS CAUGHT ON TAPE CUSSING TO THE TRAFFIC Patrol officers when he was stopped for speeding. He said, "Don't you know who I am, get on down the road, now". This was BEFORE he was elected. He got a complete pass, and of course, was not arrested or anything.

    That's only one reason I'm sometimes embarrassed to say "I'm from Texas". Then other times, I'm proud we're the bluebonnet and music capital of the world, lol. Obviously, judging from the Holocaust Museum shooting and all the other crazy things coming out of the woodwork lately, racial and ethnic profiling, as well as hate and fear of folks who are "different" from the norm - are alive and well.

    It saddens me.
     
  18. RoseRed

    RoseRed Former Member

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    :clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:
     
  19. oh_gal

    oh_gal New Member

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    Racism is not going to go away until 2 things happen:

    1. People stop making racist comments or engaging in racist acts; and
    2. The offended races stop jumping on the "racism" bandwagon every time something happens that offends their already over-sensitized feelings of injustice. It's not always a matter of racism. People are stupid and do stupid things regardless of their race, or anyone else's.


    My husband is Hispanic and has actually had a "Gates-esque" experience....he was mowing the lawn at his new home a few years ago, when a man pulled up in a car and asked if the owner of the house was at home (thinking my husband was part of the Mexican landscape crew). My own family has made disparaging comments about Mexicans, before they stop themselves and feign embarrassment.

    As a result of my marriage, my family has begun a new race. I call our children "Czech-Mex". (As you can guess, I'm Czech.) :)
    (Yeah, I realize "Czech" isn't a race, but I like saying "Czech-Mex")
     
  20. RoseRed

    RoseRed Former Member

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    ITA :clap::clap::clap::clap:
     
  21. rubelet

    rubelet New Member

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    snipped by me...

    Couldn't we also look at it from the other side as well? In this day and age people of colour are being pulled over, searched, interrogated, arrested, etc. based only on the colour of their skin, based on the fact they fit a flawed profile of "criminal" deeply rooted in discrimination and racism rather than fact. Maybe Mr. Gates, after showing his driver's license and identifying himself as the resident of the house, got upset that a police officer kept questioning him without reason? Thus, he concluded he was being profiled based on the colour of his skin and was not going to let it go unnamed.

    The case you mention about an an old woman being tazered is totally insane (though I am not familiar the case), but injustice is injustice no matter how the scenario relates to other incidents.
     

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