Monday, July 27, 2009

The Professor, the Cop, and the President

It's hard not to sympathize with everyone involved in the dust-up in Cambridge: Professor Gates, Officer Crowley, and President Obama. Gates was challenged in his own home, Crowley was a good cop trying to do his job while being yelled at (apparently), and Obama was giving his honest and sensible opinion. I think it’s impossible—at a distance—to say one was right and one was wrong..

The President has an uncanny knack for turning problems into opportunities—reminds me of the Jeremiah Wright blow-ups, and there were some examples in his books. Maybe this will really be a teachable moment. I think a beer at the White House is the best option.


Judith Ellis said...

When has being yelled at a reason to arrest? I agree that a beer would be good. But I don't think the good professor drinks the stuff. A good merlot might be a worthy substitute. :-) I hope all will be well at the White House that day. I think it will be indeed.

Hopefully, police departments across the United States will consider unjust profiling. I suspect some profiling is necessary, as it is the basis of judgment in certain situations from a purely identification standpoint i.e., "a white male approximately 6' 4" of slight frame was seen leaving the scene."

The problem is how such is formed as a matter of prejudgment. I also hope that the country will continue to look at the disparities that exist in this great country of ours with regards to both race and gender.

The likes of Madoff and all of those near criminals on Wall Street would have never been racially or socially profiled, eh? Yet, they have done irreparable damage to many. In fact, those guys dressed in suits do the same thing about every ten years or so.

Bob said...

The striking thing, to me, about this is how differently good people of different backgrounds see the same "facts." I think all three men are good people.

Judith Ellis said...

I agree. This is why understanding matters. This is why stepping outside of ourselves to see where other are matters. I practice this. Many times I am successful; other times I am not. But I do find that practice makes so much better.

Bob said...

Here's Colin Powell's take on the matter:

Judith Ellis said...

Thanks, Bob. I heard him live yesterday on Larry King. He is usually thoughtful and true. I respect him tons.

It's interesting, though, how The Daily Beast saw it or choses to spin it. I did not see it as a "rebuke" at all. A friend would not rebuke a freind in public. He spoke honestly and warmly. They are friends. As General Powell, I too believe that there was no reason to arrest Dr. Gates. As I write this I am reminded of the scripture which says "open rebuke is better than secret love." Hmmm? Although, I'm not to sure if that was how the word was intended.

What annoys me is making a hero out of the lady who called in. There should be nothing extraodinary about what she did. We should all do the same thing. That is our civic duty as I see it. What was appreciated was her overall tone. She did not appear to be biased in the least.

The report was that she said that there were "two black men." This was not what she said at all. But even if she had of said "two black men," if that is who was at the door and she thought that they were breaking and entering, I do not see that as a negative in any regard. She would have simply been stating a fact.

General Powell also clearly acknowledged that racial profiling is prevalant and that he himself has been a victim of it. What I'd like to see is honest discussions on issues of race. The fact that we have an African American president is great.

We should be incredibly proud as a country, considering our history that we could elect such a president. The fact that the 15th Amendment gave African Americans the right to vote in 1865, African Americans were truly given this right with the 1965 Voters Rights Act which made discrimatory voting practices illegal.

We have made great strides and there are great strides we need to yet make. I am hopeful that we will get there.