Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 40

Thread: Was arrest of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. an act of racism?

  1. #1
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Watching the sunset
    Posts
    2,793

    Was arrest of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. an act of racism?

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...yndication=rss

    Makes me think of racial residential segregation, too. I wonder if Prof Gates lives in a White neighborhood. Regardless of educactional attainment, AAs are a lot more subject to crimes like homicides than Whites partly due to the segregation.

  2. #2
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,430
    Oh yes, it's a white neighborhood (or rather non-black; Cambridge is fairly integrated by Boston area standards). The North, ironically, tends to be even more segregated than the South. And, let's face it - a "black" neighborhood also means a "poor" one for the most part. Affluent African Americans tend to move out.

    At this point, the chief of police has already apologized, but the sergeant who made the arrest hasn't.

  3. #3
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Watching the sunset
    Posts
    2,793
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka View Post
    And, let's face it - a "black" neighborhood also means a "poor" one for the most part. Affluent African Americans tend to move out. .
    Then Whites move out when the number of AAs increases.

  4. #4
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,430
    Quote Originally Posted by Bennett View Post
    Then Whites move out when the number of AAs increases.
    I don't think this is happening quite so much any more. AAs tend to move to all affluent neighborhoods, so their percentage is never high enough to make the whites worry about their property values.

  5. #5
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Staring at the ocean and smiling.
    Posts
    15,496
    The housing the professor lives in is owned by Harvard University. I doubt there is any White Flight going on there because he moved in.

    BTW, it doesn't seem to me that other than what was shouted at each other after the professor refused to go outside with the sergeant, that the police behaved any worse than one would expect. Once the professor showed his identification, the police should have dropped the whole thing. OTOH, Police are never nice to people who are mouthy to them. Of any color.

    Disorderly conduct is the nicest thing they do in that case.

    BTW, I would like to know. Imagine yourself a woman who sees 2 men you don't recognize breaking down a door. I'd like to know what you'd do. Is the answer different if the men are white or black? (The woman who called it in works a block or 2 down the street. I doubt she knows who lives in the houses. I certainly didn't anywhere I worked)

    Myself, I'd call 911 and get outta there quick and let the police sort it out, whatever color the 2 guys are.

  6. #6
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,430
    Doris, regarding the latter part of your post - I do not blame the woman in the least. I believe a good rule is - we live in a civilized country, and whenever we suspect something, we should call the police.

    From my own experience. Back in 1998 (or so), I was working evenings at a "Pea in the Pod" (expensive maternity clothing) in the Atrium, a very upscale mall in Boston area. One evening, I was alone in the store, with just a customer (about 7 months pregnant) in the dressing room. A guy came in. He was Hispanic, and just didn't look like he belonged. My alarm bells went off, but I told myself it would be racist to call the security as I probably wouldn't feel that way if he were white. Well, too bad I ignored the alarm bells, because he ended up robbing the store at gun point. There wasn't much in the case register (just the standard $200, nobody paid cash there anyway), but the experience was terrifying; you can imagine what it was like for my customer!

    Off topic, but the story did have a continuation. I tried to help the police with the composite sketch, but, hard as I tried, I just couldn't (it's not nearly as easy as they make it look on Law & Order!). Then, a few weeks later, the head of security came in and told me they caught the guy as he was robbing a Victoria's Secret. Then, though, he did something really bad - he showed me the picture of the suspect! A few days later, when police came in to show in a lineup of pictures, I just couldn't be certain if what I remembered was from the face I remembered from the robbery, or from what the idiot from security showed me! They plead the guy out, and the robbery of our store wasn't no the list of charges... Even though it probably wouldn't have added all that much to his time, it still left me very angry...

  7. #7
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Staring at the ocean and smiling.
    Posts
    15,496
    Acting from instinct is basically a profiling exercise that keeps you alive. Everybody does it and calls it 'street smarts'. I'm so glad that disregarding your street smarts didn't result in anything worse than a robberty, though..

    As to cop shows and what live witnesses can remember : Yes, I was questioned by the police just after my dad's murder (next day). It is amazing how the trauma screws up your memories. I remembered in detail what I was doing before I heard Dad was dead, but after that it was very blurry until the next morning, when the police questioned me. About a week later, I could remember everything more clearly than I did the second day. The sequence of events was especially screwed up.

    So I take with a grain of salt especially when people who are worked up say This happened first and this second and this never happened at all. My memory is generally very good, and even more so 15 years ago when dad was killed, and my memory was a mess.

    I would have a hard time convicting anyone on 'eye witness' identification alone. For one thing, a lot of people look alike. I have been mistaken for someone else a number of times (fortunately not in police situations, but I always take the moral here that misidentificaiton happens often)

    Plus not every one is good at facial recognition. I certainly am not. Would you believe that Suzie Wynne helped me carry my luggage to my room at Skate America in Hartford (we had too much stuff and Mr. Ski was in a motorized scooter, and I was really struggling) and I totally did not recognize her--until I saw her name on her credentials? And this is a woman that I had watched several times a year on television for at least 15 years. So I also think that people who think everyone should recognize them are nuts. Some people (me for one) are lucky to recognize their own kids.

    May I say that no one can say anything bad about Suzie Wynne when I am around???

  8. #8
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Watching the sunset
    Posts
    2,793
    Racism and mistrust go hand in hand, both beliefs are based upon stereotyping. People may use double standards not only because of racist beliefs, but also because of the fear of being called a racist. I don't think it possible to prove whether this individual case was based on racism in that the policeman may have acted "stupidly" regardless of the suspect's race/ethnicity. It is also difficult to tell whether or not Dr. Gates had a tip on his shoulder and overreacted.

    "But I think it's fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry," Obama said. "No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And No. 3 - what I think we know separate and apart from this incident - is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that's just a fact."
    I'm most interested in the third point Obama made.

  9. #9
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Staring at the ocean and smiling.
    Posts
    15,496
    There's no question that racial profiling by the police in this country is a fact (point 3)

    But it is also a fact that Sgt. Crowley teaches a 'how to avoid racial profiling' course at Middlesex College in Lowell For Free for some 53 municipality police depts. He teaches it with an African American partner, and is very well thought of on that account.

    Likewise Professor Gates is a relatively moderate guy, at least in his writings.

    So in this particular case, it's hard to say whether racism is involved in anything but the op/ed page press

    It sounds like guys getting into a pissing match to me, more than a racial incident.

    BTW, who reported the incident to the press? The police or Professor Gates? Does anyone know?

  10. #10
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,430
    Doris, what I also found disturbing is how many people, upon hearing the story, questioned why I didn't tell the police I certainly remembered the guy from the robbery (after seeing the picture, that is). They'd say - you know he did it, why does it matter if you don't remember for sure. The head of security also implied I should have just pointed to the pic "for sure". Left me wondering how many people say they are more certain than they really are...

  11. #11
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Kenai, AK
    Posts
    18,661
    my question since the news broke is this = does racism play both ways... cops arrest black professor and everyone immediately screams racism, nevermind we knew very little (and still don't know much) of what went on...

    I'm also not so keen on Obama taking what he's heard through the grapevine/media and making an "informed statement"... it just adds fuel to an already overgrown fire.
    Last edited by Tonichelle; 07-24-2009 at 10:48 PM.

  12. #12
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Watching the sunset
    Posts
    2,793
    Regardless of the specifics of this particular incident, many ppl resonated with the story perhaps because it just sounded so familiar that are happening in their everyday life, no? I also think that Obama's main message would be about the No.3.; he is not a judge after all, but the President.

  13. #13
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,430
    Regardless of the specifics of the case (and the police officer looks more and more reasonable by the day, btw), I don't like Obama getting involved in this. This incident is not of the caliber for president to worry about. Though I think Obama's original message ("cooler heads should have prevailed on both sides") was right on; now, though, him facilitating a meeting and all - it's way too much IMHO.

  14. #14
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Staring at the ocean and smiling.
    Posts
    15,496
    Well, there really is an opportunity for a teaching moment here. I'd like to see Professor Gates lecture at Sgt. Crowley's avoiding racial profiling class at Middlesex College. The sergeant has a black police partner that works with him, but the partner of course knows police procedure. It might be good for the police to understand the black citizen's point of view to avoid someone like Professor Gates going wacko on them. I'd like to see Sgt. Crowley explain police procedure to a larger group so that the general public would understand how some of this stuff works, so that what the police do would be more comprehensible and less personal to them, too.

    Certainly a lot of people don't seem to know that if 911 is called, the cops show up at your house, and it doesn't matter if you told them Oops you don't need them. The 911 rules are that they have to respond and check out the house. Without exception. (at least that's how it is in CT)

    A lot of people don't know that about half the burglaries are in the daytime, sometimes more, depending on location.

    A lot of people don't know that people of all ages, sexes, and races are burglars. Crime is an equal opportunity employer. The fact that Professor Gates is a middle aged man with a cane who wears a suit doesn't mean he is immediately absolved on sight from being a burglar. (I just read about a 90 year woman burglar in Peru who, with 2 female confederates, got caught while trying to escape the scene of the crime by taxi. That's my top most unlikely at this point)

    And a lot of other stuff.

    Apparently Obama is going to have Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley over to the White House for a beer. So we have not heard the end of this story.

  15. #15
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Watching the sunset
    Posts
    2,793
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka View Post
    Regardless of the specifics of the case (and the police officer looks more and more reasonable by the day, btw), I don't like Obama getting involved in this. This incident is not of the caliber for president to worry about. Though I think Obama's original message ("cooler heads should have prevailed on both sides") was right on; now, though, him facilitating a meeting and all - it's way too much IMHO.
    Yeah, I agree that it's too much for him to facilitate a meeting. I think that he should have just mentioned the point No. 3 and focus on his work as the President to address many forms of racial/ethnic disparities in the country at broader, higher levels, without mentioning anything about specifics of this particular incident. People reacted mainly to No.2 so that it ended up he just couldn't walk away perhaps. I guess Obama might have mentioned No.1 and No.2 casually, but he is way too influential to do so. I find this meeting just an emotional resolution that disguises more essential issues in the society at large that made this incident a national debate.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •