Friday, July 24, 2009

The Police, Gates And Black In America

You've heard of getting pulled over for a DWB? Driving While Black? Well, the Henry Louis Gates, Jr. saga in Cambridge, Mass. gives us arrested Entering Own Home While Black.

The Story
To recount, if you have not heard, eminent Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested after returning home from an overseas trip. A neighbor reported seeing two suspicious black males breaking into a home. As it turns out his door was wedged shut so there was a bit of struggle. Unable to open the front door, Gates went around back and opened the door from the inside. Mind you, Professor Gates uses a cane to walk.

When the police arrived, Gates was asked for ID, which he provided. Still, Gates was arrested. Why? Apparently, Gates was "tumultuous." What the hell?

To many African Americans, this is a case of an arrest of an upstanding black male for not being appropriately deferential to the police. It is a long-running (never ending, really) story that defines the fabric of America. Blacks believe, and stories like this validate, the belief held by blacks that it doesn't matter how hard you work, how smart you are, how clean your record is, if you're black, it doesn't matter. If they want to lock you up, they can.

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