The Tragedy of Professor Henry Gates

Posted by Larry Miller on July 27, 2009 under How | 3 Comments to Read

Listen to Henry Gates Jr. tell you in his own words about his views on race relations. Then you can judge for yourselves if his friend Barack Obama had good cause to assume he was an innocent victim of prejudiced police stupidity. Both 911 and police communication show no racial component to the discussions. Most of us would be happy police followed up on a break in report… particularly regarding our own homes.

Sure I might have been a bit annoyed after breaking my own door, but simply showing a photo ID would have ended the situation quickly… which would have been my goal so I could go about my business. However we tend to see situations through our own filters and expectations. Dr. Gates apparent expectation that Sgt. Crowley fit the profile of the head cracking racist cop from the bad old days just itching to bash his head with a nightstick. Which brings up the question of why he would continue to harass the officer after he had proven the home was his and no crime had been committed.

It seems rather odd that one would continue to harang someone, who in your mind, despised you and was carrying a gun, billy club and a badge. This does not make sense. However, as I’m sure many of Dr. Gates own ancestors experienced, there are times when disgust and hatred is so strong that it overrides common sense and the persons own welfare… to their own detriment. It’s just one more example of how hate can hurt the one doing the hating as much, if not more, than the object of the hatred.

In some ways, both Henry Gates Jr and his friend Barack Obama are tragic figures, locked into their own prejudices from the past and what they’ve learned that they cannot see that so many Americans have moved past the idea of looking first at the color of a man’s skin. While not fully realized, we have made great strides toward Martin Luther King Jr’s. goal of having people judged on the content of their character. But they are so locked up in the old model that they cannot see this.

Sure there are those who would hate both men based on their skin color, but they are part of a shrinking minority. Beside this, in my experience, the ones most likely to look down on someone for this reason are the ones who have the least reason to look down on anyone. It’s time we all give up the this kind of petty thinking… even those who wish the comfort of clinging to past hurts. We need to keep in mind the words of Dr. King who came through times when black churches were firebombed and white toughs would drive through black neighborhoods just looking for someone to beat up, when he told us “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

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  • Nomad said,

    Now that more information is coming to light, it seems that this is a case of an educated man with a remarkably poor grade of emotional intelligence.

    What an embarrassment to himself and his friends in high places.

    Expert on race relations? Very scary indeed.

  • liberty activist said,

    Gates acted like an idiot, but the police man, though not racist, did violate his constitutional rights listed in the 4th amendment to the US Constitution:

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    The Supreme Court shas ruled that a home owner under the 4th amendment does not have to show the authorities their ID or drivers licence (papers please – as done in Nazi Germany).

    Also, the officer entered Gates home without a warrant as required by the 4th amendment.

    Gates being ugly or refusing to show ID while in his house does not give the police the probale cause they need to enter the home without a warrant or to even make an arrest.

    Gates though acting ugly and refusing to show ID was well within his constitutional rights to do so.

  • admin said,

    It would seem that the call reporting a break in would have given the officer probable cause. However since I was not there, you may be correct.

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