Me! Pick me!
This is me raising my hand, possibly stating the obvious, but, willing to make something of a statement, while certainly asking obvious questions around what, need not, be that proverbial elephant in the crowded room.
Sadly, for me any way, the appropriate amount of public outrage over, what is, categorically, a dark chapter in our nations history (you will appreciate this also represents a canny pun as you read on) has already faded into the subconsciousness of a jaded American culture.
In terms of outlining my concerns, where should I begin? What we do know for sure is, the end result certainly includes a U.S. President whose legacy will now include endless mirth around his beer barrel diplomacy.
I am already dueling with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel over this. So, let’s just wade in, shall we?
Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a pre-eminent Africa-American scholar at Harvard University was arrested while trying to force open the locked front door of his rented home near Harvard University Thursday, July 16, 2009.
That, in some respects, was unfortunate.
However, as luck, whacky providence, coincidence – or, perhaps fortuna (eh, Dr. Pappas?) would have it, professor Gates is black.
He was arrested by Sgt. James Crowley, a decorated veteran of the Cambridge police department called into action while responding to a 911 call from a local woman that two men were forcing there way into a house on her street. The front door had been damaged from a previous burglary attempt (the police probably knew this).
Officer Crowley appeared on the scene, and after some fairly well documented “debate” that included a stubborn refusal to initially identify himself (other than his strident insistence he was now a “victimized” black man) Gates was booked on a disorderly conduct charge after police said he “exhibited loud and tumultuous behavior.” This apparently included his brandishing his cane and threatening a wide-range of law suits.
According to a police report Gates shouted to a police officer:
“this is what happens to a black man in America”.
Certainly when you act stupid with cops any way.
In any event, Gates was released later that day on his own recognizance and clearly eager to rally a great deal of attention, media and otherwise, to his misadventures. An arraignment was scheduled for Aug. 26.
However, that arraignment never took place. You can read some, but certainly not all, details around that here.
It should be noted that Gates’ attorney is fellow Harvard scholar Professor Charles Ogletree, a black man in his own right (that reads funny and I am going to leave it as such because there is a pun there if you really put some effort into considering it), is currently working on a book, as coincidence would have it about the black man’s disadvantage in the American judicial process.
Brilliant timing. Better rush that tome to press!
“Gates’s prominence played a dual role”, Ogletree said, bringing unflattering attention to Gates in the first reporting of the incident. “Then, it allowed him access to well-connected friends (umm – like the leader of the free world) and resources that got his case dismissed quickly.”
Apparently this also includes the Rev. Al Sharpton, who is a dingy q-tip headed idiot, and had threatening vowed to attend Gates’ arraignment.
“This arrest is indicative of at best police abuse of power or at worst the highest example of racial profiling I have seen,” Sharpton said. “I have heard of driving while black and even shopping while black but now even going to your own home while black is a new low in police community affairs.”
Meanwhile, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who is black, said he was “troubled and upset about the incident.”
Why is the governor of Massachusetts involved? I would prefer to hear more about his concerns over the fact that the State of Massachusets is third in the nation when it comes to teen-aged pregnancy.
Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons, who, remarkably, also is black, has said she spoke with Gates and apologized on behalf of the city, and a statement from the city called the July 16 incident “regrettable and unfortunate.”
It sure is… Especially when influenced by race baiters like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, and Jeremiah Wright.
And, all that bugs me.
According to witnesses, that are now being systematically harassed by “unnamed parties”, the clearly proud, composed and dignified professor Gates was also apparently inebriated and this fueled his belligerent behavior. I suspect that the “obamacratic”- oriented and politically corrupt confused – media does not want you to know this.
Allow me to add some perspective here that may draw some criticism, but is still relevant… If you have followed this mans achievements (and, I have because there is an underlying tone of Jeffersonian to his efforts), obviously Gates has done some fantastic things over the course of his academic career. This includes giving the Jefferson Lecture in 2002. That lecture, mind you, was in recognition of his “distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.” The lecture resulted in his 2003 book, The Trials of Phillis Wheatley - which was actually, pretty good, although not particularly balanced. This is meaningful to me. Consider my own views on Jeffersonian principles if you dare. It’s a daunting and tumultuous journey it’s own right.
However, Gates makes his living by drawing attention to racial strife in America. And, as the legendary fickle finger of fate or that wily notion of providence would have it, Crowley is a Police Academy expert on cultural diversity.
For the record, but not widely acknowledged by the media, Sgt. Crowley has taught a class on diversity for five years at the Lowell Police Academy after being hand-picked for the job by former police Commissioner Ronny Watson, who is black, said Academy Director Thomas Fleming. The course, called “Racial Profiling,” teaches about different cultures that officers could encounter in their community “and how you don’t want to single people out because of their ethnic background or the culture they come from,” adds Fleming:
“I have nothing but the highest respect for him as a police officer. He is very professional and he is a good role model for the young recruits in the police academy”.
Gates and his crew could not have seen that one coming.
Despite witnesses and audio evidence recorded during the arresting officers dialogue with a dispatcher, Ogletree disputed the claim that Gates, who was wearing slacks and a polo shirt and carrying that cane, was yelling at the officer. But, he did offer the lame excuse pearl:
“He (Gates) has an infection that has impacted his breathing since he came back from China, so he’s been in a very delicate physical state”.
So… Gates “medicated himself to thwart his “infection”? There was no medical prescription to be found on his person, and they never had the presence of mind to lay claim for such under scrutiny.
Meanwhile… Contemplating the above photo, I wonder what the black police officer involved in the arrest thought of all the action? I can’t find any public reference to that unique perspective.
Gates has said he was “outraged” by the arrest. He said the white officer walked into his home without his (Gates) permission (which is part of the scary job of being a policeman) and arrested him only as the professor followed him to the porch, repeatedly demanding the sergeant’s name and badge number because he was unhappy over his treatment.
Gates was in the house and was uncooperative in identifying himself. When Crowley was explaining to Gates his reason for being there, which was he was responding to a burglary in progress, Gates shouted, “why, because I am a black man in America?”
At that point Gates is the one interjecting race into the situation
So, considering his own testimony, Gates, clearly leveraging his skills as an orator, kept mouthing off to a cop who probably has more important things then a short, whiny and tipsy black man to deal with daily, and got himself hauled-off to jail to cool off.
It only gets worse because, some how, even miles away, President Barack Obama, the Commander-In-Chief himself, who it’s starting to appear fancies himself a kind of J.F. Kennedy any way, decides to forget the vital lessons around laissez-faire, channels Carl Marx, and gets involved in the melee.
Ayn Rand is spinning is her grave, and we can hear the howls of John Adams across the void.
Obama triggered an uproar because, exhibiting his razor-like wit that was apparently honed while never holding down a real job before he became our president, Obama stated decisively, before he had been fully briefed over the incident, mind you, “The Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.”
He went on to say that, “…anyone of us would be pretty angry and that it is a fact that African-Americans and Latinos are being stopped disproportionately by law enforcement in this country.” He made those statements without knowing the facts of the case.
But seriously, what would you expect from a career Community Organizer?
After a stunned silence that only a Secret Service Agent could fully appreciate, Obama back-pedaled furiously, after some (thinking) member of his staff probably grabbed his Blackberry, and, via tele-prompter, stated he hoped “cooler heads would prevail”. To be sure he got a “WTF” from a hovering, head-in-hands Michelle Obama as well.
He then institutes the Public Relations nightmare of the century and invites Gates and Crowley to the White House saying he wants to turn this episode into a “teachable” moment while all of them get together over a beer.
Gates has demanded an apology from officer Crowley, the entire nation, and while he is considering his options, probably God Himself. When asked how he felt about distracting attention from Obama’s efforts on Capital Hill around national Healthcare reform, Gates responded: “what happened to me is important. Its important for black men. But, the president has many very important matters he must deal with every day.”
How, utterly, gracious.
Okay… So, why am I picking on poor professor Gates?
Well… Because this was all just really stupid. Some black dude who happens to be a college professor, is lit after a long plane ride, loses the key to his rented house, and breaks down the front door with the help of a burly cab driver. When he is approached by police, he does not have the common sense to keep his mouth shut and decides he is entitled to threaten one of them with a cane.
So… Apparently, because he is black, and, therefore, not required to cooperate with the authorities (now being dramatized as “The Man”) he decides it’s time to make headlines. Along the way, his belligerent demeanor aside, the arresting officer is some how supposed to divine that he is a book writing college professor and ignore police procedure.
The police department said that Crowley tried to calm Gates, but that the professor would not cooperate and said:
“You don’t know who you’re messing with.”
No one that I can read or see is stating the real obvious here… All Gates had to do was start the encounter off with a little respect for the uniform, and make sure they knew he was the rightful renter of the property, with proof in his luggage. But, he did not do that. He got himself all high-and-mighty, and started mouthing off because it was his position in life – not his race that was being challenged. This is not about racial strife – or, ANY type of profiling. This is about a mans EGO. At worst it might be about the collective black mans ego.
As a result, Gates raises tensions amongst the races that Obama’s administration might have, otherwise, helped take huge steps in resolution. It’s true. But, no one wants to be the one who says it was the black guys fault.
I will do it.
Lets pause, only for a moment, to ask a few obvious questions…
Is Harvard University going to apologize for one of it’s senior Faculty being an obnoxious ass?
What is actually being taught in the Gates class room?
There was, at least, one black police officer at the scene while the arrest of Gates was underway. Has anyone asked him if the appropriate police procedures were properly followed?
Would Barack Obama be this tuned-in if the professor were white? Where was president Obama when (now) former Senator Ted Stevens was politically profiled by corrupt prosecutors?
Why the outrage? Why the anger? The police were doing their job. Gates was the one who escalated the situation. What would they have said if it was not Gates but actually burglars in the house and the police let them go, or were slow to respond? Also I would not be angry for the police doing their job in trying to protect my property.
Is Obama is using this as a diversion because he is getting his ass kicked on capital hill because his plan sucks?
Of all possible forums, why would Obama endorse beer drinking as part of a way to solve problems?
What label of beer was consumed? Was it Modelo? And, if so, what can we now expect from the Mexican authorities?
Who paid for this obnoxious and extravagant example in self-importance and reverse bigotry?
What lessons have we learned Mr. President? What have you taught us? If Ronald Reagan were still with us and president, he would have quietly (yes, quietly with Nancy warmly and sincerely at his side) admonished you that the Hollywood maxim: “only no publicity is bad publicity” isn’t necessarily true – and, certainly not for everyone.
It’s obvious to readers that I am so very disappointed in Professor Gates. He abused the system, and Obama enabled him. In the end, Gates converted a brilliant academic career into a cheap (race) card trick. He will almost certainly get another book deal. But, now, instead of an opportunity to illuminate the brilliant works of others as he did in The Trial of Phyllis Wheatley, he will be a sad and pathetic little footnote inspired by self-pity, and ironically, ignorance.
Perhaps wore… He made the problem worse for black people by clearly demonstrating that the black elite hold a special place and power in our country. The average black man would not have Jesse Jackson and the Governor of Massachusetts, lets alone the (black) President of the United States rush to his aid if he was caught in an awkward legal situation.
Some of you will likely be gnashing your teeth for some time over this post. But, allow me to remind you that I reside in Alpharetta, Georgia. This is a hot bed for super wealthy white Christian bull-shit (also high-tech development, but never mind that for the moment) (I am not saying Christianity is bull-shit. I am saying there are here, like everywhere, a lot of people that pretend to adhere to Christian principles). Every day you see black dudes being pulled over to the side of our well manicured roads and streets by our white majority police department and the token black police officers (actually, I am not sure we have any of those because I can’t recall ever seeing one). And, I believe that, some where in the scheme of things is actual racial profiling.
As saddened as I am by these tragic events, and disappointed in Professor Gates and President Obama, I have, very much enjoyed chronicling all of this for you, reader. And, I am afraid, in a manner of speaking, this tale, but only for now, must draw to a close.
Next: bill maher can invite me onto his show.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork