Saturday, July 25, 2009
Home While Black
by Larry Elder (who is black)
Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, retained a lawyer. Why? He claims cops in Cambridge, Mass., racially profiled him. Here's what happened.
Gates, "one of the nation's pre-eminent African-American scholars," writes The Boston Globe, was arrested about 1 p.m. at his home near Harvard Square by Cambridge police investigating a possible break-in. "The incident," says the Globe, "raised concerns among some Harvard faculty that Gates was a victim of racial profiling."
"Friends of Gates," writes the Globe, "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." The Globe posted redacted arrest reports on its Web site. But for reasons unknown, the Globe removed them less than a day later.
The Cambridge Chronicle, however, still posts the reports on its Web site. The Chronicle's article also mentions a few things the Globe omitted -- including that "during the incident, Gates accused Cambridge police officers of racism."
The Chronicle writes: "A witness had called police when she saw a black man, apparently Gates, wedging his shoulder into the door, trying to gain entry, according to the arrest report. ...
"In the arrest report, police said Gates initially refused to step onto his porch when approached by (Cambridge Police Sgt. James) Crowley. He then allegedly opened his door and shouted, 'Why, because I'm a black man in America?'
"As Crowley continued to question Gates, the Harvard professor allegedly told him, 'You don't know who you're messing with.' When Crowley asked to speak with him outside, Gates allegedly said, 'Ya, I'll speak with your momma outside.'"
Crowley says he responded to a call of a possible break-in by a woman on the sidewalk, who said she'd seen a black male "wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry." Crowley reported he "could see an older black male standing in the foyer." He continued: "As I stood in plain view of this man, later identified as Gates, I asked if he would step out onto the porch and speak with me. He replied 'no, I will not.' He then demanded to know who I was. I told him that I was 'Sgt. Crowley from the Cambridge Police' and that I was 'investigating a report of a break in progress' at the residence. While I was making this statement, Gates opened the front door and exclaimed 'why, because I'm a black man in America?' I then asked Gates if there was anyone else in the residence. While yelling, he told me that it was none of my business and accused me of being a racist police officer."
Crowley's report, as well as that of another responding officer, describe Gates yelling repeated accusations of racism while asserting that the officer "had no idea who (he) was 'messing' with" and that the officer "had not heard the last of it."
After initially refusing to produce any identification confirming his residence, Gates finally supplied a Harvard ID. By that time, a crowd of officers and passers-by was outside. In front of the house and "in view of the public," Crowley states he twice warned Gates that he was becoming disorderly. But Gates' yelling and "tumultuous behavior" continued, causing "surprise and alarm" in the citizenry outside. Crowley then placed Gates under arrest.
Crowley "asked Gates if he would like an officer to take possession of his house key and secure his front door, which he left wide open." Gates said "the door was unsecurable due to a previous break attempt at the residence." (Emphasis added.)
OK, the cops overreacted. Cops' training involves dealing with verbally abusive citizens. They could have walked away, written a report and allowed the prosecutor to determine whether to file charges. But Gates overreacted, too.
Last week, about 2 p.m., while driving a nice car, I got stopped by a police officer about a block from my home in Los Angeles. The officer asked for license and registration. "Yes, sir," I said, handing him my license. Before I could retrieve the registration, he said, "Mr. Elder, do you still live at this address?" I said I did. He said: "OK. I stopped you because you rolled through a stop sign. Two pedestrians saw you, and they gestured to me, as if saying, 'Are you going to do something about that?' So I felt I had to stop you. I'm not looking for area residents. I'm looking for people who don't live here who might be committing crimes. You're fine."
I did roll through the stop sign. He could have ticketed me. Rather, he responded to my politeness with politeness. Besides, don't we want a proactive police department that, within the law, doesn't just react to crime but also tries to prevent it?
Cops routinely deal with conflict, angry citizens and quite often the worst of the worst -- while going to work every day willing to take a bullet for someone they don't even know. Even Henry You-Don't-Know-Who-You're-Messing-With Gates should understand that. Cops are human beings, too.
Colorblind test failed
It’s Henry Gates who plays race card
‘I said, are you doing this because I’m a black man in America? Are you doing this because you’re a white police officer and I am a black man?” - Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. recounting a conversation with his arresting officer in Cambridge.
So what if the cop had been black? What if Sgt. James Crowley happened to be one of Cambridge’s 41 black police officers rather than bearing as he does the affliction of whiteness? If a black police sergeant responded to the call of a possible breaking and entering, and asked Gates for some form of identification, what would have happened then?
Gates would have been just as tired after his trip to China - an excuse his defenders use to explain his arrogance and rudeness. And if having a cop show up at your door and ask about your identity is, as Gates claims, intrusive or insulting, it would have been just as intrusive from a black cop as a white one.
The context would have been identical as well: Nine daytime, front-door break-ins reported in the neighborhood in the first quarter of 2009; Gates’ own door damaged by a previous, possible break-in attempt, according to the police report.cw0
Imagine all the facts and all the circumstances identical, but a black police officer instead of a white one. What would have been different? Everything. The tired professor would have found the strength to hand over his ID without significant objection. The officer would have gone on his way. No angry shouts, no (alleged) “yo mama” comments, no screams so loud they attracted the neighbors, or embarrassing photos of a raging Skip Gates on the front of the Herald.
All changed, not because of a different cop, but a different Professor Gates. The Gates who greeted Crowley was a racist. And I know, because the professor said so himself. By his own admission, Gates didn’t just blame the incident on the fact that he is “a black man.” He also added the accusatory question, “Are you doing this because you’re a white police officer?”
Review every account of the Gates arrest, including Gates’ self-serving interviews, and it’s hard to find an action of Crowley’s that can be characterized as inherently racist.
Yes, it’s possible that the arrest itself was a racist act. But it’s also possible that it wasn’t. It may have been a righteous arrest, or the action of an annoyed, flustered cop. Or Crowley may be a power-mad jerk with a badge. All possibilities.
But the only motive for Gates’ behavior, by his own admission, is the cop’s skin color and Gates’ race-based assumptions about him. Once again, the “white cop” charge comes from Gates’ own words, not the police report. And not just white cops, but white witnesses, too. According to an eyewitness quoted in the Herald yesterday, when police asked him for ID, Gates started yelling, “I’m a Harvard professor . . . You believe white women over black men.”
Not that Gates is without compassion. “Crowley should beg my forgiveness,” he told one reporter. “If I decided he was sincere,” Gates assured us, “I would forgive him.” Don’t you just love a rich guy who summers on the Vineyard asking a working-class cop to “beg”? How perfectly Cambridge. Gates’ race-obsessed heart may not be in the right place, but his house certainly is.
It seems clear to me from the two reports above that Larry Elder is a pleasant, polite guy and Henry Gates is neither. That is the whole difference behind what the two men experienced. But the race-obsessed American Left cannot allow that, of course. I also had some postings yesterday on POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH about the matter -- JR
WHAT'S NEXT, MR. PRESIDENT -- CARDIGANS?
Barely six months into his presidency, Barack Obama seems to be driving south into that political speed trap known as Carter Country: a sad-sack landscape in which every major initiative meets not just with failure but with scorn from political allies and foes alike. According to a July 13 CBS News poll, the once-unassailable president's approval rating now stands at 57 percent, down 11 points from April. Half of Americans think the recession will last an additional two years or more, 52 percent think Obama is trying to "accomplish too much," and 57 percent think the country is on the "wrong track."
From a lousy cap-and-trade bill awaiting death in the Senate to a health-care reform agenda already weak in the knees to the failure of the stimulus to deliver promised jobs and economic activity, what once looked like a hope-tastic juggernaut is showing all the horsepower of a Chevy Cobalt. "Give it to me!" the president egged on a Michigan audience last week, pledging to "solve problems" and not "gripe" about the economic hand he was dealt.
Despite such bravura, Obama must be furtively reviewing the history of recent Democratic administrations for some kind of road map out of his post-100-days ditch.
So far, he seems to be skipping the chapter on Bill Clinton and his generally free-market economic policies and instead flipping back to the themes and comportment of Jimmy Carter. Like the 39th president, Obama has inherited an awful economy, dizzying budget deficits and a geopolitical situation as promising as Kim Jong Il's health. Like Carter, Obama is smart, moralistic and enamored of alternative energy schemes that were nonstarters back when America's best-known peanut farmer was installing solar panels at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Like Carter, Obama faces as much effective opposition from his own party's left wing as he does from an ardent but diminished GOP.
And perhaps most important, as with Carter, his specific policies are genuinely unpopular. The auto bailout -- which, incidentally, is illegal, springing as it has from a fund specifically earmarked for financial institutions -- has been reviled from the get-go, with opposition consistently polling north of 60 percent. Majorities have said no to bank bailouts and to cap and trade if it would make electricity significantly more expensive.
According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, more than 80 percent are concerned that health-care reform will increase costs or diminish the quality of care. Even as two House committees passed a reform bill last week, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warned that the proposal "significantly expands the federal responsibility for health-care costs" and dramatically raises the cost "curve." This sort of voter and expert feedback can't be comforting to the president.
As writers who inveighed against last year's GOP candidate and called George W. Bush's presidency a "disaster," we're equal-opportunity critics. As taxpayers with children and hence some small, almost certainly unrecoverable stake in this country's future (not to mention that of General Motors, Chrysler and AIG), we write with skin in the game and the fear that our current leader will indeed start busting out the 1970s cardigans… continue reading here.
Obama hold on records raises hypocrisy charge: "After lampooning the Bush administration for secrecy, President Obama used the same legal arguments as his predecessor to block the release of logs showing which industry executives met with the White House to help formulate his health care policy. The new administration abruptly reversed course Wednesday evening after being accused of hypocrisy and released a list of more than a dozen meeting attendees. Among the more than dozen executives identified as weighing in with presidential advisers on health care during February were Richard Umbdenstock, president of the American Hospital Association; Billy Tauzin, the former congressman who heads the drug lobby PhRMA; Angela Braly, chief executive of WellPoint Inc.; and Jay Gellert, chief executive of Health Net Inc. The episode turned the tables on Mr. Obama, who during the 2008 presidential campaign accused Vice President Dick Cheney of unnecessary secrecy in refusing to identify which energy executives weighed in on energy policy early in the Bush years and who criticized his primary rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, of doing the same thing during the 1993-94 health care debate."
Obama health-care claims disputed: "Even as President Obama delivered a prime-time sales pitch for his embattled health care reform plan Wednesday, basic facts about coverage, cost and who foots the bills remain in dispute and many of the president's favorite talking points are challenged not only by Republicans but also by independent fact-checkers. For example, Mr. Obama promises that people who are happy with their current health insurance can keep it. That's a claim contradicted by Factcheck.org, a nonpartisan consumer advocacy group at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center. The group found that while the government would not require people to change their health insurance, proposals by Senate Democrats would result in some people losing health care benefits from employers, either because it would become too expensive or because workers would be able to get a better deal elsewhere. Such inconsistencies between the rhetoric and the reality cloud much of the health care debate as Mr. Obama retools some of his claims to fend off criticism and adjusts positions he staked out on the campaign trail. [See also many posts on SOCIALIZED MEDICINE about this]
In defence of hedge funds: “Douglas Shaw of Black Rock spoke at a Civitas lunch this week on the topic ‘In Defence of Hedge Funds.’ Good luck to him. The industry is about to be overrun by an EU army of new regulations, which will knock any innovatory stuffing out of them. As investment businesses evolve and grow in the US, Switzerland, the Middle East and Asia, the stunted European hedge funds will look more and more like the evolutionary throwbacks of the Galapagos. I don’t know why hedge funds don’t spend about a thousand times more on PR, because they have a positive story to tell.”
Rasmussen. Just 25% Now Say Stimulus Has Helped The Economy, 31% Say it Hurt: "Confidence in the $787-billion economic stimulus plan proposed by President Obama and passed by Congress in February continues to fall. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 25% of U.S. voters now say the stimulus plan has helped the economy. That’s a six-point drop from a month ago. Thirty-one percent (31%) say the stimulus actually hurt the economy, little changed from a month ago. However, this is the first poll showing that more voters believe the plan hurt rather than helped. A plurality (36%) says the plan has had no impact. Just after Congress passed the plan, 34% said it would help the economy, 32% that it would hurt and 26% predicted no impact."
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 12:38 AM