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

  1. #16
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    so basically you can only be racist when it comes to minorities... a white cop does his job and he can be jumped on and drug through the mud but that's not racism on the media/president/anyone else's part... seems to be -yet again- a double standard.

  2. #17
    Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport Dee4707's Avatar
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    One of the guests (who is black) on CNN said this could have been the first time that Prof. Gates was treated the way he was. That may have been an eye opener for him.

  3. #18
    Custom Title bekalc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dee4707 View Post
    One of the guests (who is black) on CNN said this could have been the first time that Prof. Gates was treated the way he was. That may have been an eye opener for him.
    I suspect that this is part of the case. However, I also suspect that given the circumstances of this case. The cop was responding to a burgulary call, that the cop was probably very suspicious of Gates, given the call and Gates may have assumed it was because the cop didn't like him because he was black.

    From what I understand though in those kind of cases, cops are suspicious of anyone in the house. Until things are verified. It's very possible the cop would have been equally that way if it had been a white person in the house and there was a call about white burglars, until things were verified. And well it may have ticked the cop off to hear Gates so otherwise.

  4. #19
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    I'm sure this has happened to Professor Gates before (racial profiling) although perhaps never by the police. He's 58. It's not that uncommon.

    There are still some odd parts to this story, for sure, though.

    I always found it odd that he broke down the front door of the house, given the house belongs to Harvard. In CT, damaging the landlord's property for more than $1,500 is a Class D felony. Is it in MA? (Not to mention that damaging the landlord's property is something I just wouldn't do on purpose)

    Also, the first report I read said that he managed to get in the back door, found that he still couldn't open the front door, but somehow it was inconvenient to get the luggage through the back door because he has a bum hip. I wondered why he didn't pay the cabbie to get the luggage in the back door, particularly as it was apparently in backpack style luggage, and they were reported to be wearing them while beating the front door down by the 911 call. In either case, he would have to call Harvard to fix the door (which would now be open, but with no working lock), which is what he was doing when the police arrived.

    I then begin to stupidly speculate about why he would do that? Did he take a sleep aid or painkillers to make the long trip bearable and wasn't quite himself?

    Then I hear that he is planning to make a racial profiling documentary for PBS.

  5. #20
    Custom Title bekalc's Avatar
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    I'm sure this has happened to Professor Gates before (racial profiling) although perhaps never by the police. He's 58. It's not that uncommon.
    He said he was never treated that way by police before. And once again, this is hardly a classic class of racial profiling. Racial profiling is when someone is questioned soley because they are black.
    I.e if Gates had been walking down the street and Crowely started questioning him about the burglaries or why he was in the neighborhood THAT would be racial profiling.

    But Crowely questioning him at the house, in response to a possible burglary at the house, Is not racial profiling, at all. Now the rest gets murky.

  6. #21
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    The policeman arrested him despite that he had verified his ID, to which people have been responding because it just seems way too much for anyone to happen. At the same time, I do not think it ever possible to determine if the police arrested him merely because he was African American.

    According to Wikipedia, racial profiling is "the inclusion of racial or ethnic characteristics in determining whether a person is considered likely to commit a particular type of crime or an illegal act or to behave in a 'predictable' manner."

    We statistically know that it happens. At the same time, it is very difficult to prove specific cases.

    A pretty straightforward case that I personally know of is that I have two friends in Japan, one is White and another is South Asian, and when the two were together, the latter was stopped and asked to show his ID, whereas the former was not.

  7. #22
    Custom Title bekalc's Avatar
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    According to Wikipedia, racial profiling is "the inclusion of racial or ethnic characteristics in determining whether a person is considered likely to commit a particular type of crime or an illegal act or to behave in a 'predictable' manner."
    I'm sorry but I tend to just go with situations rather than defintions.

    1. My questions are did the officer have a reasonable cause to stop by Gates house

    Answer: Yes. There was a burglary call, and so he was obligated to go by.

    2. Did the officer have a reasonable cause to ask Gates for an ID.

    Answer is once again Yes. There was a burglary call.. All burglars are going to tell the cops they live in the residence. He's obligated to give the caller the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.. So asking for the id is what the officer would do whehter or not the person there is white, black, Asian whatsover.

    Now the rest of the stuff I don't know, but the above two things, the officer absolutely followed protocol.

    Racial profiling would be if the officer was patroling saw Gates in the house, knew there was unspecificed burglaries, and asked him for id just because he didn't look like he belonged. THAT's racial profiling.

    Now for the rest I don't know.

    Officers should be able to respond to a burglary call, and ask for an id without being accused of racism.

  8. #23
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennett View Post
    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.
    You seem to be still thinking 1940s. Cambridge is a totally integrated town: blacks, white, and Lesbians with children. Does this bring you up to date?

  9. #24
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    Joe, Cambridge is not an integrated town. It has its Indian neighborhoods, its black neighborhoods, and it has its affluent - read predominantly white - neighborhoods. Heterosexuals and homosexuals are, indeed, integrated in those affluent parts.

  10. #25
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    The beer meeting was broadcasted even in Japan. I wished to hear Dr. Gates talk as I assume that he would be a good speaker given his great success as a scholar. Hope that Dr. Gates makes even further contribution to the field of study as well as reaching out the general public in the next years to come in his career. I tend to admire scholars in their late 50s and 60s. That's the time for social scientists to really get mature and accomplished. It is in a way unfortunate that he has become so world-famous for this incident more than for his work. Given that his expertise is not mathematics, physics, biology, or classical literature, but very closely related to the issue at stake, I hope that he would address the topic in his field of academic expertise in profound, meaningful ways.

  11. #26
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Dr. Gates has said that he is going to put together a TV documentary on racial profiling for NPR, I believe.

  12. #27
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka View Post
    Joe, Cambridge is not an integrated town. It has its Indian neighborhoods, its black neighborhoods, and it has its affluent - read predominantly white - neighborhoods. Heterosexuals and homosexuals are, indeed, integrated in those affluent parts.
    If they are poor immigrants they would be in the most affordable location for that neighborhood. Is that the reasons all Asian Indians are separated from all Black neighborhoods? Have you ever been to Kingston, Jamaica? Have you ever seen the higher caste Indian (it still exists if not legal) integrated with the slumdogs? Much of so called unintegrated neighborhoods are based on money. If you have it, then you can choose where to live. I toured quite a bit in St. Petersburg and to me it seemed like it is all monolithic Russians, but the differences in the neighborhoods of the haves and the have nots is not quite the same.

    But we are talking about Racial Profiling. Did that white cop actually know he was targeting a black man before he went to the scene of the emergency call? Were there any white people there that he should have questioned first? I do not believe we have been made aware of the scenario surrounding this dumb case. Who were the people who originated that emergency call?

    Doris - If Gates does a documentary on racial profiling, do you think he will include Kingston, Jamaica? If we assume Gates believes all white Americans are racial profilers, and that seems to be his goal, it's hard to believe that it will not be a more than a one-side conclusion. He will not consider racial profiling in the Carribbean.

    I've never heard of Gates before, but apparently he is big in his field which I know nothing about. If so well known, I can understand his resentment in just being stopped for questioning, and his indignant behaviour following makes sense. But then was the cop indoctrinated in his studies that no one is above the law? Should the cop had recognized him for his brilliance? Should the cop have only stopped caucasions and asian like? Should a cop accept any excuse a suspect gives him anywhere?

    btw. What else happened to the original emergency?

  13. #28
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Joe, The original caller saw 2 guys with suitcases force open a door with their shoulders. She said in the original call, one of the guys was Hispanic and didn't see the other very well, and both were rather large. Dr. Gates is short, frail, and black. No wonder the cop looked odd when he saw him in the house. The cop had to be thinking there are one, maybe 2 other guys here. Home invasion would be a possibility, I would think.

    However, actually it was Dr. Gates and the Moroccan driver of his limo. The limo driver was gone by the time Sgt. Crowley showed up.

    The caller was a lady (Lucia Whalen) who works in the area and saw what was going on at her lunch break outside. An elderly lady prevailed upon her to call it in to 911 as there had been a lot of burglaries in the area recently. Sgt. Crowley described talking to her at the scene and wrote in his police report that she said 2 black guys with backpacks. She says she never talked to Sgt. Crowley.

    Post beer summit, Dr. Gates sent flowers and a note to Lucia Whalen:

    http://www.bostonherald.com/news/reg...&position=also

    Meanwhile, Dr. Gates put out the following press notice (in same article above)

    “Sergeant Crowley and I, through an accident of time and place, have been cast together, inextricably, as characters - as metaphors, really - in a thousand narratives about race over which he and I have absolutely no control,” Gates wrote late Thursday on theroot.com, the Web site of which he is editor in chief. “It is incumbent upon. . . (us) . . .to utilize the great opportunity that fate has given us to foster greater sympathy among the American public for the daily perils of policing on the one hand, and for the genuine fears of racial profiling on the other hand.”

    Gates added he thanks God that he lives “in a country in which police officers put their lives at risk to protect us every day, and, more than ever, I’ve come to understand and appreciate their daily sacrifices on our behalf.”
    I wonder whether Sgt. Crowley will be part of Dr. Gates' racial profiling show?
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 08-01-2009 at 08:31 PM.

  14. #29
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    Joe, The original caller saw 2 guys with suitcases force open a door with their shoulders. She said in the original call, one of the guys was Hispanic and didn't see the other very well, and both were rather large. Dr. Gates is short, frail, and black. No wonder the cop looked odd when he saw him in the house. The cop had to be thinking there are one, maybe 2 other guys here. Home invasion would be a possibility, I would think.

    However, actually it was Dr. Gates and the Moroccan driver of his limo. The limo driver was gone by the time Sgt. Crowley showed up.

    The caller was a lady (Lucia Whalen) who works in the area and saw what was going on at her lunch break outside. An elderly lady prevailed upon her to call it in to 911 as there had been a lot of burglaries in the area recently. Sgt. Crowley described talking to her at the scene and wrote in his police report that she said 2 black guys with backpacks. She says she never talked to Sgt. Crowley.
    Thanks very much, Doris, for the report.
    So the cop didn't know about much about the story, if anything, before he got there, and the witness, Whalen or the elderly lady, said she(they) never talked to him. Did they give any reason for not talking to him? Yet he wrote up a scenario that it was 2 black men. (Moroccans, btw, can be black as some people in the USA are black).

    How could the cop have written up his story if he had never talked to Whalen and the elderly lady? If there were no talks between them, then the cop is seriously wrong for making up a story, and racial profiling could be considered part of the story. Something must have prompted him if the two ladies were not giving information which they could have as eyewitnesses.

    I know Gates was upset and I don't blame him, but Breaking and Entering is a serious offence.

  15. #30
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    I really don't know why Crowley said he talked to Whalen and she said he didn't. However, the report is oddly written enough that Crowley could have talked to a lady that wasn't Whalen, but said she was the one that called 911. (He says "later identified as Whalen) Protocol says he's supposed to talk to the 911 caller if she is still at the site.

    Yes, a Moroccan can be very dark, but according to the 911 call, it was 2 rather big guys, one Hispanic. Nobody heard the guy was Moroccan until after the event.

    Yes B&E is serious and it can be simple burglary for money or a home invasion of some sort. Either way, not good.

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