Monday, July 20, 2009

Dr. Henry Louis Gates Arrested After Entering His Own House


Harvard Professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, was arrested


Guilty of.........RESIDING WHILE BLACK!!

From Ta-Nehisi Coates:

Police arrived at Gates's Ware Street home near Harvard Square at 12:44 p.m. to question him. Gates, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, had locked himself out of his house and was trying to get inside.
He was booked for disorderly conduct after "exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior," according to the Cambridge police log.

He was booked for disorderly conduct after "exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior," according to the Cambridge police log.

Friends of Gates said he was already in his home when police arrived. He showed his driver's license and Harvard identification card, but was handcuffed and taken into police custody for several hours last Thursday, they said.

I bet he did exhibit "loud and tumultuous behavior." I likely would too. Actually, I wouldn't. But I don't work for Harvard. And my mother taught me how black men are to address the police.

Fellow Harvard professor Allen Counter has had similar encounters with Police:

[S. Allen] Counter has faced a similar situation himself. The well-known neuroscience professor, who is also black, was stopped by two Harvard police officers in 2004 after being mistaken for a robbery suspect as he crossed Harvard Yard. They threatened to arrest him when he could not produce identification.

"This is very disturbing that this could happen to anyone, and not just to a person of such distinction," Counter said. "He was just shocked that this had happened, at 12:44 in the afternoon, in broad daylight. It brings up the question of whether black males are being targeted by Cambridge police for harassment."

From the Harvard Crimson:Renowned Af-Am Professor Gates Arrested for Disorderly Conduct

Here is a copy of THE POLICE REPORT

From Wonkette:Famous Harvard Intellectual Arrested In Connection With Attempting To Enter His House

From the Boston Globe:Harvard professor Gates arrested at Cambridge home

And, what would an arrest story be without the proverbial mugshot:

As Percy Sutton once said,

" If you wake up and forget that you are Black, by the time 5 pm rolls around, someone would have reminded you."

Skip Gates is 60 years old and can't walk WITHOUT A CANE.

Yeah, he's a threat to you and me, y'all. I feel soooo much safer knowing that he was taken off the streets.


Phil Davis said...

How come this does not really surprise me?

Terry said...

Just more evidence that freedom ain't free.

The Angry Independent said...

Only In America!

Ironic to see someone who studies race and disparities in treatment and someone so respected in that field suddenly become the subject.

It will be interesting to hear what he has to say about all of this.

Perhaps there is more to the story that we just haven't gotten yet.


rikyrah said...

You didn't like my title, AI?

That's ok!

Jennifer said...

rikyrah do you have a source for the Percy Sutton quote If you wake up and forget that you are Black, by the time 5 pm rolls around, someone would have reminded you."

rikyrah said...


I don't even remember where I heard it, but it was so apt, it's one of those things that you never lose.

The Angry Independent said...


What you had was o.k... but I wanted to improve on what was already a good post.

The title line is very important...because the keywords used there help people find the post when they do a Google search.

Best to include names when you can... the trick is having a catchy title while including keywords. When that's not possible... just "make it plain".

The Angry Independent said...


Black in America 2 starts this week. (I think)

I will try to post some comments on the program.

I will have to see the replays late at night (assuming they will re-air the show the same night).

My computer is functioning at 50% so this might be interesting in more ways than one.

Being Black is a #$%$#%$#....but being Black and Broke makes it worse by a factor of 10.

Tammy Twy said...

For the first time in as far back as I can remember you have experinced the true plight of the black man. In listening to President Obama remark on the incident I was at once humored and saddened. Humored because it took many years for someone to finally convince you that your are a black man from Piedmont WV, and saddened because you are a successful black man who should have been given more respect.

Inspector Clouseau said...

We have three observations about the Harvard professor incident:

1. We find it interesting that the fact that this was the professor's home was evidently not established early on way before the dispute escalated;

2. We find it fascinating that the versions of two members of society, who most would ordinarily view as responsible and honest citizens (this obviously does not include politicians), would vary so dramatically from a factual point of view.

3. Finally, considering that the reading and viewing public were not present at the scene (and thus have no first hand knowledge), and that there is no video tape to our knowledge of the sequence of events and what was said, how so many have formed conclusions, and made assumptions, about who did what and who was wrong.

There are some things which Professor Gates might have considered upon the arrival of the police, no matter how incensed he may have been.

Joanna said...

Show me someone who does not get upset when they lock themselves out of their own home. Police do a good job and then you find the ones who do not read or understand common English. Over reaction, gestapo-style tactics! I am a white woman and I find this whole incident disgusting and pathetic in these days and times.
Now they want the President to cool his actions (words and reactions)on what happened? Why should he? It is only right that the person in charge of the USA should have an opinion on what took place. For God's sake...when are people going to behave like people and not place the fear of God in themselves when they run into a Black person? We are all entitled to walk this earth and be met with respect.

The Angry Independent said...

My verdict on this- now that more information is out- is that all three men were at fault.

Gates, Crowley and Obama.

This was not the case that it was initially made out to be...and i'm glad that I didn't jump on the Gates bandwagon completely. (although I did have one foot in the wagon). This is why I try to avoid knee jerk reactions, especially in situations where information is sketchy.

I think people made assumptions about this case based on the social/cultural/racial lens through which they viewed the incident and the lens through which they view life more generally. You can interview three different people about this story from different walks of life...and get three different conclusions.

But the more I have learned about the incident, the more I see it as a clash of ego's, more than an issue of race. I just don't see race as the dominant factor here.

I wrote a post on this...but think it's best to save it... but this sums up my thoughts.

Joanna said...

Yes, I would also think one should be careful when commenting on issues such as this, where it could become a racial profiling case. long has Prof Gates been a resident on that house? Do they change security every week making it impossible for security to familiarize themselves with the resident faculty? Stop trying to make this nasty incident go away quietly, WHEN IT SHOULD BE ADDRESSED!