Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Regardless of the Republican View, Racism Against Minorities is still Thriving in America!

Harvard Professor Henry Gates Jr. had just returned to his home in an upper class suburb from a trip to China when a police officer responded to a call about a potential break-in at his home that was phoned in by a white woman.

Professor Gates was driven to his home by a driver for a local car company. Professor Gates attempted to enter his front door, but the door was damaged. Professor Gates then entered his rear door with his key, turned off his alarm, and again attempted to open the front door. With the help of his driver they were able to force the front door open, and then the driver carried Professor Gates’ luggage into his home.

Why did the White Woman call the police? Because she saw a Black Man attempting to enter his own home.

When Professor Gates opened the door, the officer immediately asked him to step outside. Professor Gates remained inside his home and asked the officer, Sgt. Crowley, why he was there. Crowley indicated that he was responding to a 911 call about a breaking and entering in progress at this address. Professor Gates informed the officer that he lived there and was a faculty member at Harvard University. Crowley then asked Professor Gates whether he could prove that he lived there and taught at Harvard. Professor Gates said that he could, and turned to walk into his kitchen, where he had left his wallet. Crowley followed him. Professor Gates handed both his Harvard University identification and his valid Massachusetts driver’s license to Crowley. Both include Professor Gates’ photograph, and the license includes his address.

Professor Gates then asked Crowley if he would give him his name and his badge number. He made this request several times. Crowley did not produce any identification nor did he respond to Professor Gates’ request for this information. After an additional request by Professor Gates for the officer’s name and badge number, Crowley then turned and left the kitchen of Professor Gates’ home without ever acknowledging who he was or if there were charges against Professor Gates. As Professor Gates followed Crowley to his own front door, he was astonished to see several police officers gathered on his front porch. Professor Gates asked the officer’s colleagues for his name and badge number. As Professor Gates stepped onto his front porch, Crowley who had been inside and who had examined his identification, said to him, “Thank you for accommodating my earlier request,” and then Crowley placed Professor Gates under arrest. Professor Gates was handcuffed on his own front porch. The professor was taken to the station, printed and was not released for four hours.

There was no need for an arrest. Crowley was merely showing his power over the Professor. If the Professor were not black, the neighbor would not have called and Crowley would not have approached the Professor so pompously nor exerted his power by arresting him.

The Professor was racially profiled and harassed due to his race.
Fortunately, the Prosecutor agreed and dropped the charges.
I think Sgt. Crowley needs Anger Management and Diversity Training.


Dee said...

The President spoke about this tragic occurrence and his friend Professor Gates.

Listening now to Chris Matthews, he is taking an opposing view. Why? Because Matthews read the police report.

I read the police report also. It looked to me that Sgt Crowley became agitated when Professor Gates questioned him asking him for his badge number. It is clear Crowley was racially profiling the honorable Professor. Crowley should have walked away. Instead he jumped at the chance to put the cuffs on the honorable Professor when he walked out on his own porch.

A CLEAR Case of Racial Profiling.

Dee said...

As was said:
"any of us would be pretty angry.
cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof they were in their own home.
separate: long history in this country of being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately."

Dave said...

Just outrageous! I think there was a point in time when Crowley realized he was wrong, and he could have simply apologized for the mistake and walked away, but because the professor was angry (and rightly so), and demanding of Crowley to provide ID and badge, he was arrested. Today there are stories (I posted of one) that say Crowley refuses to apologize, doesn't see a reason to offer an apology, and that critics of the Cambridge police are saying that if the arrested man wasn't so prominent in the community, he would've not been released as quickly, or would've been treated a lot worse. Unbelievable! Post-racial society, my ass!

ultima said...

Dee wrote, "If the Professor were not black, the neighbor would not have called and Crowley would not have approached the Professor so pompously nor exerted his power by arresting him."

Dee likes to see everything through a glass darkly. First, of all anyone black or white should be thankful to have a neighbor who calls the police when they see a breakin in progress. Second, there is no indication that the call as made because the men were black, although in a white neighborhood that might be a good bet. (3) Although not appropriate in all cases, people of all stripes have been arrested for being verbally abusive to police officers. It's the same kind of thing as trying to insult a judge in the courtroom. In this case, it may or may not have been appropriate. We don't know how much ranting and raving the prof did to provoke the arrest. I note that he had already received an apology and could have just stayed in his home rather than pursuing the officers on his front step. Police are people too and sometimes react inappropriately. This is a tempest in a teapot and a brazen attempt to cast it racial terms.

Vicente Duque said...

Obama's Trap for Elephants - How Republicans fall

The Problem with Texas and Senator Cornyn - Electoral Math

Citizen Times
Asheville - North Carolina
Opposing Sotomayor is a lose-lose scenario for GOP
LeRoy Goldman
LeRoy Goldman worked for the federal government from 1964-2001. He was staff director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research, an assistant director at the National Institutes of Health and a member of the elite Senior Executive Service.
July 23, 2009

Opposing Sotomayor is a lose-lose scenario for GOP

Some excerpts :

Before the presidential nominees are chosen and before the campaign begins, the Democrats already have a lock on the electoral votes in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, California, and, of course, the District of Columbia. That gives the Democrats 220 of the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.

But this bleak scenario for the Republicans could become far worse. Imagine the consequences if Texas, a reliably Republican state, were to turn Blue. If you add its 34 electoral votes to the Democratic total, they would have 254 electoral votes, just 16 short of the magic number. Checkmate!

Think that can’t happen? Take a look at the explosive growth of the Hispanic population in Texas. The numbers don’t lie. It’s the fastest-growing ethnic group in Texas. And President Obama carried the Hispanic community with about 70 percent of the vote.

Obama’s nomination of Sotomayor is as much about crippling the GOP as it is about putting her on the high court. Obama and his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, are betting that the GOP, led by its radio and TV talk show witch doctors, will take the bait and attempt to crucify a Hispanic woman in order to try to derail her nomination. If they try, they will drive the Hispanic community into the open arms of the Democrats and they will accelerate their own rush into oblivion.

And it’s not just Texas that’s in play. It’s also New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Arizona. Beware, Republicans. The elephant trap is ready to spring shut.

So, keep your eye on Texas Sen. Cornyn. His demeanor during the confirmation hearings and his vote on Sotomayor will tell you a lot about the future of the Republican Party — or even if it has one.

Vicente Duque

The Arizonian said...

Wow, you're making some stretch.

I suspect he was harassed by the police because of the officer's assumed "authority" over the general populace. Another way to put it is "I'm in charge, now sit down and shut up" mentality. This is a growing problem with law enforcement perpetuated by the 'militarizing' of the police force.

As far as the neighbor is concerned, I have no idea:
A) How long has he and the neighbor has lived there, or how well they knew each other.

B) The time of day/night making recognition of gates difficult or not.

C) If him and his neighbor have a 'comfortable' relationship.

Without knowing these things I cannot explicitly say it was racism, a personal grudge, or a simple mistake while trying to protect their neighbor's home.

Nice to see that you, once again, hear and repeat the party line like a good little sheep.

Dee said...

My husband and I discussed this case at length at lunch. My husband likes to make up his own mind on things. I shared the story with him a couple of days ago. He decided to read up on it. We both read the Warrant and a few other news reports.

We both think Crowley should NOT have arrested Professor Gates and that Crowley overstepped, exerted his power over Gates.

My husband didn't know if this "overstepping" was due to racism. He did bring up a good point. He wanted to know Crowley's history. Is there a history of abuse? That will make a difference.

The other thing we talked about was the neighbor. Come on. Everyone is familiar with their neighbors at least by sight. I would imagine an exclusive Harvard neighborhood with nosy neighbors who stand on curbs waiting for police would be familiar with every minority family in their neighborhood. I would like to see an article about this neighbor. I bet there is lots more to this.

The Arizonian said...

I'm sure there was no tangible reason for arresting the Professor. I'm sure it was pissed-cop syndrome.

Warrant? What warrant? You read a warrant? What was the warrant for?

I would still like to know what time of day this was though. I almost called the police on my neighbor... It was about 9:30 PM, and he was trying to get into his place through a window (he locked himself out). It was dark, and out of the ordinary for him to be doing. So, I could see that the paranoid, rich Connecticut types seeing someone doing something out of the ordinary, in the dark, could mistaken the neighbor for someone else.
Just saying.

Regardless, his arrest had nothing to do with him breaking in from what I can tell.

Dee said...

Meant to say Crowley's police report.

Dee said...

The picture taken of him in handcuffs shows it was daytime.

Dave said...

Ultima said: I note that he had already received an apology and could have just stayed in his home rather than pursuing the officers on his front step.

Can you show me where he recieved an apology? I'm getting various stories showing a refusal of the cop to apologize to Gates.


The Arizonian said...

Oh, that was a real picture....

Wait, was the media there already? Who took the picture?

This story is getting weirder and weirder....

Dee said...

I just heard on MSNBC.
It happened at 12:45 ET.

It was midday.

The truth hurts.

The cop was Racial Profiling! and exerting his power over a small, 5 ft 6 black man.

Dee said...

The picture was taken by a neighbor.

I wonder if it was the neighbor that was the 911 caller that stayed on the street waiting for the police to come to point out the house.

So weird:
1. she didn't know her neighbor
2. she wasn't afraid of the so called burglars since she was standing on the street waiting for the cops to arrest poor professor gates.

hmmmmmm.... very interrresting!!!

ultima said...

I wonder if the stops are disproportionate to the percentage of crimes committed by them. Just a thought.

ultima said...

Clearly both the prof and the cop could have handled this differently. The cop should have shown his badge when asked. Did he somehow think no one would know who he is? He is reputed to be a fine officer and one who teaches his peers how to avoid profiing. You might even say he is an expert on this subject so I don't believe profiling is relevant in this case. The prof lost his cool and the cop followed suit, letting tha aspect of the confrontation overshapdow good judgment. Had the cop identified himself as the prof demanded and the prof continued his intemperate rant, I think I would have arrested him too. Like Obama who doesn't want health care reform to apply to his family, the prof didn't want to accept the circumstances and wanted special treatment.

Obama stepped on his D and has now alienated a major part of law enforcement officers. He let his racism override his judgment and will need some help extricating his foot from his mouth.

ultima said...

The Administration clearly didn't want this incident to supersede the focus on health care. It is interesting how easily one's judgment becomes clouded. Obama lost sight of the objective. He assumed facts not in evidence because it was his friend who was involved.

I repeat this is not the first time someone has been arrested in their own home. That is simply an irrelevancy. Some have even been killed in their own homes.

I think the cop should admit his error in not showing his badge when asked and police should be trained to respond immediately to such a request. This should be automatic like Mirandizing. I don't think an apology is necessary if the cop was following procedure. However, it would be gracious of him if he admitted his error in not producing his badge, and if he didn't apologize when Gates identified himself as the home owner, that might be part of what a gracious person would include.

In the circumstances, I have to believe that Gates was confronational from the get go and that is the root cause. HIs attitude might easily have been governed by his research and academic interests rather than any rational view of the circumstances.

I wonder why the neighbor felt that she should take pictures. Was it because she thought the prof was being manhandled or was it because she part of Gates' rant and in fact caught him with his mouth open in the middle of it.

Some people should not be cops but when one thinks about the people they typically have to deal with we are lucky that there are enough of them willing to do this tought job.

As we know from observing politics, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The president and the cop and even the prof are all governed by this aphorism to some degree.

ultima said...

There is no racial profiling here, just a lack of judgment on the part of both parties.

ultima said...

If we look at the two parties involved, one a cop the other a prof -- who should have been better able to control the situation, who should have been able to act rationally, who should have been best able to think through the conseqences of belligerence. Maybe we can call O. Henry back from the grave to write a sequel to his "Cop and the Anthem" titled "Cop and the Prof".

Well I guess they are going to have beer with the prez and settle their differences as long as the prof doesn't try to lecture anyone on black history.

Vicente Duque said...

Patricia Williams, professor of law at Columbia University : Racism and Prejudice live on in the USA - The British "Guardian" Newspaper

Having Barack Obama as president doesn't make America colour-blind
The arrest of an African-American professor and the vilification of a Latina woman judge show that prejudice lives on in the USA
By Patricia Williams
July 26, 2009

Having Barack Obama as president doesn't make America colour-blind

Some excerpts :

"What makes this case so interesting – and alarming – is the vitriolic public commentary that ensued. Early newspaper and on-line accounts helped seed confusion, varying wildly: some gave the impression that Gates was trying to break into a house not his own, some that he refused to identify himself or that he resisted arrest. None of that was true.

But the larger backlash has quickly moved from the individual incident itself to condemnations in the stereotyped plural, concentrating on a very tight set of recurring themes: Gates is "uppity", arrogant, pseudo-educated. He should have been grateful that the police came to his house at all. Harvard was stupid for hiring him. African-American studies, the department Gates chairs, is a non-subject, only on the curriculum to keep black students from rioting. The Ivy League is run by politically correct "wusses" who don't have the courage to get rid of "undeserving" "whiners". Who could blame police officers for refusing to come to black homes or neighbourhoods if this is what they get? "Those people" have jobs a "more qualified" white person should be holding.

(Where, oh where, our fleeting "post-racial" moment of Kumbaya?)

I mentioned that timing was also a probable factor in this brouhaha. The entire week before Gates's arrest was consumed with reports of the congressional hearings for Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor. She would be the first Hispanic and only the third woman sitting in our highest court. Hence, racial resentment had already been simmering on the shock-jock media burners. Three ultra-conservative senators in particular grilled her, day after day, using some of the most prejudiced, stereotype-laden language we've heard publicly in many a year. Despite the fact that Sotomayor graduated at the top of her class from Princeton and Yale Law School, she has been attacked as not qualified, chosen not for merit but because she's a woman or Latina. Pundits such as Pat Buchanan railed that "affirmative action is to increase diversity by discriminating against white males". Furthermore, said Buchanan, there could be nothing wrong with a court of all white men, because, after all "white men were 100% of the people who wrote the constitution, 100% of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence, 100% of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg…"

In short, the Sotomayor hearing and the New Haven firefighters case have reignited the general American debate about affirmative action. So when the extremely distinguished Harvard university professor Henry Louis Gates was carted off in handcuffs, allegedly calling out: "This is what happens to black men in America!", there was a distinct shimmer of schadenfreude in some parts of the national psyche. The reactionary themes that had been percolating during the last few weeks came bursting to the fore: minorities are taking over! Obama is only appointing non-whites! White people are the truly oppressed! People of colour, particularly ones who went to Harvard, Yale or Princeton, are reverse racists.

The arrest itself is hardly the best example of either racial profiling or police-state oppression. But the discourse that has welled up in its wake reveals a public inclination that is marred by that and more."

Vicente Duque

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