Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. speaks out on racial profiling after his arrest by Cambridge police.

Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. speaks out on racial profiling after his arrest by Cambridge police.

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Even the president had something to say:

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."


I have a few questions of my own:

1. What's up with Skip's neighbors not knowing who he is?
2. When inside the house and Skip was providing ID, why didn't the police take a look at the photos in the house? Apparently the valid driver's licence and Harvard ID were not proof enough.
3. Was it necessary to arrest him? I mean, really. He provided identification, standing in his own house.
4. The man uses a cane. Does this fit the profile of someone capable of B&E? Where was the common sense on the part of the Cambridge Police?
5. Disorderly conduct? It's not like he was trying to incite a riot.

And for Skip's part, I can understand the outrage he must have felt. But why make the situation worse by talking back to the cops?

I've certainly been in situations where I've felt like I was not given the benefit of the doubt because of the color of my skin. So this touches a nerve in me, and for many people of color, I suspect.


Writer Bug said…
I agree with all you've said. This reminds me of a time recently that Brian and I had to break into our house. It was 1 in the morning, and we were making a ton of noise trying to get into second story windows, hammering at other entry ways, etc. I was shocked, and a little alarmed, that no one called the cops. I mean, they couldn't have seen us well enough to know we were ourselves. Unless we have neighbors who sleep very heavily?
Writer Bug said…
PS--I just happened to read this interesting take on the incident:
MSal said…
I appreciate the way the President handled things today. He realized that he had contributed to the issue the other day and took a more thoughtful and productive approach. I hope to see pictures of the three of them having a beer!

On a lighter note, I am looking forward to your reading in DC! Good luck!
January said…
I'm glad that the incident is generating dialogue. It's my hope that the conversation will continue long after the "beer at the White House."

Looking forward to seeing you at the DC reading!
January said…
Bug, thanks for the link--I'll check it out.

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