23
Jul
09

Post-racial America: A myth?

SCHOLARIt’s Saturday morning and the Newshour team is now on air live discussing the controversy surrounding the arrest of the prominent African American scholar Henry Louis Gates. One of the questions we’re asking is, how has President Obama handled the whole affair? Earlier in the week he said the police acted stupidly, and raised questions about the unfair treatment of black men. But on Friday a complete change of tone: The President said he regretted his comments and was responsible for helping to escalate the situation.

Was the President right to wade into the Gates matter? Do you agree with Bridget from Chicago in the US, who wrote in support of President Obama’s earlier stance: “I think it was rather restrained of President Obama to say so little about the racism implicit in his friend’s arrest.” Or with Frank who wrote: “Obama’s comments are both distressing and in poor judgment, and possibly racist in their own right…. In his position he should act fairly to all Americans he is suppose to serve. He should have kept his opinion to himself.”


143 Responses to “Post-racial America: A myth?”


  1. 1 Tony Meola
    July 23, 2009 at 14:42

    Racism doesn’t just go away. Unfortunately, it was woven into the fabric of this country and it is everywhere.

    • 2 Dennis Junior
      July 23, 2009 at 15:41

      Tony is very correct…Racism is not going to be leaving anytime soon…

      ~Dennis Junior~

      • July 24, 2009 at 16:01

        I totally disagree with both Tony Meda and Dennis Junior. To these gentlemen I say, we should not be pessimistic that Racism is not going to leave soon! In my own country Uganda Racism is a term that we forgot during the era of The late Dictator Amin Dada in the late 1970’s.The world can bear me witness that whites can now freely hover over the streets of Kampala in fascinating styles… USA being a modern society with civilized mindsets, why can’t they behave themselves? This is unacceptable and even next to me where i am sitted is a white lady from USA who is freely attending lectures with us Blacks at Makerere University without being arrested,come on Guys its cumbersome to hear you sound cynical;be optimistic that Africa will lead and others follow in civilization.VKELVIN of Makerere University Kampala.

    • July 24, 2009 at 16:17

      I agree with you Tony Meola,Its everywhere because even the images portraying Jesus christ are of white colour! I have never in my life seen a Black image that depicts The Creator…Which means even if you are a professor but Black,you are bound to be arrested without cause too sad indeed!,VKELVIN of Makerere University Kampala.

      • 5 RightPaddock
        July 25, 2009 at 01:43

        @VKELVIN – here’s a black Jesus – it’s in the Philippines, took me 3 secs to find it.

    • 6 Terry Noonan
      July 27, 2009 at 14:44

      I have one question, I don´t get along with my neighbour, he makes noise all the time, has no respect for other people´s privacy or comfort. He has his friends around all the time, they drink a lot, make noise, fight and do a host of other anti-social things Maybe he had a different upbringing to mine but I am a neighborist or hater or buzz-killer because I don´t share his idea of socially acceptable behavior.
      His friends are the same, I don´t like them, what is my label therefore? What I am trying to get across is: when can we be honest enough to say, look, I don´t like these people and that is that. It doesn´t make me a racist because we share the same ethnicity. Am I a snob? I don´t think so. Every Morroccan I have met has tried to rob or swindle me. I know many others who have been mugged, attacked verbally and physically by Morroccans. Now the way they treat their women leaves a lot to be desired and some of them were responsible for the murder of 250 innocent people in Madrid in 2003. In the country which accepted them as immigrants. When can I say I don´t lilke Morroccans without being branded a racist?

  2. 7 Edw in NYC
    July 23, 2009 at 14:42

    Cops often are bullies.
    It makes no difference if you are black or white.
    If you argue with them or prove them wrong, they’ll often threaten you with arrest for simply speaking your mind.
    It sounds like that is what happenned to the poor professor.
    Edw.

    • 8 Brian from Ca.
      July 24, 2009 at 05:41

      Edw has got it right. SOME, not all but some, cops are bullies.
      I have had them call back up on me and forced the spead’em and search because I argued about signage on a roadway, and I am a middle age, Republican white guy. This country has some nuts cops that watch too many pseudo reality cop shows. Further, I have friends that are homeless, living in their car, and do they ever get hassled. They’re white too. Cops jump all over people that makes them uncomfortable and if you get on their bad side your rights are cow dung.

    • July 24, 2009 at 16:10

      I agree with Edwin in NYC.In their quest to pursue recognition in society, cops will always go beyond the tides to be seen as part of the great USA.But they are wrong here; they missed the point…perhaps luck evaded them on this dreadful day.Cops in USA should style up. Stop squandering our resources on this common sense things…be professional enough and respect Black people just as you need respect from them,Respect, VKELVIN of Makerere University Kampala.

    • 10 Dennis Junior
      July 26, 2009 at 04:42

      Edw:

      Yes, I have to agreed with you and your remarks; But, Professor Gates…Didn’t have to act in a “improper” way, he could asked the “Officer” his Badge Number and Name and file a formal Police Complaint with the Civil Complaints Board and/or use other means that are legal to seek out retribution against this “police officer…”

      ~Dennis Junior~

  3. 11 Owen Richardson
    July 23, 2009 at 14:44

    It is hard to imagine something like this happening to the (white) eminent Professors Harold Bloom, Elaine Showalter or Daniel Dennett.

    If I were Henry Louis Gates I would be suing everyone in sight.

  4. 12 David Porath
    July 23, 2009 at 14:50

    Re: Professor Henry Gates:
    Your information is incorrect as is our President’s. After he showed his ID to the police they went to leave and Gates demanded the officer’s name and badge number. The officer declined to do so, as is his right, and Gates followed him outside all the while demanding a name and badge number. When Gates wouldn’t stop badgering the officer and because he left his house to pursue his demands, only then was Gates arrested for disorderly conduct.
    As a news agency I would assume (?) you would not so drastically slant your story. Our President too…
    David Porath

    • 13 Tom K in Mpls
      July 23, 2009 at 17:24

      As I understand it, here in the US you can demand the identity of any law enforcement officer/agent at any time without stating a reason. As long as safety is not compromised, the officer is required to give it.

      As to the rest, unless it was recorded, it is all hearsay.

    • 14 Eric in Salem Or
      July 23, 2009 at 17:44

      Sorry David Porath but your wrong. That’s why officers have those business cards, they contain only information related to their jobs and when asked for the have to give them. Other wise how can we hold them accountable for the kind of service they provide. You can also ask them to have a superior come on site and guess what……..they have to come. The officer did the right thing by asking for ID but once it presented and ownership verified all the should have been said was , ” Sorry to bother you, have a nice day”. Not calling in other officers and continuing to doubt the man’s word. That would have pissed me off too.

    • 15 RightPaddock
      July 25, 2009 at 01:51

      When did truth ever matter to the media in recent times, or US Presidents – Clinton – I never had sexual relations …, Reagan – we have not and would never pay a ransom to terrorists …, Nixon – we are not bombing Cambodia —- .

    • 16 ALI
      July 25, 2009 at 13:51

      Devid, if I may put it to you too,the police officer did not in anyway showed his ID,thats according to the student on air. I`m sure if you were in the position of the Professor,you would be very angry especially after its been known the house is yours as in the case now.

  5. 17 Carolyn Casey
    July 23, 2009 at 14:52

    Regarding the arrest of Mr. Louis Gates, I do not believe the call to the police was racially motivated, or even the subsequent arrest due to his belligerent behavior. If I had seen two WHITE men appearing to force their way into a home, I would be the first to call the cops. I would base my suspicions on the BEHAVIOR that was being exhibited, and not on race or any other IRRELEVANT factor. Unfortunately, due to the sad history of racism in this country, I can see why some would regard this incident as being racially motivated. Mr. Gates belongs to a privileged class. A working class bloke of any race would not have gotten the charges dropped. This case smacks more of classism than racism.

    Carolyn

    Boston, MA

  6. 18 Edmund OConnell
    July 23, 2009 at 14:55

    The confrontation between Prof. Gates and a cop of his city (Cambridge) exposes two faults in America’s character, in what is acceptable in civic behavior. First, the “special attention” the police give dark-skinned people in certain situations – in “white neighborhoods” or retail establishments – is evidence of a form of racism, both in the police institutions who behave this way and in the white populace who accept it. Secondly, there is the issue that Gates broke no law, committed no crime, and was arrested, in fact, for “contempt of cop”, for speaking loudly and critically to a police officer. That is not illegal in America but since 9-11 our country has tended to canonize cops as “First Responders”, heroes in waiting. This is naive; in fact, many men and women who become cops prove incapable of handling the authority that comes with the job in a righteous and humane way. They confuse authority and power (the Cambridge policeman had the “authority” to ask Gate for identification and an explanation but he did not have the authority to punish him for speech the officer didn’t like, nonetheless he had the “power” to arrest him, cuff him, and take him away.)
    The underlying cause for both the racism and the acceptance of police misbehavior is the same: fear. Once we overcome our fear of the “other” and learn to reject the demagogue’s use of fear to gather support and voters, we will be on our way to a more civilized and just society.

  7. 19 Richard Hajinlian
    July 23, 2009 at 14:57

    I believe that Henry Louis Gates situation applies to people of all races here in the U.S. and not just black peiple. The police here in the U.S. have a systemic problem of how they treat the people they “serve”.

    Mr. Gates said he asked the policeman for his name and badge number. I did the same years ago and saw the fury in the cops face. There is definately a “Dirty Harry” approach to the public.

    Richard Hajinlian
    Billerica, MA 01821

    • July 25, 2009 at 22:04

      I am a former MIT faculty member, who had the same experience as Gates twice with Cambridge cops and once with a Harvard cop.

      I can’t believe that anyone would believe the word of a Cambridge cop in a situation like this one.

      Here is the blog entry on the incident: http://eaazi.blogspot.com/2009/07/crescent-report-lessons-from-color-line.html .

      [The Crescent Report] Lessons from the Color Line Even ‘Famous’ Black Men Can Be Thrown Up Against the Wall

      MAS Freedom Civil and Human Rights Director Ibrahim Abdil-Mu’id Ramey discussed Cambridge police mistreatment of Harvard Professor Henry “Skip” Louis Gates, Jr., in Lessons from the Color Line Even ‘Famous’ Black Men Can Be Thrown Up Against the Wall:

      For those who may not otherwise be aware, Harvard University Professor Henry “Skip” Louis Gates, Jr., is one of America’s most preeminent scholars and public intellectuals, in addition to being a prolific writer, researcher, and producer of major documentaries for American public television.

      Professor Gates is also a Black man; and apparently, that was the most salient part of his identity when it came to a confrontation with Cambridge, Massachusetts police officers earlier this week.

      It seems that Professor Gates, on returning from a trip to China, was attempting to un-jam his front door with the help of a driver hired to drive him in from the airport, and while doing so, the local police department received a report that “unidentified” black men had been seen attempting to break into the Gates residence.

      When officers arrived on the scene to investigate, Gates, in producing his University identification also happened to ask, as was his right, for the badge numbers of the officers confronting him. The officers reportedly refused to identify themselves, a disagreement followed, and Professor Gates was arrested – somewhat roughly – and charged with the offense of disorderly conduct.

      [To read the entire article, click here.]

      I am aware of localities where DWB (Driving While Black) is a reason for a cop to pull over a car.

      Yet while I am certain that there was a racial component in the incident, I have had the same problem with Cambridge cops even though I am white.

      Asking for an officer’s identification in Cambridge is almost always good for a quick trip to the police station during encounters either with Cambridge city cops or with Harvard cops, who are deputized by the city if I am not mistaken.

      I was able to talk my way out of an arrest, but I have worked over a lot of the last 15 years as a salesman. If I were still on the MIT faculty, I would probably have had more difficulty with the Cambridge police.

      The USA has a really sick police culture, which seems to make it easy for cops (and sometimes FBI agents) to think they can get away with anything despite the laws and regulations.

      This attitude is probably the root of the subversion of the Boston FBI office by the Winter Hill gang, and I have to admit — even if it is racist to say so —
      that African American cops generally are not as power crazed as the white cops and
      that I always prefer to deal with a black officer than a white cop.I recently consulted with a retired DA about the Chuck Turner sting, and he mentioned in passing that Boston-area cops really don’t understand how much their misbehavior has made them objects of scorn and distrust. Nowadays a large part of a Boston-area prosecutor’s job involves overcoming hardly unreasonable anti-cop feelings on the part of local juries.

  8. 21 Rob (UK)
    July 23, 2009 at 15:03

    I had to ‘break into’ my own house once, and somebody called the police. I’m white. I’m sure this happened to people of other ethnicities too.

    In a country as large as the US, this was bound to happen at some point. Perhaps racism was an additional factor, but the circumstances themselves don’t prove this.

    I’m more concerned about why this particular situation is newsworthy – because the guy is a professor and makes the accusation appear more ludicrous?

  9. 22 John
    July 23, 2009 at 15:04

    What has surprised me is the fact that we are not discussing the “dropped charged”. Racism to me is error in generalization, a fallacy in logic to generalize an idea to extend to an entire race. But this example of racism would not have been an arrest, if there were no laws regarding generalized/categorized conduct as “disorderly”. The law that Dr. Gates was arrested for is not defined in any terms that can be measured by any scientific means. The idea that an officer of the law can arrest someone for being expressive is a direct violation of our citizen’s rights. If this were noise complaint than evidence could be brought forth to prove that the decibel level was above set ordinances, if this were an assault case than evidence would be present. But this is a case of “disorderly conduct” which is subjective; the laws on this subject are so vague that if one “hurt the officer’s feelings” they could arrest you. By the way, “disorderly conduct” was how the local and state governments took Martin Luther King Jr. off the public streets and put this American hero (“uppity African American”) in jail. The sad thing about this case is that now that same abuse of power was extended to another citizen. This great experiment in Democracy we call America was founded on checks and balance. Perhaps the reason the judicial branch dropped these charges was the checks and balance that prevent abuses in power from the executive branch would have proved that these “catch all” laws are just an excuse to abuse power.

  10. 23 Tom McGhee
    July 23, 2009 at 15:17

    I am a Australian who has lived in NYC for the previous 6yrs and can’t believe the amounts of times people play the race card.

    I believe we really need to look at the facts and those facts show that most of the crime in the states is preformed by these groups those being African American and Hispanic thats just the facts.

    If this country has long history dealing with color and in my option that will only continue when we continually bring up the color issue. Lets look at the facts before even considering color and maybe lets also stop this blatant news reporting where if there is a issue being reporting in respect to an African American there use a African American reporter and the same when it is a Hispanic.

    Please enough already as long as a people think of themselves as different they and their future generation will never move ahead.

  11. 24 kitkat
    July 23, 2009 at 15:29

    I live near Cambridge, MA and the reaction from most people here is that Dr. Gates deserved to be arrested and that it was not a case of racial profiling. Hearing Obama’s quotes distressed me as it was clear he was misinformed about the situation. Dr. Gates was reasonably asked for an ID when the police arrived to prove he lived there and he refused at first to do so. He kept calling the officer racist, saying comments like “Do you know who I am?” and threatened the officer that if he messed with him that he was going to regret it and then he went outside to continue shouting at the officer. There were no statements uttered by the officer that were considered to be racist. Officers in the US expect deference and when they are not given it as in this case, they will often arrest the person for disorderly conduct if the person is making a scene which Dr. Gates was doing. Comments to the local newspaper, the Boston Globe, included many personal anecdotes from white people who had been in similar situations but what they did was to be polite to the police (because he was doing his job) and therefore they were NOT arrested. People consider Dr. Gates behavior as an entitled academic elitist and because he specializes in racism that he is predisposed to assume every situation that involves whites include a component of racism or racial profiling. There is no doubt that there is some racial profiling in the US BUT since blacks commit 52% of all homicides and 46% of all robberies in the US yet are only 12% of the population there can be no doubt that some racial profiling makes sense. The US has veered to an incredibly stupid point of political correctness. During airline screening, when an 86 yr old senior or a mother with a 3yr old child is selected for extra screening, it borders on the absurd. Who are the real terrorists or other safety risks? Not those I just mentioned.

    • July 24, 2009 at 14:32

      Racial pofiling never makes sense if we are supposed to be living in a so-called democracy. There are many reasons to doubt that we are, and racial profiling is just one of them. However, if you believe that racial profiling is an necessary tool for law enforcement, then you are most likely a racist on some level, or ignorant of the widespread abuse of individual rights by police departments throughout this nation.

      The failure of law enforcement agencies, and the judicial system as a whole to hold police officers accountable for racially motivated crimes, including many murders, proves that racisim is still alive and well in America, and having a black President will not substantially change that fact.

  12. 26 Venessa
    July 23, 2009 at 15:35

    Is race really the issue here? Would my husband have been arrested breaking into our home and exhibiting hostile behavior? Probably and we live in a middle class neighborhood that is predominantly black. Most cops have a superiority complex.

    I agree with Rob (UK) on this, is this really newsworthy or is it because this man is a professor and can raise a ruckus?

  13. 28 patti in cape coral
    July 23, 2009 at 15:43

    I can’t really comment on this, it isn’t really clear to me that the arrest was racially motivated or not, and it seems logical to me to call the police if anyone is seen trying to break into a home, if you don’t know the home belongs to them regardless of color. I had to break into my home after accidentally locking myself out, but the police weren’t called. Maybe because I am a woman? I am clearly not white.

  14. July 23, 2009 at 15:46

    Dear Sirs:
    I am a Black woman who, along with my son, used to be homeless in California. We are homeless for economic reasons; we lost our small business. While living in California, we had been so consistently harassed by police in San Diego and San Francisco that we eventually left the state. The first time that we had had a prolonged interaction with the police, I had become so outraged that I wrote about it on my former blog. I still have a copy of what I had written about the incident. If you e-mail me, I would be more than happy to send it to you. You will see that what happened to Henry Louis-Gates incident is not at all extraordinary, especially if you are black.

  15. 30 Anthony
    July 23, 2009 at 15:47

    This was stupid. Someone next door called and said they thought a black person was breaking in (Gates had to open the door with his shoulder because it was stuck). A police offier needs to be able to verify that the house is not getting robbed. He asked for I.D., and Gates was being a jerk about it. After if was over Gates followed the officers out and was yelling at them making a scene. So they took him in, who cares? If someone sees me knocking in my door, and they call in a 6’2″ Hispanic Male breaking in, I’ll be happy to show them my I.D., and I wouldn’t be a cry baby about it. Imagine if it wasn’t the owner, they would have robbed Gates blind.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  16. 31 Venessa
    July 23, 2009 at 16:02

    I meant to add that I don’t even think the neighborhood I live in matters anyhow.

  17. 32 Tom K in Mpls
    July 23, 2009 at 16:16

    Racism is a form of separation. A form of competition. Sometimes chosen subconsciously or incidentally on a whim or based on a standing phobia. Unfortunately this common human failing is played on more than any other. It goes to the point of being incorporated into legal systems that already have provisions for the fair treatment of all people.

    As a society we need to move beyond focusing on the cause of unjust or improper treatment and see that the situation is resolved properly.

  18. 34 patti in cape coral
    July 23, 2009 at 16:36

    I think I’m with Anthony on this, I don’t think I would have minded the inconvenience of having to show my ID if the alternative is possibly getting robbed because the police didn’t bother checking. So far, I haven’t seen anything yet that makes me think the police misbehaved in this instance.

  19. 35 Jennifer
    July 23, 2009 at 16:52

    Of course this man took it to the race area. According to the police report the officer said that he knew that the man was in his own house but it was the hostile way he was acting that led to his arrest. How true to form the media is misleading people about this!

    No, obviously we see from this man’s playing race card that we do not live in world where race is not a factor!

  20. 36 Venessa
    July 23, 2009 at 17:08

    Bravo Anthony, I totally agree! I would be HAPPY if my neighbors called the police if they thought someone was breaking into our home!

  21. 37 Abram
    July 23, 2009 at 17:58

    Psycho-social evolution takes time. Prejudice is a very hard thing to overcome.

    • July 24, 2009 at 15:44

      I partly concur with Abram’s second part of his argument that ”prejudice is a very hard thing to overcome” But totally disagrees with the first segment that states ”Psycho-social evolution takes time”.My question to Him is that for how long shall we wait in pretence that it takes time when these Police officers are torturing the free thinkers like this saga involving an African-American scholar? We should face the reality to the letter;Lets not slip back to dark days when we were not yet civilised!You can not arrest a free thinker who profoundly comprehends his human rights! Remember the arrest without trial of the french scholars that sparked off the French Revolution!Fortunately in my country Uganda and at Makerere University in particular scholars with different skin colours are free to move and articulate their ideas…I think we score high here compared to USA. VKELVIN of Makerere University Kampala,

  22. 39 Denise in Chicago
    July 23, 2009 at 17:58

    While Gates’ reaction may have been over the top, I believe the police escalated the matter. Once they learned that Gates lived in the house, they should have just left. Instead they engage in a verbal row with Gates and slap handcuffs on him. Aren’t the police trained to deal with argumentative citizens?

    • 40 Kev
      July 23, 2009 at 20:25

      They tried to leave but were followed by a man who is not used to being treated with anything but complete servility and grovelling………………”do you know who i am !!” the reply to which should be no and nor does the law care..we are all equal right irrespective of wealth !!!!!!!!

  23. July 23, 2009 at 18:28

    Read the police report. THe limo driver was at the front, not Gates. Yeah I’d expect them to call the cops. I wouldn’t scream at the cops when they showed up. And because I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t get arrested. Actions have consequences.

    Obama’s stupid little speech shows once again that he will always champion blacks in a contest between the general public interest and black tribal interests. His post racial healer image is a fraud. He’s a “race man” no different than Al Sharpton, he’s just more effective at it.

  24. 42 Bert
    July 23, 2009 at 18:51

    Oh, and it’s not equally likely that a Black Studies professor would be quick to play the race card?

    I was working on my car in the dark one night, and a cop asked to see my driver’s license and registration. Did I get in his face all indignant? Of course not. I was glad to see he was doing his job. And no, I am not of a minority ethnic group.

  25. 43 T
    July 23, 2009 at 19:26

    Nothing personal against WHYS. But it’s kind of a silly to have to actually ask it.

    Of course it’s a myth. Would the same thing have happened to a white person in their home? No chance. But now, is the MSM taking the opportunity to have a full and open debate about “Race” in the States? No. Instead, it’s Jackson, a new politician’s affairs. And more rampant neocon propaganda about Obama’s Evil “Socialist” Public Option.

  26. 44 Don from Detroit
    July 23, 2009 at 19:54

    As is usual any situation which presents any possible opportunity will be shoved into the racial arena. The really relevant question here is one of the psychological suitability of individuals to be entrusted to wear badges and guns. The sad fact is that very few if any police agencies around the country have any standardized policy of testing active duty officers for ANABOLIC STEROID ABUSE. This form of dope addiction causes extremely violent megalomaniacal behavior and is never to my knowlege punished with a zero-tolerance hard-prison-time for first offense protocol. Black police are equally as guilty of it as whites are and the shame of it is that news devotes far more concern to whether bicyclists and baseball players are abusing dope than whether armed invididuals roaming our streets with an exagerated sense of self-presumed police authority are.

  27. 45 Kev
    July 23, 2009 at 20:10

    Firstly the president serves ALL people so in this case should keep his obviously biased unprofessional opinions to himself.
    Secondly any person who is aggressively pursuing a police officer yelling and screaming should be arrested to discontinue the public disturbance.
    Thirdly I am so tired of the misrepresentation of so called “minority stop” bias…
    fact.. majority of violent crime (which includes home break-ins) is commited by non-white males between 15-35 years of age. Its a fact so lets deal with it.
    911 occured because the authorities were too scared to police a minority community for fear of the press screaming about abuse, get over yourselves and deal in what is real and not what the press chooses to print.
    The president has shocked me by his ridiculous comments and makes me wonder why he would utter such stupid remarks to any member of the press.
    Justice in the USA is clearly based on your wealth rather than what is the truth…OJ proved that and now it seems we are again going to see that wealth combined with an overused colour excuse is going to allow another self important overblown member of the wealthy to get away with actions that others cannot.

  28. 46 Ms. Hill
    July 23, 2009 at 21:55

    Mr. Gates showed him his ID. These police officers didn’t bother to call it in? Ask for more ID perhaps a US. Drivers license with their address on it? I don’t care if Mr. Gates yelled at these officers, I’m sure he was frustrated. Police in the US are bullies with badges and guns. You read about them all the time here in the US. They love to start the drama and hide behind their “reports” of the incidents. The “reports” they write are often way after the incident has taken place. These guys are jokes and bully everyone they think they can, white, black – it really does not matter to them. I have zero respect for these guys.

  29. 47 duzzitmatter
    July 23, 2009 at 22:19

    Its unfortunate that the esteemed, educated and mature professor , who is supposed to set an example of personal conduct to the next generation has a fragile ego and can not manage his temper. Would have been nice if the President did not pass his judgement so readily, specialy since its certain that if he were presented with a similar situation he would have kept his cool.

  30. July 23, 2009 at 22:28

    I am very surprised that an educated man,like a professor,has not realized that they were both members of the human race. His qualifications are outstanding.Literary critic,educator, scholar,writer,editor and public interllectual,this surprises me even more. Sorry, but the only word that springs to mind is arrogance!

  31. 49 deryck/trinidad
    July 23, 2009 at 22:29

    The stereotypes of blacks would make me concerned if I saw a black man forcibly trying to enter a building.

    Being a police officer on the beat who is probably accustomed to encounter blacks in negative situations would make me apprehensive and more likely to think the professor a criminal, again because of stereotypes.

    Being a black professor I would expect the perceived stereotypical behaviour of the police towards me.

    If black people want to be truly respected it cannot be done through enactments by the law but they must earn respect by changing the negative stereotypes of themselves as a people over time.

  32. 50 steve
    July 23, 2009 at 22:59

    While I think this arrest was absurb if he was not being disorderly, it’s hard to claim America is post-racial when a black man improperly gets arrested by the police makes international headlines, but affirmative action in employment and education on a daily basis doesn’t make headlines when it results in discrimination.

  33. 51 Jim Newman
    July 23, 2009 at 23:21

    Hello again
    Racism is certainely not a myth as any Palestinian could testify.
    Racism is a group phenomena where each individual feels, in some way, inferior to something or someone. The strength of a racist group is that it allows the individual members to forget their individual phobias and focus on a common target for hatred. The individual members still suffer from their different problems but they have a common victim to blame it all on.
    A good example for the last century was nazism. If I write the outstanding example for this century this comment will be censored.
    It’s probably doomed anyway.
    Jim

  34. 52 Arthur
    July 23, 2009 at 23:52

    I am a white American.

    It is well known that if one questions an American police officer, or even observes a officer questioning another person, one will risks threat of arrest.

    I fully agree with my President on this matter.

  35. 53 Diane
    July 24, 2009 at 05:38

    Someone who previoulsy wrote said he or she was black, so I might as well concede that I’m an asian.
    Personally, it’s not a post-racialism just because someone knowledged happened to be a black and arrested. Most of all, I cannot understand why a professor would’ve acted that way.

  36. 54 Roberto
    July 24, 2009 at 09:30

    RE ” ‘Disorderly conduct’ was how the local and state governments took Martin Luther King Jr. off the public streets and put this American hero in jail.”
    ———————————————————————————————————————————

    ————– First off, Gates is no more a hero than the copa are villains in this little vignette.

    It’s simply a congruent, simultaneous bad hair day both happen to have and the net result is the usual homo sapiens puffery of ego and hubris that has doomed the species to unceasing conflicts and violence without purpose.

  37. 56 steve
    July 24, 2009 at 12:56

    Obama completely ruined any chance of criminal or civil justice, for either side, by his comments. when the President makes such a comment, what kind of people will not have heard that? Where will a jury now be found? From under rocks. It shows incredibly POOR judgment on the behalf of Obama, especially being an attorney, for making such a comment prior to any charges or litigation being concluded. For those not aware, Obama said the police committed a stupid action.

  38. 57 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
    July 24, 2009 at 13:01

    I think this incident was cause due to lack of cooperations between Mr Gates and his neighbours.I was confused whether it was good for pres Obama to response to a such lower profile case? offcourse no, and who runs the police in US/Cambridge dep,Blacks/Whites?.Electing black man into power in America doesnt meant that all racial discriminations have been heal then between the Blacks & Whites communities. And this also reminds me on how Africans universal response to Obama victory last November were so good that Obama would solve every problems that encounter Africa & the previous divisive comments in Iran by Khamenei which brought Iran to present image. I hopes Obama apologize to his people for taking parts in condemning racial incident partially.He`s a very powerful US president and therefore must rule accordingly regardless of wherever race his victims/suspects are to comes from.RACIAL SEGREGATIONS IN AMERICA TOWARDS AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITIES WILL CONTINUE EVEN WHEN TENTH OBAMAS ARE TO BE ELECTED INTO US PRESIDENCY.

  39. 58 Linda from Italy
    July 24, 2009 at 13:55

    Anthology:
    kitkat: “Officers in the US expect deference and when they are not given it as in this case, they will often arrest the person for disorderly conduct if the person is making a scene”
    Mr Roach: “I wouldn’t scream at the cops when they showed up. And because I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t get arrested. Actions have consequences.”
    Kev: “Secondly any person who is aggressively pursuing a police officer yelling and screaming should be arrested to discontinue the public disturbance.”
    Arthur: “It is well known that if one questions an American police officer, or even observes a officer questioning another person, one will risks threat of arrest.”

    Hello?
    Aren’t police supposed to be public servants? I suppose we should be grateful they just didn’t shoot the poor guy dead. Someone over-reacting verbally is not a criminal, anyone who has worked with the general public, not in a uniform and without a gun, could tell you that. Lack of tact and too many decibels should not be a reason for arrest.
    Linda

    • 59 Kev
      July 25, 2009 at 22:30

      Linda, never mind what should or shouldn’t be….its an offence to cause a disturbance therefore someone over-reacting verbally is technically commiting a criminal offence; I’m sure you’ve complained about noisy children/parties/teenagers etc and demanded that police solve your problem. The police have no choice but to act to any person breaking the law. Public servant doesn’t mean they have to take abuse, that feudal attitude is why crime is soaring and respect has vanished.

  40. 60 Jennifer
    July 24, 2009 at 14:41

    Now that the truth has came out, the Professor should step up and admit that he played the race card. He should apologize for misleading people for the purpose of validating his actions. Arrogance!

    Mr. Obama should keep his opinions held until he knows the facts. A. Open mouth B.Insert foot!

    The police officer was doing his job!

  41. 61 Scot
    July 24, 2009 at 14:41

    In this situation, the police were called in response to a complaint of “two” men forcing there way into a domicile (the cab driver apparently helped Gates break into his own home and then left). It would make sense that standard police procedure in this situation is: 1) Ascertain the identity of the person who answers the door. 2) Ask that person (once identified as the homeowner) to step outside of the structure. 3) Ascertain who is the “other” person identified in the complaint. The second and third step are designed to insure that a home invasion or hostage situation is not occurring. I believe the facts in this case are that the black Mr. Gates became belligerent in response to misunderstanding the white officers motive for asking him to step out of the house.
    There can be no doubt that racism is alive and well in America. However, what we must consider in light of these facts is: Who is the racist in this situation? The problem with the Gates’ of the world is not that they point out racism when they see it. The problem, rather, is that they don’t recognize that it goes both ways.

  42. 62 Abram
    July 24, 2009 at 14:48

    According to the information I#ve got, the police in that particular area knows all the “BLACK” residents — which means the coups knew Prof. Gates, and were not supposed to ask after his ID.

  43. 63 Harvard Square Blues
    July 24, 2009 at 14:58

    Hmmm…..President Obama (although I am a fan) should not have shot his mouth off in that press conference about the Cambridge police incident. He prefaced his critique by saying he didn’t know the facts–so he should have stuck with that line. Race politics in the US are complex and this is not going to go away. He didn’t have to bring it on.

  44. July 24, 2009 at 14:59

    Please make it stop!!

    This issue, as it relates to President Obama’s response, is more mundane, distracting and dare I say, stupid, than President Clinton’s impeachment.

    Can we please stay focused on real issues?

    If the media would like to explore racism then lets talk about some of the real inequalities in American society and not focus on Obama, who in fact made a quite reasonable statement under the circumstances.

  45. 65 Dave O.
    July 24, 2009 at 15:02

    No one is talking about the classist aspect that may be present here. Gates, as a Harvard professor and as someone living in Cambridge, Mass. may harbor a sense of entitlement. That, coupled with other elements such as travel fatigue (he just arrived back from a trip to China) and other more complicated emotions may have led him to jump to the conclusion that he was being racially profiled. Of course, until the 911 and dispatch calls are released to the public no one will know what occurred, and even then we still may not know.

    The assumption by prominent African-Americans -including President Obama- that this is a racially motivated act should not be taken lightly. However, as more facts come to light I believe that Gates’ state of mind and subsequent belligerence will justify the police officer’s arrest.

  46. 66 MIchael Rogers
    July 24, 2009 at 15:05

    This is not a post-racial society … the idea is absurd. What we are in is a new age of racism where most White people believe that Black people are inherently inferior, but no one has a vocabulary to voice these racist beliefs. As a result they are manifested in more subversive ways such as the growing racial segregation in America and few interracial marriages. It’s not likely that the police officer left his house thinking that he would wrongly accuse a Black man for a crime in his own home, but what was not intended is that we White men have a complex that has been ingrained in our subconscious and that split-second responses rely more on this subconscious racism than conscious “inclusive” rhetoric.

    • July 26, 2009 at 18:57

      Dear Rogers.Its right that Racial abuse is still existing within American societies but you seem not to be remembering that there`s another elections to come in 2012 which DP of Obama and his RP counterpart will contest under grass root level!.Now RP had find a safe heaven ground were they be launching there attacks on DP and Obama in 2012 elections and for sure they`ll do it definitely.If racial case was against White man than it`d have been better for Obama to response,also know that during 08elections Whites vote for Obama too.SO PLEASE DONT BETRAY ABAMA 2ND TERM IN OPPOSITE WAY.

  47. 68 Malcom
    July 24, 2009 at 15:09

    I am sure everyone would agree that its not fair of the Cops to arrest someone in their home(esp who is back from a long international trip) after showing an ID. Everybody would accept that its racism if a white scholar was arrested by a black cop. The police treating the non-white race different is just not acceptable. I understand the Cops in US have a tough job with everyone ready to carry a gun but that doesn’t justify racial profiling.

  48. 69 Matthew Tyler Giobbi
    July 24, 2009 at 15:10

    Regarding the Louis Gates affair, the overriding matter is the approach of
    American police officers. My experience, as a professor of psychology who
    has had cadets in the college classroom, is that young police officers are
    more interested in exercising power and prestige rather than serving &
    protecting.

    We understand that occupation, and choice of what one does in
    life, is positively correlated with specific character features. Most
    individuals who are drawn to the police career are what is known as an
    “authoritarian character,” marked by an admiration for submission to authority
    and a preoccupation with rules and regulations. Young police cadets must be
    urged in the classroom to become of aware of their own conscious &
    unconscious biases that might be vented through their profession.

    Matthew Giobbi Ph.D.

    • July 27, 2009 at 10:50

      Egoism coupled with superiority complex can be pretty detrimental.I concur with professor Mathew Tyler Giobbi on his remarks. It is astonishing with how little wisdom mankind can be governed, when that little wisdom is its own. These police officers should have been on their check cause according to Theodore Roosevelt,”Nine-tenths of wisdom is being wise in time”. Above all, Henry David Thoreau said,”It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things”.Believe me Professor these police officers were somewhat variably desperate;Its unacceptable in any civilised and liberal society; comments are welcome…from VKELVIN of Makerere University Kampala.

  49. 71 Frank
    July 24, 2009 at 15:10

    Obama’s comments are both distressing and in poor judgment, and possibly racist in their own right. His statement that the police acted in a stupid manner should not have been made by the President of the US, particularly when he admitted he did not know all of the facts. In his position he should act fairly to all Americans he is suppose to serve no matter what their race, and at a minimum not interfere in the affairs of local jurisdictions. He should have kept his opinion to himself. Instead he seems to have played a race card in the hopes that it would help boost his falling approval ratings due to his broken campaign promises, failure to meet the deadlines he has set for himself, and the political fallout from his desire to rush approval of a poorly crafted healthcare bill.

  50. July 24, 2009 at 15:23

    Racism is anathema that the Globe should erase in this 21st century.Black,white,brown,blue or any skin colour should be respected.The World has seen great minds from Black people so far.We should not insinuate,veer and oscillate with ideas from baseless notions to debase the blacks.Paradoxically,that Country is doing pretty well with a black man in the White House!We should subsist in a liberal globe…No one is greater or superior to others based on skin colour! NEVER! Like my African hero the late great artiste Lucky Dube posed a question, ”For how long must I pay for my Freedom”. The World has failed to get an adequate answer to this question! Arresting such a great icon,an ace,an academic,a proficient and prolific professor is an epitome of gross racial stereotype the Department of Police has towards the Blacks in the United States of America.Respect, VKELVIN of Makerere University Kampala Uganda.

  51. 73 Steve in Boston
    July 24, 2009 at 15:29

    I’ll tell you what this story is REALLY about.

    It’s about a pompous Harvard professor (and this town is full of them) thinking that he is above the law, refusing to show any respect for authority, and acting like a fool. When caught with his pants down, he pulled out the race card.

    Listening to some of the local talk shows the issue boils down to whether one has a right to “mouth off” to a police officer. Most people agree that you don’t, and that the police have wide discretion in exerting control of things when they are called to a potential crime scene.

    Regardless, a 58 year-old university professor of any race, creed or color should have behaved in a civil and professional manner that would be a shining example to all of how to behave when dealing with the police. “Yes sir,” “no sir,” “thank you for coming so quickly, I know you’re here to protect me.” Instead, Gates acted like an aging baby-boomer trying to relive his youth as if he’s still a 22 year-old radical in the 1960’s with the Black Panthers, the SDS, and civil disobedience. Way to go Henry. Black power. Yeah!

    Obama made two foolish errors. First of all he weighed in with a knee-jerk reaction without knowing all the facts. He jumped at the opportunity to undermine necessary police authority in this country.

    Second, a responsible, grown man does not use the word “stupid.” Ever. With that one word Obama brought himself down to a schoolboy level, lost the respect of millions of Americans, and set race relations back 100 years. And he’s the “leader of the free world.” Just wonderful.

    • 74 RightPaddock
      July 25, 2009 at 02:35

      @Steve in Boston – precisely!!!!

      I’m astounded that President Obama weighed in on this issue at all, irrespective of his characterisation of the police officers and/or Gates.

      Politicians, especially those would don’t have direct responsibility for the particular jurisdiction, should never comment on operational law enforcement matters. Either they’ll be perceived as trying influence (pervert) the course of justice or they’ll do themselves harm by inappropriate comments.

      President Obama needs to fall out of love with the sound of his own voice. He seems unsure whether he’s a member of the commentariat or the President of the United States, I don’t think he can be both.

      In a few years there may be many more cries of “Yo Ho, Ho Ho, Mr O it’s time to go!”

    • July 25, 2009 at 09:44

      STEVE in BOSTON, Its profoundly ridiculous to hear all that from you! Between you and His excellency president Obama, who is more informed about what precisely took place? The president has got very many people who can reliably inform Him of what took place.For your own information,before president Obama makes any public talk,He must be well informed. Come on Guys lets not Meddle our ignorance into things we are not well versed with.It sounds like you are merely biased with Obama’s administration.If not checked,this bias can result in Racism… check it please,VKELVIN of Makerere University Kampala.

  52. 76 Sandy K.
    July 24, 2009 at 15:31

    These are all interesting comments, and I find mostly sane ones, even where they take opposing views! Nice to see this civil discourse. The question posed about Obama’s comments…. I imagine if he were any of the preceding 43 presidents (in other words, had paler skin), and said “I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact,” no one would be flapping their arms about a “race card” being played (whatever that means). Though they may have been surprised by such candor, I think we’d be back to accusations about socializing medicine and such a bit sooner.

    I think the original incident was an unfortunate meeting of a grumpy (who likes being locked out of their own house?), jetlagged (just back from China), and OK, possibly arrogant high-profile professor who happens to be a friend of the president, and an anxious (is there any other kind of cop on patrol?) and OK, possibly prideful officer who maybe happens to suffer a little town-vs.-gown antipathy … Indeed, it doesn’t look like anyone made the best choices in the situation. I like Roberto’s comment above calling it a “simultaneous bad hair day.” Nicely put.

  53. 77 James T. Russell
    July 24, 2009 at 15:39

    Sir,
    I listened to the news report on President Obama’s comments regarding Dr. Gates’ manhandling and arrest by the Boston police last week. In the report by the BBC you said that President Obama came out strongly against the arrest and condemned the police action, and later when the Republican party raised arguments about the effect of such condemnation on law enforcement personnel, he reversed himself.
    I too listened to both the President’s initial comment and his reply after the right wing attack of his condemnation. First of all, I do not agree that he toned down his criticism of how the police conducted themselves. In addition, I believe what the police did was unconscionable. This is NOT a police state and should not be. It is very clear that he was confronted by police while he was entering HIS own home only because he was a black man. Let us all have to face this.
    I would be quite upset as well if the police accosted me when I am opening my door to my home for whatever reason, and would surely argue with them vociferously. There is no reason for Dr.Gates to be manhandled for his arguing and to put him in jail. I think such actions by the police should not be condoned under any pretext. I think the law enforcement personnel in the US are already adequately protected and feared.
    I commend the president’s action when he spoke against the police action, and would hope he would condemn the perpetrators and to work to weed out such individuals who do not have basic decency out of the law enforcement rosters through the country.
    James T. Russell

  54. 78 Don from Detroit
    July 24, 2009 at 15:58

    Linda has it exactly right. The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the personal right to bear arms is very telling. It was long asserted that the clause “In the interest of maintaining a well-regulated militia…” demonstrated the intent of the authors of the law to limit the bearing of arms to those those approved by the politicians to do so. If that is not in fact the intended meaning then the true intention must have to do with ensuring that the members of the militia will be “well-regulated” rather than a law unto themselves as is true under repressive authoritarian regimes. The best regulator of all is a public who won’t take much in the way of police arrogance before using firearms to regulate it. That is of course a most extreme solution suitable only for use in the most extreme circumstrances but it should be a warning to arrogant police how to lay down like proper civil subservients when instructed by citizen authority over them to do so.

  55. 79 Anthony
    July 24, 2009 at 15:59

    Obama should have kept him mouth shut on this one. He wouldn’t say anything about Iran, but right away he’s talking about gates.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090723/ap_on_re_us/us_harvard_scholar_disorderly

    It’s funny, the officer in question is a “police academy expert on understanding racial profiling”, and non of the black officers think he’s even a little bit racist. It’s all b.s. and Gates should just state that he made a mistake.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • July 25, 2009 at 10:10

      NEVER! Anthony, I am not convinced here that Gates should just state that he made a mistake! Which mistake are you referring to?Then if its you accosted in your home town you will meekly go on and state”I am sorry, but I made a mistake here!”.Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right.If Gates argued with the police officers without ABUSING them whatsoever,what is wrong with that? We should not at any ones time plead for our fundamental human rights, These police officers are obliged to enforce Law and Order in our societies and they know the method of doing it, but failed on implementation stage.VKELVIN of Makerere University Kampala.

  56. 81 tipsylife
    July 24, 2009 at 16:19

    What kind of communities live in the USA? Race issues and remarks aside, a well trained cop needed to have noted the age of the said unarmed and eroneously perceived criminal. Cop training always has a touch of psychology which helps the officer take a little or brief stocktaking of the said criminal. He didn’t and probably he is telling us that old men are part of burglers in the US.
    As if that is not enough, the scene portrays some kind of hostile neighborhoods. Is it possible that a neibor did not know who he was? Besides that, is it possible that there was no one else who could have intervened to cool down two irrate men possibly because of use of heavy language?
    To those who think that this is not an important event for this program, give a second look at it and try to think whether this is an ideal society for you.

    • 82 Sandy K.
      July 25, 2009 at 05:03

      Nice point. It’s a lamentable state of affairs to start with when people don’t even recognize their neighbors, but probably altogether too common.

  57. 83 James Ian
    July 24, 2009 at 16:34

    Henry Louis Gates was trying to get arrested to stir the racial pot. Did he really follow the cops out the door as they were trying to leave antagonizing them? Last time I looked any time you create a public disturbance or cause public alarm you can be arrested for disorderly conduct. If he was outside his home yelling at the cops where everyonbe and thier dog could see I don’t blame them.
    And if anyone was behaving “stupidly” it was Obama for publicly calling the police officers stupid. The police have a hard enough job as it is now his remarks are going to give cause to every cop hater out there.

    • July 25, 2009 at 10:20

      James Ian, Remember President Obama is the head of State and has all the rights to comment on anything in his jurisdiction.After all, He is the commander of Armed Forces of USA, and therefore can use that mandate to shape what He thinks is good for the people of United States.He is the president because of the will of the majority of American people.Possibly the police officers’ passion for their job boiled over beyond the tides, and according to me are the ones who behaved”stupidly” in this saga.VKELVIN of Makerere University.

      • 85 Kev
        July 25, 2009 at 22:41

        You seem to be under the impression that the president is not a PUBLIC SERVANT and therefore is just as accountable for his actions as the considerably less well paid officers in a vastly more dangerous occupation where they have to deal with on the spot situations, without a vast array of advisors..Obama is so out of line for his comments he should publically apologise……

      • 86 James Ian
        July 26, 2009 at 04:49

        He can comment all he wants but he doesn’t need to insult. publicly. Even he admited he made a poor choice of words.
        As far as the “passions of the officers boiling over” sounds to me like Gates was the one who was out of controle. I will reiterate my possition that I believe Gates intention from the start was to make issue of this incident.
        From what I understand he was the one who brought up the issue of race. He wanted to make it a race issue even though it wasn’t.
        If you ask me it’s people like him that keep racism alive. It’s been their brum and thier cause all thier lives and they don’t want to let it go. Most every white person I know goes out of thier way to be extra nice to black people just so they will not have anything to gripe about. I’m sure the sgt. was extra sensitive about the issue as well. I’m sure Gates recognized that and took advantage of the sgt’s trepidation.
        MR Obama needs to think about his words and the afftect they will have before he uses them. With the Presidencey comes the responcibility to make tempered, well thought out and informed comments and statements. NOT off the cuff, uninformed attacks on people who are having to do a tough job.
        Talk aboout monday morning quarterbacking !

  58. 87 T
    July 24, 2009 at 16:42

    Today, Obama’s apologized for bringing this up in his last press conference. He’s apologizing for telling the truth. Because it’s “distracting” people from health care reform.

    What does this say? The public can’t handle more than one issue at a time?

    • 88 James Ian
      July 26, 2009 at 04:53

      He did not apologize, he said it was regrettable if his comments appeared to malign the police department. That is far from an apology, that he should have given.

  59. 89 Kate
    July 24, 2009 at 17:05

    I have a theory about this case in particular. While Prof. Gates is no doubt gifted intellectually, he does not suffer from modesty. Few professors at Harvard do. He has done a couple of series on PBS and for those interested in history (as I am) or African-American history, his face and name are well known nationwide.

    I think the situation escalated because this officer DID NOT RECOGNIZE him. Therefore Prof. Gates could easily jump to the assumption that if the officer (who is a local) did not know who he (of national reputation) was, that he was not interested in African-American history … and therefore, most likely a racist. Probably a lot more about education, elitism and ego, than race.

  60. 90 Lois
    July 24, 2009 at 17:11

    IN SUM:
    1. If the police officer had been a female, I believe this whole incident would have turned out differently.
    2. Let somebody else try to break into that Mr. Gates’s house and I’m willing to bet not a single one of his neighbors would call the police in the future. Regardless of the color of the intruder.

    Am I the only person in the world who was ticked with the reporter for asking this question? We need to talk about health care and since nobody was there when the incident with Prof. Gates happened everything at this point is only speculation on all sides. Now the incident is being blown all out of proportion.

    I WANT TO TALK ABOUT HEALTH CARE.

    • 91 RightPaddock
      July 25, 2009 at 03:26

      @Lois – I was with you all the way, until I read “We need to talk about health care”

      I suggest BBC WORLD Service WHYS should talking about what your Vice President has been saying in Georgia – relevant to 500 million Europeans; or what your Secretary of State has been saying in Delhi & Phuket – relevant to 3,800 million in South, East & Central Asia, and Oceania.

      But it should not be talking about about a confrontation between two Boston policemen and a Harvard professor who happens to be a friend of your President; or the interminable peregrinations about reforming your dysfunctional elitist health care system – these issues are relevant to a mere 300m.

      Americans claim to believe in democracy but do they ever stop demanding that they have command over the centre stage? No, they don’t. I suspect the US has more media outlets (radio, tv, newspapers, magazines, blogs, chat rooms etc) that the entire rest of humanity on which it can discuss US domestic issues, without commandeering everything else that’s out there.

  61. 92 Jo
    July 24, 2009 at 17:18

    I live in Boston, and I am pretty sure their is very little difference in the attitutdes of some of the police officiers in both Boston and Cambridge. There are many who are nothing more than bullies, and bullies with power. There are very good reasons nobody trusts the police in MA . I was raised to respect the police, but I am very wary of them in MA and i am a law abiding white woman. I would never dare to complain about an officer for fear of retribution.

    I have no doubt that this officer saw an African American man in a nice neighborhood and reacted to that and I am sure reacted very promptly to the call.
    I would also like to see the police respond so promptly and with such enthusiasm to poorer neighborhoods – believe me they do not respond with such a show of force in Roxbury, Dorchester or Southie.

    In their press conference held by the police unions the one screamingly obvious thing was the absolute lack of minority representation (I saw 2 African Americans and 1 Asian), and all the union leaders were white. All I heard was “We are good, we did nothing wrong, everyone else is wrong.” There is a very think blue line here – it is filled by generations of Irish and Italian good old boys.

  62. 93 Jo
    July 24, 2009 at 17:28

    Oh
    And a clarification regarding the arrest. The officer walked outside with Prof Gates’ ID. Prof Gates followed him outside and yes he did raise his voice – the officer then was able to take advantage of the fact that he could arrest Prof gates for disorderly conduct since by MA law yo uhave to be outside the home to be disorderly.
    Once this officer saw the address on the ID matched the address of the home they should have apologized for any inconvenience and just left. Seriously 4 + officers for an elderly man with a cane?
    I reiterate while the majority of people in MA are lovely, friendly, polite and educated there remains an awful ot of institutional racism especially in the police departments that has been allowed to remain unchecked.

  63. 94 steve/oregon
    July 24, 2009 at 17:29

    The professor would have had a valid claim of racism if he hadn’t thought he was above getting questioned by a police officer. The officer should have given him his information. Both parties are wrong
    The professor for being rude to someone just doing there job
    The officer for not maintaining his professionalism.

    I place blame on the professor if he had not been so upity the whole situation could have been avoided

  64. 95 T
    July 24, 2009 at 18:00

    What soundbite is the MSM in the States running repeatedly? Obama saying “if I tried this at the White House, I’d get shot.”

    True. But also, this is just another example of many people REFUSING to deal with “racial” reality. Not one person has said, what if Gates were white? If the MSM can’t make tons of money off a story, they don’t care.

  65. 96 kitkat
    July 24, 2009 at 19:17

    Ok, this information is from the head of the Black LEO (Law Enforcement Officers) group in the US. And he teaches young blacks how to deal with police officers when stopped. The basic premise is to be POLITE, don’t argue with the officer. This officer then stated that based on what he has read of the reports that Sgt Crowley did the right thing when he asked for ID from Gates. And even when the ID is offered, a check MUST be run to determine if there are any restraining orders against him. Gates can verbally abuse the officer in his own home but, however, once he steps outside to continue the verbal abuse and therefore creates a public disturbance then he can be arrested. The black LEO stated that what Gates should have done is to shut the front door after the officer left and leave it at that. Whether Sgt Crowley lured Gates outside or Gates, in his blind rage, voluntarily came out – being outside was a key element to being able to be arrested. So contrary to people assumption that officers should publicly take abuse no matter what, they can legally arrest you if you are creating a public disturbance. If you notice, not one of the witnesses who watched his tirade has come to the defense of Gates.

  66. July 24, 2009 at 20:09

    I think racism has always existed, and will continue to exist in other forms, within hidden systems. In today’s complex world, there are so many discrimination channels, making racism hard to detect.
    My opinion is that this isn’t only about racism, some incidents are also about politics, about mobilising Media attention, about launching public debates. It is perhaps what we are witnessing in this episode: one small incident leading to a global debate about racism. This is an important step, …however it is about a former Harvard scholar from the upper circles. The question is : would this whole media attention had been the same if the police incident was against a young black man from Harlem, …certainly not…

  67. 98 Frank
    July 24, 2009 at 20:20

    Obama’s comments are both distressing and in poor judgment, and possibly racist in their own right. His statement that the police acted in a stupid manner should not have been made by the President of the US, particularly when he admitted he did not know all of the facts. In his position he should act fairly to all Americans he is suppose to serve, and at a minimum not interfere in the affairs of local jurisdictions. He should have kept his opinion to himself. Instead he seems to have played a race card in the hopes that it would help boost his falling approval ratings due to his broken campaign promises, failure to meet the deadlines he has promised, and the political fallout from his desire to rush approval of a poorly crafted healthcare bill.

  68. 99 Abrhaley from Eritrea
    July 24, 2009 at 20:39

    Racism is not so bad… maybe it would help the black community to rise up to its lowly position and provide it with the determination it so ergently needs to gain its humanity. Oppression exhibits the value of libety. Liberty in all walks of life including equality before the law, equal opportunity…

  69. 100 Calixto
    July 24, 2009 at 21:26

    Of course post racism America is a myth, and anyone who believes otherwise has most likely lived a sheltered life. It took 100 years for black americans to go from slavery to equal rights, and even now, decades after desegregation groups like the Klu Klux Klan still exist. I would reckon that the reason this issue is so controversial is because people want dearly to believe that racism is gone, when the reality is far from that ideal.

  70. 101 Roseann In Houston
    July 24, 2009 at 22:51

    Racism is rampant, and it is being perpetuated by Black Americans as well as whites. Recently there was extensive coverage in the US involving a children’s day camp. Because of the economic downturn, many public swimming pools have been closed, so a summer day camp with 65 children (mostly Black and Hispanic) contracted with a private swimming club (mostly white) to use their pool once a week. The kids showed up, some of the (white) members of the club made racist comments, and a few days later the club returned the day camp’s check and canceled their contract. Up until that point, it was sad evidence of continued friction between races. But once the story started getting coverage from the media the administrators of the day camp announced that the Black and Hispanic children were “emotionally damaged” and “scarred” by the experience. THEN a wealthy Black businessman announced that he would finance a trip for all 65 children to go to DisneyWorld because he wanted the children to know that “there are people out there who want them to succeed regardless of the color of their skin”. Lesson to the Black kids? When life doesn’t go your way, you will be rewarded if you can figure out a way to make it about race!
    And that is what I think happened here, I think Gates saw an opportunity to cash in on the experience. I think Gates was baiting the officer, pushing him to react, I think Gates WANTED to turn it into a race issue – and he has succeded, he’s gotten lots of popular press, and now he can write a book or whatever (I hear he’s planning a documentary).

  71. 102 Bridget
    July 24, 2009 at 23:27

    Our president called the police officer’s behavior in this case “stupid” because it was just that – stupid. Stupid or racist or both. You don’t arrest somebody for being in their own home, no matter how odd their behavior may seem. I think what marks this case as one of police abuse, is that no worthwhile charges could possibly have been sustained, and there was no wrongdoing on the professor’s part, yet he was arrested and held, for what? Being rude? Is that a crime in America? And given our country’s undeniably racist bent, especially among the police, I think it was rather restrained of President Obama to say so little about the racism implicit in his friend’s arrest. I’m a white woman living in Chicago, and there’s no question in my mind that a “post-racist America” is just a racist myth to keep white people ignorant; racism is a serious and continuing problem in American life.

  72. 103 Don from Detroit
    July 24, 2009 at 23:42

    Yezitduzmatter. I cannot believe the blind acquiescence to police arrogance implicit in the statement that the black professor should be a role model for youth by taking abusive disrespect lying down. Anyone of reasonable intelligence would have to admit that the person entrusted to use good judgement as to when to carry a gun into people’s homes without their prior consent ought be the one subject to the far more restrictive expectation of just when they are to be judged justified in such actions as well as their manner of speech. The excuse that showing disrespect for an arrogant tin-badge tin-pot who obviously went out of his way to fully earn it should be regarded as somehow criminal is an elitest idea well-suited to the well-heeled (or self-imagined same) but does not resonate with those who have been systematically denied opportunities in this society.

  73. 104 Greg, Detroit_USA
    July 24, 2009 at 23:50

    Mr. Obama, who has had multiple first-hand experiences with the downside of racism, now has a unique pedestal from which to express the thoughts of many Americans who feel this police action was out-of-line and improper. But the story should remain on the broader issue of racism, not the President.

    • July 25, 2009 at 12:57

      But the President is part and parcel of the American society in which the arrest took place,So how can we debate without including His Excellency president Barrack H.Obama? As long as we include Him in our debates with respect and deserved decorum, I think its health for us to mention His name.This is my stand Greg,Detroit_USA. I remain Vkelvin of Makerere University Kampala.

      • 106 RightPaddock
        July 25, 2009 at 16:38

        @VKELVIN – I would have thought that’s it would be axiomatic that sitting politicians should never comment on operational police matters for which they do not have direct jurisdictional authority, and then only circumspectly. And that especially applies if they are considering speaking on behalf of a personal friend.

        I my opinion President Obama was dangerously close to being seen as attempting to pervert the course of justice. He needs to fall out of love with the sound of his own voice and learn when its better to hold his tongue. Otherwise he’ll find himself applying for a job as the lead symbolist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2013.

      • 107 Greg, Detroit_USA
        July 26, 2009 at 14:52

        VKELVIN, yes he is “part and parcel” of America, but so are 300+ million other Americans, including thousands of politicians and respectable citizens. We can’t and shouldn’t include all these people in conversations about local law enforcement. Besides, the president is just one of three EQUAL branches of US government, mean we would then have to take into account 535 other polticians’ points of view as well. RightPaddock (below) said that he was dangerously close to interfering with the judicial system. I might possibly agree with this comment if he wasn’t asked for his opinion on it first.

  74. 108 Tan Boon Tee
    July 25, 2009 at 03:50

    The US president has to be very careful when dealing with the ultra-sensitive racial issues. To think that America is now racial-free can be a terrible misconception.

    Do not forget the president himself is not pure black, though he seems exceptionally proud to be one.

  75. 109 Ramesh, India
    July 25, 2009 at 06:35

    May be professor gates was wrong or may be the police were wrong. But Obama behaved like an loose tongue Idiot(like me!).

    • July 25, 2009 at 13:05

      Ramesh from India,nobody is already proved guilty! but the truth of the matter is that when it happened no one was on the scene; so, you cannot brandish President Obama or even yourself in the list as a ”loose tongue Idiot” Noooo! I remain VKELVIN of Makerere University Kampala.

      • 111 Ramesh, India
        July 25, 2009 at 19:13

        Vkelvin, what i meant was that the president of the United states has better things to do!! It was was too idiotic of Obama to react like that only to backtrack, I believe!!

  76. July 25, 2009 at 11:55

    This whole thing is absulutely stupid!!!! This is showing that racism still exist in the US and that the Society is absolutely out of touch with humanity. This professor has been living in his home for years, how comes that the neighbours cant recognised him???

    I know all my neighbours by name and sometime share tea or lunch with them.
    It time the US society start living together and talking to each other and not being too guarded in themselves. This will help reduce racism and other social problems.
    Poor and rich, black and white should be living together.

  77. 113 tipsylife
    July 25, 2009 at 15:29

    The black and white Americans need to change and we thought for once that they had reached a turning point. Rough language by people in public service; police included, or citizens is uncalled for when a wrong is being corrected. It is a reflection of a stressesed nation which is incapable of running its house in order. We do not deny that there has been abuses of office in past, but one cannot fail to see that from the time of Richard Nixon, the presidency too is increasingly viewed as a weak institution at home even though it is esteemed abroad.
    Both blacks and whites should strive for a cohesive society for the good of a mature America and not to resort to the ‘stupid’ America. Why should they continue to live differently from military or the men and women in their own prisons who are able to forge ahead colaboratively?
    It is bad for the American society to allow spoilers of relationships hijack the centre stage. If you look at this whole saga, it smirks of LACK OF RESPECT to each other even though this might only be a small number. It should be shunned by everyone.

  78. 114 J Bickley
    July 25, 2009 at 16:56

    To all non-Americans: Any American youth of any color who has encountered the police in any city in America can tell you that most American policemen and policewomen can do to you whatever they want on the street and they will be able to rely upon their coworkers and even the court system to stand up for their actions, regardless of the justification. Why? American police deal with a lots of guns and other violent situations that European police simply do not see much at all. As a result, the American police follow a method analagous to the US military’s method of “overwhelming firepower.” The american police will beat you up without question if you do not do what they want. They will arrest you if you even show them disrespect. And once again, they can always rely upon their fellow policemen to back them up regardless of the justice of their actions. American poilcemen feel like they are in constant danger and they have justification to kill others if there is any reason whatsoever to possibly think that person was doing something to harm them. For Instance, simply putting your hand in your pocket while being questioned by a policeman will get you shot in America.

  79. 115 RightPaddock
    July 25, 2009 at 17:34

    Of course “Post racial America” is a myth.

    There’s no post racial South Africa, Japan, Pakistan, Australia, Britain, Sweden, Nigeria, Malaysia, … or anywhere else where human beings are living; it’s yet another example of the BBC asking stupid tabloid questions.

    The issue is whether it was appropriate for Barack Hussein Obama the President of the United States of America to intervene in the matter of an inconsequential confrontation between policemen doing their job and a Harvard professor who happens to be the Presidents friend.

    Grow up BBC and learn to behave like an adult! See my earlier response posts for what I think regarding the Presidents actions on this matter.

  80. July 25, 2009 at 18:37

    My honest opinion is that racism wouldn’t just go away simply because some black man has become the American presient; there is a lot to it than just giving a few chances to a black or other prejudiced races. There is history, supremism, in-built (mis)conception that have been passed over generations. These things take time. We should be talking about reducting in open attacks, and direct discrimintations.

  81. 118 Sonya
    July 25, 2009 at 21:52

    The media has covered this almost to the exclusion of all else. I live just west of Boston, and while there are other relevant issues that need coverage, every news outlet is focusing on this. From the myriad stories I’ve heard, I feel that both Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley were at fault, and that this is more an issue of authoritarianism, and less about racism. President Obama could have chosen his words with more care, but is human, and reacted emotionally to a charged situation. I’m glad to hear that the parties involved are ready to meet and deal with this privately. Maybe now, we can get back to other issues, such as health care reform.

  82. 119 Sonya
    July 25, 2009 at 21:55

    The media has covered this almost to the exclusion of all else. I live just west of Boston, and while there are other relevant issues that need coverage, every news outlet is focusing on this. From the myriad stories I’ve heard, I feel that both Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley were at fault, and that this is more an issue of authoritarianism, and less about racism. However, I have yet to hear a reasoned argument for arresting Professor Gates. President Obama could have chosen his words with more care, but is human, and reacted emotionally to a charged situation. I’m glad to hear that the parties involved are ready to meet and deal with this privately. Maybe now, we can get back to other issues, such as health care reform.

    • 120 RightPaddock
      July 26, 2009 at 20:47

      @Sonya – I appreciate the 300+ million people who are US residents are interested in reforming your dysfunctional elitist health care system, but the vast majority of the 6,400+ millions who are nor US residents don’t care about it one iota.

      This is supposed to be a BBC WORLD Service site, why can’t you Americans discuss your domestic issues in your vast array of US National media outlets.

      IMO WHYS should be reserved for matters of international interest – like what your VP & Sec of State have been saying outside of the US in the past week or maybe what the new Seacom fiber cables will mean to the countries of East Africa.

      • July 27, 2009 at 09:43

        RightPaddock is absolutely right! These Americans think its vital for us to concentrate on their domestic affairs;NEVER! and I was quite vivid in my last comment that if everyone came up with their domestic issues,then Global Minds’ discussions could loose the glamour it has today.If they insist,then…Lets discuss, ”the new Seacom fiber cables in promoting standards of ICT at Makerere University in Kampala!” Cause it seems everyone is an introvert! The point is… We are interested in International affairs not domestic ones,please!!! VKELVIN of Makerere University Kampala.

  83. 122 Hamid
    July 25, 2009 at 22:00

    The president has the right to get involved because what happened is a great deal and I am glad he got envolved. It make every body understand that this great country is racist and we should all fight back.

  84. July 26, 2009 at 12:51

    Racism often rears its ugly head! Here the President was genuinely trying to defuse a time-bomb but his words touched a raw nerve! The fact that the three are prepared to sit down and have beer together sets the scene for reconciliation. On race relations, every syllable uttered could have massive repercussions. President Obama is determined to improve race relations in a fair-minded way. However well intentioned one is, one has got to weigh one’s words before uttering them especially when one is the President of the United States. Ond should not doubt Obama’s sincerity.

    • 124 RightPaddock
      July 26, 2009 at 20:56

      Pancha Chandra – you may choose to not doubt Obama’s sincerity

      But I’ll continue questioning his motives, intelligence and wisdom. But I don’t question his love of the sound of his own voice, nor his adoration of the bottomless well of meaningless symbolism he has at the bottom of his garden.

  85. 125 Godwin Yirenkyi (Ghana)
    July 26, 2009 at 16:36

    I am saddened by the continued problem of racism in America and the rest of the world.

    I believe the dear Prof., (tired after a long journey, was provoked); just as any guy, (even a President would) under the circumstance and after so many tears of prejudice.

    A human being (ie. Black Africans in the Diaspora) can take only so much as Desmond Norris alludes to in his famous book “The Human Zoo” about the behaviour of so-called super groups against others, then turn back to accuse them for bad behaviour.

    The great Albert Einstein on a visit to Lincoln University in 1946 said about America: “There is a separation of coloured people from white people in this country. The separation is not a disease of colored people. It is a disease of white people. I do not intend to be quiet about it.” Albert Einstein, Lincoln University, 1946.

  86. 126 tekkooo
    July 26, 2009 at 20:42

    It was totally inappropriate for the president to interfere in this matter in anyway and should have let justice took its course. He did not win the presidency because of the black vote — it was white majority who put him in that office. However, when an intelligent person says something stupid — breaking news occurs, on the other hand if a stupid person says something stupid — comedians take up the issue.

  87. 127 skip seibel
    July 26, 2009 at 21:58

    post-racial anything (not just post-racial america) is a myth
    race is itself a myth
    but most people still live by it
    it’s difficult to imagine what could change that–
    maybe an invasion from outer space

  88. 128 T
    July 26, 2009 at 23:55

    Now, the opportunity to have a really and honest “racial” debate is lost. Why? Because who is the MSM getting to talk about this? 99% of these people of color are conservatives (people of color who aren’t “uppity”). How is THAT a “debate”?

    • July 27, 2009 at 10:02

      T,that is why its called debate…its upon the discussants to moderate it intellectually; but again we cannot stop altogether because of that trivial issue.We can use our core intellect to contain the slide.Any more headache?…VKELVIN of Makerere University Kampala.

  89. 130 Bert
    July 27, 2009 at 01:16

    Wow. The topic that won’t quit. The more information comes out, the more on target my initial reaction was. A Black Studies professor saw racism even when racism was not the issue.

    If an unknown white person was trying to break down a door in a neighborhood, and someone called it in, I hope and trust that the police would quickly respond and inform themselves what was going on.

    This is by no means to suggest that racism in the US, or anywhere else, has vanished. HOWEVER, the fact that the President reactively “profiled” one of the responding police officers, a white one, as being a racist, surely did nothing to promote the cause of interracial harmony, eh? And his refusal to apologize for what has now been found to be an obvious mistake, also is no help.

    This was clearly a bad hair day, as someone suggested, but not for two people. For one person. Possibly, Crowley could have gotten back in his car without arresting anyone, and let the Professor chase him down the street.

  90. 131 dick coleman
    July 27, 2009 at 07:59

    This Prof. Gates thing is not about ”RACE” but about the police-state that we’re in. Don’t even try to debate w/ the MAN…You will always lose !
    I’ve been there thrice as a ‘WASP’ and it’s up to the DA or ASST.D.A’s to sort out the facts.
    Plus court costs . L0L

  91. 132 wantmyfreedom
    July 27, 2009 at 08:56

    This bull hockey will never be in our past because the idiots keep making reference to it.

    Keep putting salt in the wound you SOB’s (us politicians) and it will never be a thing of past. I really don’t think politicians want us to go forward.

  92. 133 VictorK
    July 27, 2009 at 10:47

    Race will continue to be a key factor of American society as long as (a) minorities like Blacks and Hispanics remain committed to identity politics and maintain vindictive racial attitudes towards out-group members and (b) the institutionalised racism against Whites that disguises itself as ‘equality’ and ‘affirmative action’ continues

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/29/AR2009062901608.html

  93. 134 A.Chang
    July 27, 2009 at 12:10

    Look out for yourselves, there are no black groups, organizations or parties with supermacist agendas. “KKK” “Neo-Nazis” “Islamists” “fascists” “Segregeted clubs, residential areas or beaches” are all creations of Whites(Caucasians), and they are still messing up the whole world.

  94. 135 deryck/trinidad
    July 27, 2009 at 12:12

    @ VKELVIN @RightPaddock

    I agree with these two and anyone else that the debate should focus more on real global issues.

  95. 136 VictorK
    July 27, 2009 at 14:24

    @ A.Chang July 27, 2009 at 12:10: “..are all creations of Whites(Caucasians), and they are still messing up the whole world.”

    The endemic inter-ethnic racism of sub-Saharan Africa; the anti-White racism of Zimbabwe; the anti-Black racism of Sudan, Libya, Egypt and much of the Arab world; the preference for light skin tones and discrimination against dark ones from India to the Caribbean; the ethnic chavinism of the Chinese (just ask any Uighur or Tibetan); the cult of racial uniqueness of the Japanese and their disdain for most non-White peoples; African-American hatred of White AmeriKKKa; the racial caste system across Latin America, that puts Whites in charge of most countries from Mexico to Cuba to Brazil, even when the majority is visibly non-White…etc.

    Race and racism are universal. Singling out Whites as solely to blame is either meaningless or is itself a racist act. Of the few countries in the world that take racism seriously and try to combat it, practically all are White, especially those of the Anglo-sphere, the US especially. The debate’s assumptions are false.

  96. 137 Jennifer
    July 27, 2009 at 15:00

    Re: Here the President was genuinely trying to defuse a time-bomb but his words touched a raw nerve! The fact that the three are prepared to sit down and have beer together sets the scene for reconciliation. On race relations, every syllable uttered could have massive repercussions. President Obama is determined to improve race relations in a fair-minded way. However well intentioned one is, one has got to weigh one’s words before uttering them especially when one is the President of the United States. Ond should not doubt Obama’s sincerity.

    This is silly! Obama shows that he also sees things in terms of race. Instead of looking at the facts here; he sided with his friends. I saw where someone else had commented that Gates was mad that Crowley hadn’t recognized him. I think that may be a big part of this situation. Gates is arrogant and is has friends in places like Oprah; Obama.

    Now, we are seeing that our President has tried to use beer to smooth his blunder. He should not have commented on this situation; especially since friendship clouded his judgment. We have a racist president.

    Sgt. Crowley deserves an apology! He was doing his job!

  97. 138 T
    July 27, 2009 at 17:05

    Now, Obama wants Gates and this cop to come to the White House. And already the MSM is treating this as The Great Race Summit in the States. Will this get round-the-clock coverage as well?

  98. 139 Thomas Murray
    July 27, 2009 at 20:37

    I was thinking about this topic on my way over here.

    There’s two sides to this issue that you’re not getting.

    In the late ’70s, a friend of mine trained to become a police officer. He was just another of our office hippies (of which I was one; we worked at the college newspaper), and it was a shock to see him cleaned up and in uniform. Every few nights, over beers, he’d recount his training regimen:

    The regimen — aside from giving them license to use foul language — was designed to instill in them a sort of nervous aggression. About 1 in 25 people over here tote a concealled firearm (I’m GUESSING (see the “Statistical Abstract of the United States” to confirm; it’s probably in there)).

    One bit of their training is to pull an electronic gun against a training film to quicken their reflexes. In one scenario, the driver they pull over is a pleasent well-dressed young woman with the prettiest smile Hollywood casting could pull up on a rainy Redondo Beach day. Then, while the cadet is admiring her, she pulls a revolver and shoots at the screen. Though I didn’t receive word how well the women did on this test, the men usually fail to survive this encounter.

    In short, police training conditions them to be aggressive, loud, foul-mouthed, and even a little psychotic — qualities I’d hate to experience first-hand — but such is the magnitude of the danger they face every day on the street.

    This is why the police are holding firm that the arresting officer’s actions were correct.

    But this was also the psychological buzzsaw Professor Gates was unfortunately enough to ignite that evening.

    One the other hand, even African-American commentators on US news channels have admitted that fellow blacks need to be less sensitive to perceived slights. (Okay, it was just one who said that.) Though they’ve yet to release a transcript of that evening’s contretemps, it’s also clear that Professor Gates was over-reacting. The cell-phone photo of Professor Gates in handcuffs shows an indignant man who let his feelings erupt into a childish petulant rant.

    Was Professor Gates attitude a reaction to a subconscious racism on the part of the arresting officers? Regrettably, I would have to truthfully say yes.

    In the States, the undercurrent of racism — between ALL races — is still palpable at all levels of our society. This I admit. It is even part of police training to harden individual sensibilities to ALL ethnic slurs; including those leveled at cadets of Polish, Irish and Italian ancestry.

    But that we’ve elected an African American president shows that we’re trying to get over it.

    That some fringe element goofballs (the “Birther Group,” another subplot in the insane asylem that is America) has persuaded themselves that Pres. Obama is of foreign birth (and therefore not legally eligible to hold office) sadly indicates that some people are not even going to try.

    –Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  99. 140 Dennis Junior
    July 28, 2009 at 01:42

    @VKELVIN:

    I am in complete agreement that racism should be no longer part
    of society, but, I am from an area in the United States where minorities
    are limited….

    ~Dennis Junior~

  100. 141 scmehta
    July 28, 2009 at 06:51

    We must desist from using such terms as post-racial or pre-racial; they sound premeditated. President Obama must have a couple of well-informed, absolutely impartial and secular minded advisers, preferably a mix of both the races, whose counsel he must seek before commenting upon any such like passionate/sensitive issues. Anybody is liable to get carried away and react spontaneously and emotionally, without meaning to hurt any one in particular or in general; If at all any such feeling was thought to have been conveyed covertly or unintentionally, his apology, in public, is more than enough.

  101. 142 P.R. Deltoid
    July 28, 2009 at 17:42

    Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. is opportunist like Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton. Professor Gates wants to have his face in the history books next to Rosa Parks.

    If Obama did not make the mistake of not only commenting on the arrest but using the word “stupidly” this story would be over.

    Obama should have known after 911 it is unacceptable to criticize police, fireman, and military serviceman.

    Obama should be aware any organization that wears a uniform is considered a hero.

  102. 143 Dennis Junior
    July 29, 2009 at 04:05

    But, the forthcoming “summit” between Professor Gates, Cambridge Police Officer and the President will smoothe the tensions following the recent turmoil…And, I hope that this is an excellent learning tool…

    ~Dennis Junior~


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