Monday, July 27, 2009

Prof. Gates did not show "proper" deference so the cuffs came out

I have been spending allot of time sorting out my Wales photos, but the incident in Cambridge, Mass. in which Prof. Henry Lewis Gates was involved seems to require some comment. Here goes.

The first thing that I think needs to be emphasized is that if Prof. Gates were white he would never have been arrested. That I think is the bottom line of all this.

The second thing is that if a policeman asks you to step outside your house, unless the policeman is arresting you, don't do it.

It seems, from all the evidence that has been presented, that Sgt. James Crowly was incapable of dealing with a middle-aged Black man (Harvard professor or not) who didn't show what Crowly thought was proper deference. The simplest solution to the problem would have been for Crowly (when still in Gates home) to say: "Whatever you say, I'm sorry to have inconvenienced you." And to have walked away.That's what he couldn't do.

That was the key moment. When Gates was not in Crowly's eyes sufficiently deferential. Crowly made Gates step out on to the porch because he couldn't charge him with "disturbing the peace" if he was still in his own home. Crowly needed Prof. Gates to acknowledge Crowly's control of the situation. I think Crowly intentionally provoked Prof. Gates to follow him on to the porch (and create a disturbance) so that he could arrest him.

The whole incident had more to do with Crowly's racist insecurities than with anything Prof. Gates did. Let's not forget that Boston has for many generations been one of the most racist northern cities. And with many previous incidences Sgt.Crowly was acting like a Boston (Cambrige, last time I looked, was a part of greater Boston) cop. Remember the school busing struggle.

Maybe the next Republican hero can be Jim the cop.

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