Prominent Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates arrested at his Home in Cambridge, MA

From Wikipedia: "Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct following an incident on July 16, 2009, when he had trouble ...
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Prominent Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates arrested at his Home in Cambridge, MA 2

I think both parties came to the table with certain assumptions about one another that were inaccurate, and consequently, both overreacted. As a followup, both are trying to cover their respective asses, with Gates claiming he was completely reasonable and measured in his approach to the police, and Crowley claiming there was a threat to public safety.

Both sides have a vested interest in not backing down. Crowley instructs other officers in a course on racial profiling, and doesn't want to look like he acted in response to a bruised ego. Gates is a prominent author of many books on the Black Experience in America and brings his research on past actions of a nation of police forces historically known for treating black people at least differently if not in a manner that overtly abuses their authority.

Here's an article with some audio content from both the 911 call (where the caller identifies a Hispanic man only after being prodded), and the radio transmissions themselves (where no loud, confrontational threats from Gates are evident).

As more content gets released, this will likely become a story about the media's tendency towards sensationalization more than anything else. Obama's statements weren't out of line...regardless of racial profiling or not, to arrest someone in their own home for insulting a police officer isn't what we pay the cops to do, but have served to completely distract people from his health care objective. For that reason alone he probably should have been more measured.

Covering shit like this has proven vastly more entertaining for the media than policy since it improves ratings in the short term. The fact that people have latched onto the issue to an almost hysterical degree, quickly grasping at straws to superimpose vaguely relevant life experiences onto both Gates' and Crowley's actions speaks more about race relations in this country than the event itself.

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abichara commented 7 days ago.
"...Covering shit like this has proven vastly more entertaining for the media than policy since it improves ratings in the short term. The fact that people have latched onto the issue, superimposing their own life experience onto both Gates' and Crowley's actions speaks more about race relations in this country than the event itself."

Very true. You hit the nail on the head. The media loves to cover racial issues because it's an attention grabber. It fuels discontent and divides people. We already know that there are differences in how whites and blacks each perceive race relations, but this is the kind of stuff that is better left buried in the past. Better to debate how to make CONSTRUCTIVE changes that benefits everyone, whether it be through demanding better health care, a quality education, good jobs, etc...Talking about this stuff does none of that. It only dredges up past animosities, and for no good reason either.

Ridgewalker commented 7 days ago.
(Edited 7 days ago)
Which 'superimposed life experiences' are you referring to, Lena?

Personally, I have had immense experience with some of New York's most powerful educators, law enforcement leaders, businessmen and women, power brokers and politicians. I have been given "the talk' before I was allowed to stand alone as the only white person in the room and address crucial issues with the leaders of the Black community (including Harlem. where the crowd doesn't get any tougher)and this conjured memories. There is no doubt that I could pick a handful of other prominent people who would have played the race card, just as Gates did.

Don't dismiss other peoples' experiences. You're out of your depth saying something like that. By the way, I could be wrong, as I haven't re-read all of these threads, but it is my opinion that Gates' knee-jerk reaction (Is this how Black people can expect to be treated in America? --paraphrased) says all that we need to know about how racism factors into this scenario. It wasn't THE issue, obviously, but Gates tried to make it so.

magellan commented 7 days ago.
Nice review Lena, except for the last point which I find confusing. All I ever do is superimpose my own life experiences on stuff - I don't know any other way to come to my own conclusions.

Ridgewalker commented 7 days ago.
(Edited 7 days ago) me on this one...when you try that approach, especially in the Northeast, you will run smack, dab into every known racial issue. It's noble, but not realistic. You will hear people in the audience shouting back at you how 'they've heard it all before', how the Black man will get the short end of the deal. Talking about it might just bring realities out of the shadows.

Gates' response was a reality check for me...that racism and sterotypes are alive and well. It may dredge up animosities, but at least we have a pulse. I don't know the answer to what has to happen before everyone can break bread together, but I do know this: there still exists major resistance to the idea. There's no burying this stuff...not at close range. Knowing that may be a place to start.

Lena commented 7 days ago.
@Ridge I didn't mean to imply that I devalue personal experience with that remark...I think it's an important part of how we relate to and empathize with other people, and indeed, it seems to have played a pretty big role in the exchange between Gates and Crowley themselves.

I think there are occasions when people take that principle to the level of solipsism and run with it in a way that gets preposterously presumptuous, however. It seems like this event sparked a lot of that as folks with more opinion than sense clamored to weigh in before any of the facts were available. Not that that's anything new in the "news" lately. First to publish, fact availability notwithstanding is incentivized to the extreme given 24/7 news networks and the internet's effect on journalism.

Ridgewalker commented 7 days ago.
(Edited 7 days ago)
I dost think that you read-in too much, Lena. If you reject other people's experiences as outside of your own, then who is being solipsistic, here? I just don't see where people over-reached based on the available facts. Like I said, I could be wrong, because I didn't memorize any of the reviews or comments. I think you just took the opportunity to get behind the podium and pound your fists a bit. Should we put a one-week hiatus on an event before we should be allowed to review on it?

Lena commented 7 days ago.
Probably should clarify this: my position is that intensely speculative journalism is suspect and becoming increasingly prolific. As real-time access to news becomes more of a reality, I hope that people take the time to revisit quickly formulated opinions based mainly on media hysteria.

@Magellan: I've edited my review, slightly to make this more clear.

Ridgewalker commented 7 days ago.
I believe that there is a fair amount of that here on RIA, Lena (ie: revisiting). I believe that what happened here, though, is that you reacted strongly to ones that you have not experienced for yourself. We all do it from time-to-time. For me, it's time to stop and think bout it...

See y'all later. Dinner.

Lena commented 7 days ago.
@Ridge, For the record, I'm not really talking about reviews on RateItAll, since much of my exposure to the whole Gates v. Crowley debate was through comments posted on the plethora of news stories written covering this event as it developed.

Enjoy your din :)

abichara commented 7 days ago.
What good is being done by talking about all this stuff. It certainly isn't therapeutic to do so. I understand the realities of racial politics, but we're not solving common problems by constantly bringing up this kind of stuff.

Garbage is better left buried in the dump if you ask me. Let's move on.

fitman commented 7 days ago.

Now that we've seen enough evidence to form an informed opinion on this tempest in a teapot, it seems to me that the professor would have owed the officer an apology, had not the officer arrested him on a dubious charge.

fitman commented 7 days ago.
I respectfully disagree with abichara.

Burying this stuff only allows it to fester.

Frank and honest airing of grievances is the way to go.

Even angry white men deserve to be heard.


Wiseguy commented 7 days ago.
You go Fit!
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