Racial Profiling?

So I log on to JJP to check out the news after a day of studying for the Bar Exam, and what do I see, but a post about Professor Henry Louis Gates being arrested in his own home for being loud [and Black]. I go to read the police report, and as I read it I can't help but laugh and shake my head at that mess.

After Professor Gates showed him his Harvard ID, the officer called the HARVARD police like they could do something about Professor being less than cooperative on his own property. The officer then goes on to say that Professor Gates yelled at him repeatedly to get his name, and I suppose to threaten him. While this man is standing on HIS property "yelling" at this officer, the officer remarks that the people around are "alarmed" at his yelling.

Reading the entire report is really quite remarkable. Best I can tell, they arrested him simply for yelling at the officer. He didn't physically threaten the officer, he yelled at him.

While Gates may have been a bit irrational in yelling at the officer who was only there to do his job, the officer (based on his own report which may or may not be totally accurate, seeing as how he's not exactly a disinterested party here) wasn't making matters any better by calling in "back-up" in the form of the Harvard police officers for one little old man who was on his own property. Once he found out the home was Professor Gates', he should have just left. What was the point in continuing the dialogue with Professor Gates? How did a trained officer let it get so out of hand that suddenly people are "alarmed"?

For Professor Gates to automatically assume the officer was there simply because he was Black (again, if the police report is correct) was not the best way to handle the situation. When people think you are ignorant as hell, it's best to not confirm their beliefs even if you believe with every fiber of your being. If you really think you are being racially discriminated against, there are avenues you can take. The police report mentions that the lady said that there were two Black men trying to break down the front door of the residence, where are those two young Black men?

So basically, I think both sides of this situation are at fault for Professor Gates' arrest, but I'm having trouble believing that the officer here was actually as innocent as his report makes him out to be. We'll probably never know what really happened here, but let's cue all of the people saying one side or the other is racist for whatever reason.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


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