Racism in Cambridge: Harvard Prof. Gates Arrested (UPDATED)

Arriving home after a recent trip to China and struggling to get into his own home in Cambridge because of a jammed door, esteemed scholar of African American Studies and Harvard Professor, Henry Louis (“Skip”) Gates, Jr., was arrested by police.   According to one report (h/t @BlackInformant for a couple of these links), this incident began when someone alerted police:

A witness, 40-year-old Lucia Whalen of Malden, had alerted the cops that a man was “wedging his shoulder into the front door” at Gates’ house “as to pry the door open,” police reported.

None of the reports I’ve read online describe Ms. Whalen’s race,  or why someone from Malden was doing calling the cops about a man entering his own home in Cambridge, but apparently it was her call that began this series of events.  Here’s what happened next, according to several reports, this one from HuffingtonPost:

By the time police arrived, Gates was already inside. Police say he refused to come outside to speak with an officer, who told him he was investigating a report of a break-in.

“Why, because I’m a black man in America?” Gates said, according to a police report written by Sgt. James Crowley. The Cambridge police refused to comment on the arrest Monday.

Gates continued to yell at me, accusing me of racial bias and continued to tell me that I had not heard the last of him,” the officer wrote.

Gates said he turned over his driver’s license and Harvard ID – both with his photos – and repeatedly asked for the name and badge number of the officer, who refused. He said he then followed the officer as he left his house onto his front porch, where he was handcuffed in front of other officers, Gates said in a statement released by his attorney, fellow Harvard scholar Charles Ogletree, on a Web site Gates oversees, TheRoot.com.

As this story has begun to get out on the web in the last 12-24 hours, it seems to be touching off a tsunami of outrage at the persistence of racial inequality in the U.S., even for one of the most well-known and accomplished scholars.  If this could happen to Skip Gates, at his home in Cambridge, Mass., it does not speak well for the state of racial progress in the country as a whole.   As Rev. Al Sharpton said,  “If this can happen at Harvard, what does it say about the rest of the country?”

But, make no mistake, this outrage is not universally shared.   Almost as soon as this story broke, the undertow of white backlash to the reality of racism began to counter the outrage.  For example, Bruce Maiman, writing at The Examiner, contends that the Cambridge police were just doing their job, responding to a call about a break-in to a home, and that Prof. Gates escalated the situation.  Here’s Maiman:

So I ask you: Who’s the person who caused this encounter? Professor Gates is now being represented by another distinguished law professor from Harvard, Charles Ogletree, and they’re going to claim that this cop was racist and mishandled this situation because the fact that a black male was involved.
I don’t see any racism, do you? Tell me where? No names were called. Nobody was hassled or pushed around. Legitimate requests were made and cooperation was not forthcoming from a man, Henry Louis Gates, who know better than most people on this planet what happens when you escalate a confrontation with the police. But he does it anyway.
Is there racial profiling in America? Sure there is. But if you justify the behavior of Henry Louis Gates because other black men have been hassled by other police officers unfairly and thus you assume every black man has a right to a chip on his shoulder every time he meets a cop, you are asking for trouble.

This doesn’t appear to be racism. It sounds to me like a colossal case of extraordinarily bad judgment on the part of a distinguished African American historian who happens to teach at Harvard, and who certainly should’ve known better.

Here, Maiman’s interpretation of these events is completely steeped in the white racial frame.   He says, “I don’t see any racism” and, of course, he can’t from the WRF.   He only sees a black man “with a chip on his shoulder,” not the racist behavior of the cop.   Maiman further diminishes Gates by referring to him as someone “who happens to teach at Harvard” and questions his judgment because he “certainly should’ve known better.”   Known better than to what, try and enter his own home? Maiman is simply wrong on the facts here, and wrong on his interpretation of the events.   Maiman is like other whites, as philosopher Charles W. Mills writes, “unable to see the world he has created,” unable to see how his not-seeing-racism contributes to the problem of racial inequality.

The research on the racial inequality in policing, arrest, and incarceration in the U.S. is starkly clear (as we’ve recounted on this blog hundreds of times):  those who are black or brown, particularly men, are much more likely to be stopped, frisked, harrassed, arrested and convicted than whites.    And, this inequality in criminal ‘justice’ is part of a larger pattern of racial inequality that operates systematically throughout U.S. institutions.  The irony, for those that have followed Gates’ scholarship closely, is that he has tended to downplay the significance of institutional racism in the contemporary U.S.   Reports are that Gates’ is “shaken” by this experience, as anyone would be.  This is a horrifying, and yet all too common, experience for black men in this country.   Perhaps Gates’ next volume will be called “Harvard Professor, Still a Suspect.”

More good sociological analysis on this case (and others) from City College Prof. Dumi Lewis, here.

Update 12:07pmET: Charges Against Prof. Gates Dropped, according to one report.  Do click the link to check out 1) the photo of Gates on his own front porch in hand-cuffs and 2) the racist comments that follow.


  1. Excellent, thorough overview, thank you! This is the most useful piece I’ve seen on this travesty so far, out of at least a dozen. And yes, “Harvard Professor, Still a Suspect” would be a great title for Gates’ next book, though it’s a little difficult to imagine him writing one like that.

  2. Melissa

    Crazy! Wouldn’t his license have shown his address as being the house he was in? How stupid. Gates was probably frustrated, I know I would be if I just got home, my door was stuck, and then the police showed up. Did what he supposedly said bother the police officier, maybe, but the whole ordeal should have been over once it was shown he lived there. How many of us has had a bad day and snapped at someone we didn’t mean to. It sounds like a case of racial profiling plus someone having a horrible day.

  3. Joe

    Note too here that if you are Black in the US, you can never ever let your guard down. You must, as one Black friend once said to me, always put on your shield after you get up in the morning. Or another, an elderly teacher once told me, it is the “little murders every day” that are the worst about US racism. You can never just be relaxed about life and racism, even as here in your OWN home….. Post -racial America, I don’t think so. We are going to hear much media and other discussion of this case, as Henry L. Gates is the most famous black professor on the planet. Watch whites by the carload try to rationalize and excuse it, as in the sources Jessie has here. Why not just admit it, and do something about such racial profiling?

  4. MoM

    I agree with Melissa about the showing of Professor Gate’s drivers license that the problem should not have escalated from there..Don’t know anymore then what the media says, and I believe, that the media messes everything up. The truth will come out…

  5. A few important points for those who would write this off to Gates’s behavior. I have talked back, smarted off, and straight up mocked cops before. I have asked them “why did you pull me over?” I have shown them fake ID. I have been drunk, and/or high and belligerent towards them on several occasions as a young man. Never was I arrested or even threatened with arrest. I think those of us who are white and have these kinds of experiences need to begin writing about them, regularly.

    Oh, and in 1990, I was locked out of my own car, and a cop drove by as I was trying to break into the car with a coat hanger. He saw me, got out, and proceeded to…hand me a slimjim with which to better break in, and give me a lesson on the “proper” way to break into a locked car.

    He did not…even…ask…for proof…that it was…my car.

  6. mordy

    I think policing has changed. Like Tim, in my younger years i got away with the same kind of thing. But 3 years ago, now as a 40-something, i “wised off” (which in fact was merely, but loudly, questioning the actions of him and the other goofing off officers at a the scene of a minor traffic accident which had caused a major traffic jam). I was pulled over by said cop. The guy was enraged called me nearly every expletive in the book, told me to shut the fuck up numerous times, threatened (but did not) to arrest me, and ended up giving me reams of traffic tickets, most of which were complete BS. And i am white. I hesitate to even bring this story up in this context because i think the dynamic was completely different and it sounds like i am supporting the cop in this case. Some of them are just dicks. They think everyone should bow to them and never question anything they say or do. I do not question that most are racist. Nor do i think the outcome of my experience would have been the same were i black.

  7. smoke.a.newport

    I actually know a guy who took a class from Professor Gates at Harvard. He said all the students really liked him alot. Such a shame. Even if the guy did get a little testy with the police..that’s no reason to arrest him. I’m white, and I’ve gotten testy with police and never been arrested.

  8. Daniele

    All excellent points…

    I had the *interesting* fortune of working at a university police department for a couple of years… I cannot tell you how many times we received calls/reports of “crime” wherein the only thing “suspect” was the person’s race and/or ethnicity…

    Right after 9/11, these calls skyrocketed to literally every five minutes: “guy with turban walking on campus”… “is he also wearing a bookbag and entering his dorm with his security key?” “um, yes.”

  9. The person who called the police was visiting from out of town. If anyone was profiling it was her.

    But she wasn’t. She saw what she thought was a break in. I suppose she thought it was better to be safe than sorry. Maybe she thought that if they did own the house they would say so to the police, but he didn’t. He could have given his ID but he didn’t until it escalated. He was angry and wanted to make a point but he could have handled this better.

    Police are generally assholes but in this case the police were just doing there job and the good doctor was acting like a child. “You don’t know who you’re messing with” What an arrogant statement.

    I would personally be thankful if my neighbor called the police on someone breaking into my house. even if that person was me.

  10. Mandaue

    I believe Mr. Gates owes an apology to the Cambridge Police Department. He should be ashamed of himself for viewing a rational question of identifying himself, so the Police could be sure he was the home owner, as racist. It sounds like Mr. Gates is a racist. Racism is not isolated to one race Mr. Gates. I believe Mr. Gates deserves a disorderly conduct charge.

  11. mom

    Yes they do profile,……My son was having an argument with one of his fiends at night on a city street. Someone grabbed him from behind…..My son immediately turned around not looking at who grabbed him, and was going to punch this person….That person happened to be a cop….My son was charged with assaulting a cop….My son did not lay a hand on that cop, but did react to how he was grabbed from behind….The end result lawyers!!!!!So, they do profile……Not only do some of our beloved police profile they look for ways to turn young people into criminals…..That’s how they keep their jobs, and the prisons guardsmen, lawyers, and judges keep their jobs…Without “corruption” they would not need prisons, patrol officer’s etc..And, can someone please tell me why we need a parole officer for a non-violent offender?…I am not real happy with the justice system as you can tell, but sometimes it does work…However, the more money you have it does work a little better and faster. The common denominator in color is regarding the justice system is “GREEN”

  12. smoke.a.newport

    I gotta agree with Mom on this one. Police are definitely more deferential if you live in a nice neighborhood. I was stopped once for not having re-newed my license sticker. I was almost late for work and I gave the cops this, “Aw..c’mon..I’m late for work OK? I’ll get it re-newed..and I’ll call it in when it’s done.” They were cool with it. It’s easy to make “nice-nice” if cops feel they can identify with you.

  13. Mom-smoke a newport

    Don’t you just love the “road blocks” they have since, 911…Since 911, the government has been able to listen in on your phone calls, pull information off you computers, and profiling has gotten worse…Satellite navigation, which I love, for city driving, however, the government tracts their employees with this system, and anyone with that kind of system in their cars could be tracked. .. .Have you ever heard of the Medical Information Bureau (MIB)….They keep a record of every persons medical history in their file… I know this because I’ve studied the topic.. Invasion of privacy for all of us…Cameras on almost every street corner… WHY? The terrorist? Please!! And, it’s going to get worse. Sorry for getting off the topic, but I get a little upset when I think about this “free country” we are supposed to be living in…LOL

  14. @Manduave – I hesitate to engage you, and I hope you’re just making sarcastic jokes, but Gates is known amongst those who know him and/or his work for doubting the impact of race in the present. I doubt he even said what he’s being accused of saying.

  15. smoke.a.newport

    To MOM:
    This country is alot more complex than most people think it is. What you can merely see is not the entire picture. There were millionaires in this country who sent Germany arms and money during WWI and WWII. They Also supplied Our government with arms. They were hedging their bets. They wanted the appreciation, after the war, in terms of trade, with the winner…no matter who the winner was.
    It’s all in The Arms of Krupp book..forgot the author. If you have money..that’s where the real power lies.. the world has worked this way for a long time. It’s “not supposed to” be that way..but it is. Obama’s election might help change that dynamic..merely because he was not the most connected and wealthy candidate..but he still won because people pulled together and voted him in.

    Here it is from Amazon:

    The Arms of Krupp: The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Dynasty that Armed Germany at War (Paperback)
    by William Manchester
    William Manchester (Author)
    › Visit Amazon’s William Manchester Page
    Find all the books, read about the author, and more.
    See search results for this author
    Are you an author? Learn about Author Central
    (Author) “IN 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated at Sarajevo, and little of the Europe he had known survived him…” (more)

  16. distance88

    If you want to see disgusting, you ought to check out the comments section on this article at the Washington Post. Ugh… I wouldn’t recommend it if you have eaten recently…

  17. smoke.a.newport

    To MOM: Check out this passage from The Arms of Krupp book: Quite an eye opener huh?

    Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, while the persecution of leftists continued, corporate leaders on the extreme right, continued their criminal rampages in pursuit of profit. Although Rockefeller’s many links to Nazism are too numerous to list here, a few examples are worth noting. In the 1920s, Exxon entered into partnerships with Germany’s top chemical cartel members, BASF and I.G. Farben. The Bank for International Settlements, which helped fund the Nazis before and during WWII, was created in 1930 by the world’s central banks, including the Federal Reserve Bank of NY. Its creation was inspired by the Nazi government and its bankers. Its first president was Gates McGarrah, a Rockefeller banker formerly of Chase National Bank and the “Fed.”

    In 1932, Chevron struck oil in Bahrain and was soon operating in Saudi Arabia. In 1933, when Hitler seized power, Standard Oil New Jersey supplied Germany with the patents it required for tetraethyl lead aviation fuel. In 1936, the company Schroder, Rockefeller Investment Bankers, included board directors linked to the Gestapo and several European, Nazi-linked banks. It’s lawyers were John Foster Dulles and Allan Dulles, leading Wall Street fascists who drummed up American investments in Germany and elsewhere. The Dulles law firm represented I.G. Farben and Fritz Thyssen. Thyssen was Hitler’s biggest German financier. The Dulles brothers later became Secretary of State and CIA Director, respectively.

  18. The police are not required to jump through hoops. The police are allowed to come on any property to check out a report. Your suggestion that they go throught some long investigation before going up and knocking on a door means that many burglars would be long gone.

  19. I don't get the racial profiling bit

    From what I understand, there was a report that a man was breaking into a house, and part of the description was that this man was black. I am assuming the description included other attributes such as height and body type, and was not just, “there was a black guy breaking into a house.” Then Gates was identified as fitting the description of the reported suspect, and then the resulting mess ensued.

    Were the police racially profiling because part of the description of the suspect included a reference to color? Does any investigation into a crime that involves a description of the suspects color always constitute racial profiling?

    Would we be talking about racial profiling if the description of the suspect was of a white man, and the man questioned in his own home was also white?

  20. smoke.a.newport

    To Joe and Rosalind Chou or Jessie:
    Do you think that educators should encourage black students who are in (say) 1-12 grades to use black “ebonics”/ the vernacular black American-English? Do you consider it racism to distinquish between so called “Proper English” and Black Vernacular?
    Is any given teacher a racist for encouraging students, in a classroom setting to us Standard American English (and this is an academic term as you know)?
    The college SAT’s use Standard American English (SAE..that would be the English spoken by newscasters on television if anyone wants a concrete example) and will mark a response as Wrong if a student uses grammar that is different from SAE.
    Several people on this blog have made statements to the effect that its racist to deem one form of English superior to another. For the school system to concur on the use of which language variation to use is necessary or we’d all be speaking in, basically, different languages.
    To enter college, one must make a decent score on the SAT’s. To do this, one must apply his/her knowledge of SAE. Again, using the Black vernacular will lose you credit on This Particular Test. So why do people on this site dig in their heels in outrage at the suggestion that black kids from disadvanted homes need to improve their grammar skills..thus familiarizing themselves with SAE?
    Plus, the very people who are making this contention speak SAE on this website. This is confusing to me. I did some research on you Joe and Rosalind. I am Very impressed with your credentials and would like a response from You in particular.
    I don’t want an angry tidal wave of sullen comments from the few people on this site who are highly excitable extremists and will attack anyone who even ventures to ask a question that disputes their views.
    I refuse to communicate on that level. It’s non-productive and the people I am referring to..actually I’ve done a little research on you also…..Do Not Have Joe, Rosalind’s and Jessie’s credentials. I mean these individuals have plenty of passion, which is fine, but their responses seem to be colored by their animosity in general toward anyone who questions their world view. I’m not going to tolerate or respond to a bunch of snide remarks and rude “you make me laugh!” “LOL” statements.
    Rather, I want the best informed of this group to reply. One of Joe’s works was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize..that’s good enough for me.

  21. To be honest, “I don’t get the racial profiling bit” had a valid point. If the suspects were indeed identified as black males, why shouldn’t the cops be wary of black males in the region?

    That said, I wonder if the suspects’ race would have been identified in the first place were they white…

  22. Mary C.

    I cant believe that this story is actually being presented the way that it is. Let me tell you, that first off, I am not a racist nor was I brought up to be racist. However, I am appalled that an officer of the law, who was doing what we pay him to do, is actually being presented in this way. Not being there as a witness myself, I can only speak to what I have read. It seems to me that Mr. Gates was extremely angry and probably very hostile. If he were any other person such as another black man or a white man, (doesnt really matter) he would have had the same consequences. Disorderly conduct is disorderly conduct no matter who the individual is. This is a perfect example of why racism(or whats percieved as racism) is so prevalent today because instead of taking a stand and making things right in the world, prominent people are actually feeding into the racism baloney. This was absolutely not a case of racism and most intelligent people know this. What really makes me angry is that they actually dropped the charges against him. Why, because he is a professor at Harvard who happens to be black and the Cambridge police department is too afraid to stand up for whats right at the risk of being called racist. This is ridiculous and I wish it would just go away.

  23. Joe

    Mary C and others, This is a case of racial profiling because the treatment of a small, limping, 58 year old, gray-haired 150 pound bespectacled black man hoarse from bronchitis is likely very different from how a similar, or even bigger and younger, white man in a home in that neighborhood would have been treated under those same circumstances. There is no way the small, gray, older, bespectacled Gates looked like any burglar that woman or cop had EVER seen, in papers, the media, or movies. (I have been in similar situations like Tim mentions.) The white woman would likely not have reported two white men working on a front door at noon as breaking in, that is the first racial profiling. The second is that the senior white officer appears to have been much more aggressive than he would have been with an older white man with glasses looking like that in that house in that neighborhood. He seems to have arrested Gates because Gates was pressing him for his name and badge number which he refused to give. And once he saw Gates lived there and was a professor, he still arrested him apparently for just “talking back” to him. Note that the prosecutors and police chief have dismissed the charges, which suggests they agree to some significant degree with Gates account.

    Oh, and Gates has probably one of the ten most distinguished academic pedigrees on planet earth, with tons of honorary phd degrees, a very famous book and many other publications, major pbs programs, and honors galore.

  24. jwbe

    >If he were any other person such as another black man or a white man, (doesnt really matter) he would have had the same consequences.
    go to http://www.timwise.org, and then to his blog there, he just wrote an article, telling that your assumption is wrong.

  25. Rosalind

    To answer smoke.a.newport’s inquiry:
    You bring up a great question that I think largely interrogates the production and construction of knowledge and standards. If SAE is the the dialectic that is used to test and rank students, then it would seem logical to teach that dialectic to ensure the most success. Relating this to gender, often women in the corporate world often feel pressure to act, think, or lead like their male counterparts to be upwardly mobile. Depending on through which lens you look at the situation, on one hand an individual learning SAE is doing her best to compete in the structure that exists, but that structure may be limiting. The consequences of adopting a mindset that SAE is more acceptable in certain realms is tainted with implications that other dialects are unprofessional, indicate lack of intelligence, etc. Just as characteristics associated with femininity may make someone like Hillary Clinton seem less suited to become President of the United States. So, the work of many of the scholars who write and comment on this site is to point out the limitations of the structure. The groups in power, dictate the standards, that not only create disadvantages for other groups, but when the outgroups change their behavior to meet those standards, there are still numerous consequences for doing so. In structuration, one lacks the ability to reshape the structure in a meaningful fashion. Sorry if this is getting off into theoretical land of Foucault (construction of knowledge) and Giddens (structuration). So, basically what I am saying is that when one group constructs knowledge and standards, then the othered group may have to make decisions to follow those standards, but sometimes, at a cost. If you need me to elaborate further, just let me know.

  26. distance88

    Continuing Rosalind’s points, there’s nothing inherently more “correct” about SAE–it’s more about how some time ago, the people who had the power to influence things, such as language, decided that the way they were speaking English was the “correct” way and thus went about ‘standardizing’ it and applying value judgments to parts of speech. Members of the grammar police tend to make me cringe because they seem to forget that the ‘rules’ of SAE are arbitrary. If the goal of communication is to convey some message or feeling–and if this goal is achieved–then the syntax and structure of communication shouldn’t really matter.
    Also, so-called ebonics/black vernacular is not some monolithic, static way of speaking– blacks in Oakland (where, if memory serves, I believe this ‘ebonics’ issue started) don’t speak exactly the same way that blacks do in D.C., Atlanta, etc.
    Further, whites in some parts of the country (Brooklyn, Boston, the South) speak in a manner that share some similarities to ‘ebonics’–the use of double negatives, the dropping of ‘g’ from ‘-ing’, changing ‘-er’ to ‘-a’, ‘-uh’, or ‘-ah’ for example–but there isn’t as much (if any) chastising to speak ‘proper English’ when whites do it.
    Mick Jagger can say “I can’t get no satisfaction” and the Rolling Stones are called the greatest rock band ever, but a black man says “I can’t get no satisfaction” and he’s admonished for not speaking proper English (granted, the context of a song vs the context of the classroom are different, but..I think the point is still valid).

  27. smoke.a.newport

    Distance Says:” Members of the grammar police tend to make me cringe because they seem to forget that the ‘rules’ of SAE are arbitrary.”
    First, I want to very much thank Rosalind and Distance for responding. As to this remark of distance..I totally agree..I have a Master’s Degree in English..I know language is arbitrary.
    The point I’m trying to make is that we do need One Language with Rules..whether these rules began on an arbitrary basis or not..and they did begin on an arbitrary basis. Otherwise communication between us would be very difficult. I don’t understand why so many people think it’s [this I don’t get!] somehow politically incorrect to ask people to speak SAE. When did this become a political issue already?
    I was an English teacher for 8 years when I graduated from college. I know all the..complex pros and cons of..”Well..you can correct Johnnie’s grammar..but don’t tell him His way of speaking is incorrect ok?”
    I mean I get that no child wants his feelings hurt..and I really love children or I wouldn’t have gone into teaching in the first place. However, you have to admit, this presents a logistical problem for teachers. We’d all sit in the teacher’s lounge and say, “How can we pull this off? How can we correct Without telling someone they’re wrong?”
    I just basically told the kids that to do well on the SAT’s you have to speak what “the newscasters speak”. I also told them that at home I use alot of slang words too [which I do!] but in class, even I had to be super careful about my grammar etc. I also told them employers favor applicants who speak what’s considered good grammar.
    Again, this should not be a political issue. Also, regarding Distance Comment:
    ” but there isn’t as much (if any) chastising to speak ‘proper English’ when whites do it.” Well, I would chastise, and I’m white. I think it’s comical the way many white people in this country speak. If you ask directions in Queens, New York they say” It’s ovah deah..ovah da bridge”. That makes me cringe.
    My point is I just don’t think using SAE should be a political issue. I think it hurts young students to believe teachers are “being racist” if they correct their English. The end result is that the children will ultimately be the victims. Their chances for future success will be diminished. Not everything should be a political circus.
    I’ve seen “politics” hurt the efficiency of several school systems in different parts of the country where I’ve lived. By the time “everybody gets what they want”..the end result is nobody gets anything! Teachers feel so restricted that they’re actually afraid to teach/perform.
    It’s like the Bible story of Solomon and the infant. He said, “I have a solution to your problem. Each of you gets half of the child”. The real mother of the child was willing to give up her son rather than see his demise. My point? Some things should not be part of the political arena..speaking SAE in terms of teaching children should be one of those things.

  28. 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.

  29. The politicization of language is not what’s hurting kids. The covertly racist correcting is what hurts kids. For example, the insult in suggesting Ebonics is a lot of “slang” which it’s not. Like I said somewhere else, code-switching is a superior option to what occurs now and does not teach how to speak “proper” Ebonics. Also, teachers begin correcting spoken grammer long before a child has the ability to understand racism and politicization. What the child understands is that s/he’s being admonished for doing something that’s okay any other time. What’s also important to remember is that while children can’t understand racism and politics, they can pick up on a more condescending than usual tone. Nobody’s suggesting Ebonics be taught as a 2nd language or that it’s acceptable for professional, business, and academic situations. What activists want is to end the racist contempt that Ebonics is held in (as compared to other varieties of English) and to encourage code-switching. Language was politicized and racialized long before the Oakland cases. The last point is that YOU DON’T GO TO SCHOOL TO LEARN LANGUAGE. English teachers may think you do, but linguists know you don’t.
    @Greene/Log – Ultimately, what made the actions “stupid” for me is that unless Gates followed Conley out, carrying a weapon, you don’t arrest a man in his own for being loud and angry.
    . . . Something just occurred to me. Conley said he arrested Gates after Gates followed him outside. So why does it seem like he’s bringing Gates from the house already cuffed?

  30. The Gates arrest was more personality style clash than race. But we see race, so it is too easy to jump to conclusions. The DISC style analysis comes from the book Emotions Of Normal People, by Dr. William Marston. D-I-S-C Gates is a “D” Dominant style, officer an “I” Interactive style, Gates the natural “commander” the officer the natural “comedian.” In the Myers-Briggs system, Gates is ENTJ, officer ESFJ, Gates and officer naturally clash on the ENT – ESF qualities. Gates is most like a general at the Pentagon, officer most like a commander of a military base. Gates’ style is a “task-oriented” style, serious and demanding, officer is more social, a “people-oriented” style, like a coach on the sideline. Gates’ is a Vin Diesel “type” where the officer is a “Bill Cosby” type. Both are equally “extroverted” and thus very verbally powerful. Both were in a situation where “flash-point” Gates’ the king of his castle was challenged by officer’s authority being exercised “flash-point” in front of two other officers! VERY ironically, both men, are “experts” in the same field of “racial” issues in their respective professions. A greater “coincidence” rarely happens. The nation can now spin into a fury about race, or come to a higher realization that this kind of personality clash happens all the time, in organizations every where, every day–we see race, but “feel” personality style differences. From this thing, we ought to learn how to have greater respect for one another rather than contempt. The best outcome would be if Gates and the officer could reconcile the “real” differences based on what both men truly believe AND TEACH AND PREACH in their professional lives, shake hands, laugh and be filmed swapping ideas over a beer down at the neighborhood watering hole.
    Make sense? More convo at wouldchuk@gmail.com

  31. smoke.a.newport

    To No1KState:
    Will you Pul-leeze stop following me around! And I still think it would have made more sense if you had used “omnipotent” rather than “omnipresent”. [Just kidding. Lighten up will you!]

  32. smoke.a.newport

    You know, you probably think I hate you or something..but I don’t. You actually make me laugh..and I don’t mean this in a mean way. I would appreciate it though..if you could just criticize somebody else for 10 freakin’ minutes instead of moi.
    Thought for the Day: “It’s Nice to be Nice!”

  33. Cassie

    I still do not understand why Professor Gates was handcuffed and taken to jail just because he was angry with a police officer and expressed his anger, no matter how loud or belligerent his words were, on his own front porch. Is “disorderly conduct” just words in a manner that the police officer does not like? I guess the answer is that no matter what happens you have to kiss the police officer’s badge and say Yessuh. And I am white. I have heard absolutely nothing that would justify his arrest for disorderly conduct, a charge which I think is unconstitutional and offers police officers a weapon to punish anyone who does not show what they consider to be proper deference.

  34. cejac

    I feel that some blck men not all are very sensitive to being questioned by the police. I hate when they stop me for running a stop sign and give me aticket. At times. I feel that colored people use the “you did it because I am black” for the person to back off and to leave them alone, eventhough they know that whenever they are with the police, they should not argue with the police and just follow along with instructions. If you have nothing to hide you shouldn’t worry and just continue the momentum. Mr. Gates hostility just shows that many black people feel that everytime that they are stopped by the police or arredted it is because of their color. Maybe when the policeman stops me next time I will tell him that he is being bias because of my brown eyes. I admire the seargant for showing himself cool and collect. To the extent where Obama has to apologize to him for his comment. Wow.

  35. Randall

    As a black man, I feel that the officer was just doing his job by answering a call to a break in. All the Prof. had to do was show proof that he lived there. I would say the same thing if the prof. was white, yellow, red, blue or whatever. The prof. esculated the situation by yelling at the officer and calling him racist. This is the real problem in America today. If there is a confrontation between a White cop and a black man, right away the incident is racial.

  36. Nquest

    Hmmm… And to think, I heard police officers laugh off times when people of whatever racial/ethnic background tried to play “the race card” and never have I heard that those “sticks and stones” factored in those officers arrest decisions and the stories I’ve heard include White officers who were accused by a Black suspect of investigating them because they were Black, Black suspects doing the same when Black officers were involved, White suspects charging Black officers of being racist, etc., etc. And, again, never have I heard of any of those allegations, even loud, obnoxious mouthing off being the reason why someone was arrested.
    Matter of fact, a buddy of mine showed me a video they showed him in the police academy of a traffic stop where some guy was going off on a state trooper wrote him a ticket and the trooper remained calm even after the guy threw the ticket on the ground. He told me that was more or less the way the police academy expected them to act.

  37. “”If you have nothing to hide you shouldn’t worry and just continue the momentum.”” – Not true.
    Nobody begrudges the cop for responding to the call. It’s arresting the Prof after it was clear he was in his own house that’s the problem. If it was all right, the charges would not have been dropped.

  38. Sativa

    Randall, it was a racist incident—period. Theoretically speaking, you can tell a cop pretty much anything you want as long as it’s not threatening…unless you’re a person of color…apparently calling the officer on the racism associated with the incident and behaviors of the officer(s) is threatening? To what? His reputation? His ego? His so-called expertise? So what. As an officer he has the duty and vested responsibility of using his discretion in good faith, and in a professional and non-abusive manner. They have a duty to serve and protect the citizens in their jurisdiction. Simply taking personal offense at Gates accusing the officer(s) of being racist is not enough to constitute a legal arrest under the 4th and 14th Amendments. Well, in the U.S. it is obviously because it happens all the time with even less minor things–this case just made the news because it was a Harvard professor. The officer clearly abused his power and authority…as do many…. Most just aren’t high profile and many do not have the means or resources to fight the white supremacist system.

  39. LAURA

    This is an increasing problem with black in America. Although I personally never have discrimanted with ppl of color. But as a white woman it has happend to me. I was a teen and befriended another teen that happned to be black. We hung out with each other and lived in the same apt building. He went up to his apartment one night and the windows were open and his mom yelled at him for hanging out with “white trash”. I never even met his mom. But the point is racisim is not just white on black. And when and officer comes to my house for and investigation. The proper thing to do in not get defensive. He should of gave the officer his drivers licence right away!!! And none of this would of happened. The police have to matain social order, people bring it on themselves when they don’t comply with an order from an officer. They have the right to do what the see fit for disordly people.

  40. Sam

    I am a white american and I recall many times as a teenager hanging out in the neigborhood past midnight and being stopped by police(black and white) and asked what I was doing out so late. They would ask for my name, address, etc..Not once did I think they stopped me for racial issues.I knew they were doing their job.

    And believe it or not, whites are also discriminated in this country by minorities. When I was in my early twenties, three friends and I (all whites) had car problems. We had to park the car and find a phone. We finally found one a few blocks away. The entire time in that area we were racially harassed by blacks. We were called racial slurs and having bottles thrown at us.
    These kinds of incidences happen every day but you never see this on the news.

  41. Michelle

    This is a issue that as a white cop you will never win…You will always be wrong…..

    A) We responded and did what we thought was correct as a police officer…We got a call and showed up to do our job which had nothing to do with black or white factors. We did our job which is what everyone wants and is what we do

    B) If we showed up late or not as fast the officers would have been looked down upon because some people would say the officers didnt show up quickly enough because it had to do with someone of color.

    No matter what a police officer does in one way or another there is a problem and in one way or another in most peoples eyes/views a police officer screws up or doesnt do something correct.


  42. @ the last 3 posters – Did you guys read the preceding comments? Did you really come on here to compare about what happened to you ONCE in your life to the disparities we see in employment, income, housing, etc? Do you really think the problem is that Crowley just did his job? Do you really think Crowley did his job – cause ultimately, Michelle, if Gates didn’t pose a threat, there was no reason to arrest him. That’s why the charges were DISMISSED! Do you really think racial profiling doesn’t happen to minorities? That disparities we see in academic tracking and school punishment for the same scores and behavior; the disparities in criminal justice for the same crime; the disparities in lending; the being stopped while driving or walking without breaking any traffic laws or jaw-walking is all in black people’s head? No, no, no. The lack of racism is all in your head, demonstrated most clearly by Laura who presumes to know and understand the Black American experience better than black Americans based seemingly solely on her personal experience. You do realize that being a racial know-it-all based on your experience as a white person is indicative of white superiority, right?
    Do you guys realize regular commenters study racism, history, and social science either as a job/school, a past-time, or a passion; and, the moderators are social scientists who’ve done research in this area? Truth is, Laura, you probably do discriminate against people of color (even if you’ve dated persons of color), but the racism is so inbred, you don’t notice – but we do. But even accepting that since college, you have never, ever discriminated against a person of color – not because of their speaking black English, which linguists verify as no better or worse than standard/white English, or because of their hairstyle, or because of their dress – do you suggest that none of the white people you know have never, ever discriminated against a person of color? And even accepting that neither you or any white person you have ever met since college has discriminated against a person of color, do you really think you can speak for the other 210million white Americans that they have never, ever placed a black student in an academic tracking beneath his/her standardized test scores; or, given black patient less effective treatment; or, charged more for a loan despite downpayment, income, and collateral; or, stopped a black driver or pedestrian just because they were black, Michelle? Sam, do you really think you can compare your experience, your feelings, your reactions to those of your black friends you hung out with past midnight? Are you saying that none of your black friends felt like that were being racially profiled when they were with you? And if it is the case that they didn’t, do you know whether or not they were stopped around 6pm and asked what they were doing out, and if so, how they felt? Do you if they were ever stopped and frisked around 8pm when they weren’t with you, and if so, how they felt? Have you ever asked them if maybe the reason they hung out with you, aside, of course, from your wicked wit and biting sense of humor, that maybe just some of the motivation before they got to know you was to give them racial cover? I know I feel more protected and served, Michelle, in a group with more white girls than black. But, that’s just my experience with the maybe 20,000 or so white people I’ve come across since college.

  43. You guys know how I am with “just remembered” thoughts. Sorry.
    But to the Laura, Sam, and Michelle – I’m pretty sure I didn’t insult any of you personally. I didn’t call any of you names or anything. But, I’m not generally that strong in responding to specific commenters. There is possibly a nicer way to demonstrate that I think you’re demonstrating the white privilege to be oblivious, and even dismissive, of the experience of people of color. I’m just not in a great mood this morning.

  44. wolf

    If this had happened to a white dude – well then, it just would not be news.

    Gates needs racial sensitively training. Just cause a cop is white does not mean he is evil or dangerous!

  45. wolf

    “@wolf – When has it happened to a white dude?”

    That’s the point – stuff like that does not make the national news, why should it? Occasionally if you read your local paper, you might find incidents similar to Gates’. They certainly make the local section of the papers here from time to time.

    Racism is a disease. Sadly it infects people of all stripes.

  46. @wolf – It doesn’t make the news because it doesn’t happen nearly as often. Racial profiling isn’t just in our heads. It’s documented. It’s fairly cut and dry to google and get the stats.

  47. wolf

    No1KState – well racial profiling of all sorts exists. One might hope that airplane security folks pay more attention to men between 18-40 compared to hot blond women (though i have seen security pay “special attention” to the latter group.

    In any case, no racial profiling is evident in *this case*. The caller did not know the men were black, she herself was Portuguese, and the cop that responded was extremely proficient. The “victim” was an upper middle class man far removed from the ghetto.

    It seems very clear to me that either man could have averted the situation. The Prof by acting like a civilized man grateful for police protection (after all, wouldn’t he want the police to come if there really was a breakin?) and the cop by being more patient and forgiving of the abuse meted out by either a frightened or arrogant man.

    Perhaps we should refer to this as the 2 stooges incident? 🙂

  48. Dr. Evans

    I think it is absolutely hilarious that even a Harvard Professor will resort (regress) back to using ghetto verbage when confronted by a stressful situation. This is one of the prime reasons us blacks have not and never will be totally accepted in a European based society. The old saying “you can take the black out of the ghetto, but you can never take the ghetto out the black” is starting to really make more sense each day. Even our newest great leader Obama stepped on his own foot by being too quick to judge the police officer. Now he is back peddling to try to recover himself from his “ghetto fau paux”. I cannot wait for the next news event to unfold and maybe Liberal America will wake up to see the error of their ways in electing this idiot.

  49. Sam

    If I was the police officer, I would not accept the invitation to the white house unless the President apologizes on national television to Crowley and the entire Cambridge police department for his insults without understanding the facts first. The victim in this incident is clearly the officer. The cop’s department (including the black officers) support Crowley and one black woman on cnn who works with Crowley said she would not vote for Obama again because of his remarks. Bottom line is that the Police risk their lives everyday to protect citizens and they have to put up with this!

  50. @ wolf – White people aren’t racially profiled.

    @ Dr. Evans – No one is asking to be “accepted,” except you perhaps. No. We want justice. Racial profiling occurs. It’s documented. It’s studied. It’s researched. To accuse of cop of racism isn’t “ghetto.” It’s probably true.

    @ Sam – That’s a joke! The president didn’t say Crowley was racist or stupid. Just that he acted stupidly. It’s an obsevation I happen to think is true. The facts have come out. The charges were dismissed because there was no basis for them ergo a needless, if not “stupid” arrest.

    Cops won’t get a pass from me when it comes to racism. Because of racism, they kill innocent and unarmed people, usually of color. A black man in any random meeting with an armed cop, whether uniformed or not, risks his life, too.

    Sam and Dr. Evans, you two would do well to be informed before making unsubstantiated, racist, and plain ol’ ig’rant comments.

  51. Sorry guys! Blame it on the boogie!
    @ Sam – Even South African apartheid had it’s black supporters. Crowley’s having all those black people’s support doesn’t mean anything. Especially when Pres. Obama didn’t call him racist.

  52. Sam

    @N01KState-I respect your opinions. I was just fired up. This entire situation could have been handled better by both individuals. Hopefully this was a teachable moment like the President said.

  53. Silent Gray Fellow

    “White Racial Frame”. This is like a free pass for non-whites. White people will always be wrong and there’s nothing they can ever do about it.

    White people are disadvantaged, becuase, unlike other races, they can never use racism as an excuse. A white person (especially men) has to stand on his own merits, and can’t use racism to explain failures in his life. Black people, however, can be full of self-confidence that they would have really been something if it hadn’t been for white oppression.

    In reality, although I do believe that everyone desires to be judged by the content of thier character, I also believe that there are a great many people who would hate to lose their ability to play the race card.

  54. Joe

    Silent Gray Fellow, thanks for showing our viewers what the white racial frame is. It was created by whites, mainly white men, about four centuries back to do what you are doing –rationalize and sanitize 400 years of racial oppression, 246 years of slavery, 90 years of extreme near-slavery called legal segregation, and now 40 years of contemporary racism — with notions of how virtuous and merit-oriented whites area and how inferior people of color are. White men in particular, most of them mediocre or worse (like C-student George Bush), run almost everything in this society at the top, and have for four centuries, yet are a minority of the population. They need the white racial frame to hide the reality of their central role in racial oppression , past and present. White men have many fictions and excuses to cover up this racist reality, including the virtue/merit themes. There is still large scale racial discrimination targeting people of color today, as the research cited often on this blog demonstrates.

  55. wolf

    Hi Joe – So given that you believe the US is in the midst of “contemporary racism” what do you advise people to do? Should black folk work hard and try to get ahead, or is that just the white mans game? Should white folk also work hard and try to get ahead, or can they simply rely on “white privelege”?

    Just to let you know what i believe – race is becoming less and less important as time goes by. Whatever remants of racism exist is primarily held in the hearts and minds of little people of all races. Class is the big thing – it explains both GWB and OJ with equal ease. But opportunity exists for all of us, with hard work and a bit of luck.

    Just my $0.02.

  56. How is it that every week or so, we get people like wolf asking the same question(s) that have been asked and answered at least 15x’s before in the comment threads alone, not to mention the blog articles themselves, right? I mean, is it some sort of law of physics are something?
    @ wolf – Take a deep breath. Think about it. I assume GWB and OJ symbolize here privileges and immunity that come with class regardless of race, intelligence, or moral virture. Am I correct in that assumption? If so, I’m not quite sure how OJ fits in as he’s been sentenced to 14 (?) years in prison and owes the Goldmans several million dollars due to the civil suit he lost. And even though Vick served two years in jail and on house arrest, since he has the opportunity to play in the NFL again, I’ll throw him in too.
    So, on one side there’s OJ, Vick, and possibly Condaleeza Rice and maybe Coleen Powell. —— On the other, there’s GWB, Cheney, Quayle, Reagan, the AIG execs, BofA execs, Goldman and Sacks execs, Aetna execs, BlueCross-BlueShield execs, Wal-Mart, cops who kill unarmed people (who, with few exceptions, are black), KBR, white vigilantes in New Orleans, Scalia/Alito/Thomas/Roberts, Michelle Bachmann, Eric Cantor, John Boenher, Jon Kyle, Sarah Palin
    Have I made my point or should I continue?

  57. wolf

    Hi No1KState – Well, OJ did get away with murder, due to be able to hire expensive lawyers of dubious integrety (is their race important?). But OJ was not able to contain himself, which is why he is in prison now.

    Are you asserting that all of the AIG execs, BofA execs, Goldman and Sacks execs, Aetna execs, BlueCross-BlueShield execs, Wal-Mart, cops who kill unarmed people are all white? No blacks amongst them? Surely you do not believe that all of the “bad” people are of one race and the “virtuous” people of another?

    Even a billionare like Madoff can be convicted – and end up in prison – despite “white privilege”.

    Yes, i think it would be informative for you to continue. I am not sure what point you are trying to make. . .

  58. @ wolf – My point was that was privilege outweighs class privilege. For example:
    cop vs prof
    The police record was false – the witness didn’t describe the alleged burglars as “big, black guys.” The prof identified himself as the homeowner, but the cop told back-up to keep coming. The cop said he requested the prof to come outside in case the burglars where in the house, but arrested the prof once he stepped outside. The cop said the prof was uncooperative and accused him of racism. But at no point did the cop say he felt the prof, 5’7″, 140lbs, posed a threat. Essentially, he arrested the prof for insulting him and yelling at him, neither of which is a crime. Additionally, the prof is very famous as for as professors go, known by the public for his work tracing the geneaology of famous actors and the website he edits. Personality-wise, he doesn’t carry flamboyance but more of a quiet dignity. His politics are probably in the center, or maybe a tad to the left.
    — Would you take one’s word over the other? And if so, which one?
    — What if the cop were black and the prof white?
    My point is that the reaction from the white public indicated that Gates’s socioeconomic class didn’t matter, his achievements in the world of academia didn’t matter. The fact that he helped bring an entire field of study into the mainstream of academia didn’t matter. His PBS specials and book signings broadcast on C-Span didn’t matter. Even the fact that for all his achievements, lots of black anti-racism activist don’t hold him in high regard didn’t matter. — And as far as facts, it didn’t matter to Rep McCotter (R-Mich) that the charges had already been dropped and Pres. Obama made clear he was making an opinion not having all the facts, he still wants Pres. Obama to apologize. In fact, the white public doesn’t even seem to care that, aside from the false police record that a witness reported two “big black” men, Gates isn’t big, he walks with a cane, and at the time had some sort of respitory infection. All the public heard was a black man with the audacity to challenge a white cop.
    What’s more is that we can’t even talk about this rationally. White America, with no evidence or proof, just blithely denies the veracity of the black experience with profiling, and the fear black men have of being stopped by police. White America gets so indignant over accusations of racism, they fly off the handle before anyone can explain to them what it means and how it works. Somehow, all 30mill or so African Americans are misinterpretting our experience. Well, except the 100grand or so who would agree with Gates that racism isn’t a significant factor in the lives of black people. Or, at least the Gates prior to the arrest. The rest of us are crazy.
    Point being, class and race intercept. Middle class whites do look down on their white trash cousins. And sure, there are privileges middle/upper class blacks can afford that poor whites can’t. Yeah, they may have to endure the insult of being “watched” by store security, and they may have to prove to clerk that they can afford to shop there, but at least they’re there. But at the end of the day, if a black Harvard professor comes home [I should point out here that data lets us know that because whites have had a much longer time to acumulate wealth, it’s more likely that a poor white couple own their own home than a middle class black couple.] to a jammed door, his best bet is to hope no one witnesses the failure of his first attempt and go quickly to try another door. He can’t risk being seen attempting to force his way in. If you feel like the poor white guy has the same risk, it wouldn’t take me but a hot second to find someone who would disagree.
    And no I don’t believe that all those big execs and cops are white. At best, I’d say 90% are. The other point I was making is this – If the issue is class as opposed to race, we shouldn’t see disparities between blacks and whites within the same income bracket. But we do. What comes to mind right away is that blacks on average pay more for loans and have worse medical outcomes due to both the stress of facing daily racism and the less agressive treatment they receive from doctors.
    At this point, I haven’t seen Joe’s response to your question of what people should do. But my suggestion is that we continue govt intervention to redress inequalities and white Americans become more self-reflective and start listening and learning instead of peeing themselves at the suggestion of r****m.

  59. Robert

    Why did Gates pass out insults when the officers said they were investigating a possible burglary?

    Why did Gates step outside and provoke the officers after he showed proof of ownership and the satisfied officers were on their way out of there?

    Would Gates have made any of those comments if black officers showed up?
    Why is it that only white people can be racists?

  60. Nquest

    Why did Gates pass out insults when the officers said they were investigating a possible burglary?
    What insult did you hear Gates pass out? The accuracy/truthfulness of Sgt. Crowley’s report has become increasingly questionable.
    Why did Gates step outside and provoke the officers after he showed proof of ownership and the satisfied officers were on their way out of there?
    Since you’re taking the police report as gospel, according to Sgt. Crowley’s report, Sgt. Crowley offered to answer any other questions (besides his name and badge number) outside.
    Gates could have been more familiar with Massachusetts case law than Sgt. Crowley.

  61. ellen says

    This book won a Pulitzer Prize in April 2009! About a shameful chapter in American History.
    Buy this book and the photos alone will tell the story! See bottom for the website where you can see some of the photos of these emaciated prisoners in chains. You can also watch videos of interviews with the author Douglas Blackmon. I think most whites today knew blacks had it rough in the South with Jim Crow laws and such..but this was a revelation to me! Absolutely horrible!
    African Americans in the South were charged with “petty crimes” such as vagrancy as an excuse to be imprisoned and serve in “chain gangs”. Then these gangs were literally sold as labor force to various industries. They lived in the harshest conditions imaginable, suffered tuberculosis and other diseases and many died. Their bodies were dumped in unmarked graves which the author discovered: one right outside Birmingham, Alabama. Many blacks saw their relatives arrested and then “never returned” under unknown mysterious circumstances. This took place After the Civil War until WWII. Similar to Nazi Germany arresting Jews under trumped up charges and then sending them to labor camps to work free for the Nazi Government in factories etc.
    Slavery by Another Name:
    The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II
    Author: Douglas A. Blackmon
    Publisher: Doubleday, $29.95 (512p) ISBN 978-0-385-50625-0

    The Age of Neo-Slavery
    In this groundbreaking historical expose, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history—when a cynical new form of slavery was resurrected from the ashes of the Civil War and re-imposed on hundreds of thousands of African-Americans until the dawn of World War II.
    Under laws enacted specifically to intimidate blacks, tens of thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily arrested, hit with outrageous fines, and charged for the costs of their own arrests. With no means to pay these ostensible “debts,” prisoners were sold as forced laborers to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries and farm plantations. Thousands of other African Americans were simply seized by southern landowners and compelled into years of involuntary servitude. Government officials leased falsely imprisoned blacks to small-town entrepreneurs, provincial farmers, and dozens of corporations—including U.S. Steel Corp.—looking for cheap and abundant labor. Armies of “free” black men labored without compensation, were repeatedly bought and sold, and were forced through beatings and physical torture to do the bidding of white masters for decades after the official abolition of American slavery.
    The neoslavery system exploited legal loopholes and federal policies which discouraged prosecution of whites for continuing to hold black workers against their wills. As it poured millions of dollars into southern government treasuries, the new slavery also became a key instrument in the terrorization of African Americans seeking full participation in the U.S. political system.
    Based on a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude. It also reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the modern companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the system’s final demise in the 1940s, partly due to fears of enemy propaganda about American racial abuse at the beginning of World War II.
    SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME is a moving, sobering account of a little-known crime against African Americans, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

  62. Robert

    What insult did you hear Gates pass out? The accuracy/truthfulness of Sgt. Crowley’s report has become increasingly questionable.”>

    You didn’t answer the question. Everythings questionable, but, there is evidence to back up the truthfulness in his statement from Officer Carlos and Whalen.

    Gates called Crowley a racist. Is that not an insult?

    Since you’re taking the police report as gospel, according to Sgt. Crowley’s report, Sgt. Crowley offered to answer any other questions (besides his name and badge number) outside.

    Sgt. Crowley did answer Gates, twice, but Gates was yelling when Crowley answered. It’s in the report.


    If an officer ever showed at my home stating they’re investigating a possible burglary, and would like to see my ID, I’d show it to him. You have to admit… if Gates wouldn’t have yelled at Crowley, the outcome, most likely, would have been different. If you can’t understand that, then you’re being racially bias.

  63. Nquest

    there is evidence to back up the truthfulness in his statement from Officer Carlos and Whalen
    Please cite where Whalen provides “back up” for Crowley’s claims regarding Gates insulting Crowley. If anything, Whalen via the 911 tapes and her statements specifically contradicting Crowley’s report provides reason, if not evidence, to question the accuracy/truthfulness of Crowley’s report.
    Sgt. Crowley did answer Gates, twice…
    Huh? It’s “in the report” that Crowley offered to answer any other questions outside. What part of “any other questions besides his name and badge number” did you not understand?
    “I told Gates that I was leaving his residence and that if he had any other questions regarding the matter, I would speak to him outside the residence.”
    Like I said, it’s in the report… (that you’re taking as gospel).
    If an officer ever showed at my home stating…
    The incident didn’t occur at your home which makes whatever you would do in your home irrelevant.
    You have to admit… if Gates wouldn’t have yelled at Crowley…
    The only thing I have to admit is that I don’t know a single police officer who would have made the arrest Sgt. Crowley did and I know plenty of police officers who have heard it all up to and including “you’re racist against Blacks”, “you’re racist against Whites” insults that they blow off like any other crap people they come in contact throw at them for doing their jobs.
    I thought Crowley was supposed to be a knowledgeable instructor in racial profiling… Surely he has been trained, has experienced or has entertained the notion that officers would be faced with accusations of racism because of racial profiling. Unfortunately, his training or lack thereof failed him in this situation.
    I’ll post this again: http://www.volokh.com/posts/1248465451.shtml
    If you can’t understand that, then you’re being ______ .

  64. Nquest

    Speaking about not answer questions:
    What insult did you hear Gates pass out?
    That’s a question asking you what direct knowledge you have since you’re so sure Gates insulted Crowley. And when you ask questions like this:
    Why did Gates pass out insults when the officers said they were investigating a possible burglary?
    It’s unclear why you’re asking anyone else but Gates. It’s also rather curious that you take Crowley’s words at face value but apparently haven’t or don’t consider Gates statements on the matter. Had you read/accepted Gates statements on the incident as gospel the same way you’re accepting Crowley’s words as gospel, you would have an answer to your question.
    Regardless, it’s clear Crowley did in fact see Gates ID (another reason why your reference to what you would do is irrelevant) but Crowley felt the need to continue viewing Gates as a suspect when he called Harvard University police. Or at least it’s easy to see how Gates could see it that way.
    Nowhere in the Crowley’s report did Crowley explain why he did that and, more importantly, Crowley apparently did explain that to Gates. That alone would give Gates reason to be upset with Crowley making him (Gates) a suspect in his own home.

  65. Nquest

    Hmmm… Let’s see if Robert takes this as gospel:
    COOPER: So, you have absolutely no qualms at all that [Gates] should have been arrested, that he should have been taken in?
    LASHLEY: I have no qualms with that.
    And one of the things that we want to — would it have been different had I shown up first? And I think it probably would have been different. And…
    COOPER: Because?
    LASHLEY: But had he acted that — because of the black man to black man, it probably would have been different…”
    Ohhh, Sgt. Lashley was “being racially biased.” LOL

  66. ellen says

    Please go to http://www.slaverybyanothername.com. I believe this explains a great deal about the way the black consciousness operates..even though admittedly I’m not black. This book explains how the Southern white civil courts, police officers, sheriffs etc conspired [ this book was written by a White Man!] to create many “laws” on the books after the Civil War to keep blacks in an oppressed position to the whites. As in: You couldn’t change jobs without permission of your former employer? Hello! That’s totally unconstitutional.
    Plus, on this site is a true story about a black family who lived in rural Georgia, far from any other blacks or whites, on a large plantation. This family, who is interviewed on this site, was told by the owner/owners for several generations, that they “belonged” to him legally and this black family believed that slavery existed until 1961! It was called peonage: the idea that “debts” had to be paid by involuntary forced labor.
    Thus the southern whites got to keep all their free black labor by creating a New Twist on the slavery institution. Tell blacks they are in monetary debt to you [for whatever reason] and then make them work off this debt. Pretty diabolical.
    Most northern whites, according to the reaction regarding the book’s release, were totally unaware of this while it was going on. The peanoage system was Alive and Well in the south until the beginning of WWII when it was stopped because the south didn’t want Germany to point fingers at them in terms of genocide! How could we accuse Germans of murdering Jews while the South was working blacks to death [thousands died under this system from malnutrition, disease, and whippings..one man was whipped 69 times and died a week later] ?
    This book has made me look at the grievances of blacks in an entirely new light. It’s not merely that they were kept out of high paying jobs, educational opportunities, made to use separate facilities etc.
    They were systematically and deliberately manipulated to believe they were in DEBT to employers and THEN basically enslaved to pay back that debt! The South received Millions of Dollars of Free Labor in this Fashion. This goes way beyond segregation, does it not?

  67. Silent Gray Fellow

    “Silent Gray Fellow, thanks for showing our viewers what the white racial frame is. It was created by whites, mainly white men, about four centuries back to do what you are doing –rationalize and sanitize 400 years of racial oppression”

    You’re quite welcome, Joe. I realize that the comment I made is abrasive. I realize, and regret, that I am not as enlightened as I should be about the problems faced by minorities in the U.S. due to racism.

    However, I don’t think I need to “hide the reality of (my) central role in racial oppression , past and present”. I suppose it’s possible that I could have had some small role that I’m not aware of–but I doubt it.

    I have, however, been a victim of racism. There are opportunites for employment and education that are not open to me becuase I’m a white man. I have been told point blank that I am not eligible to apply for some opportunity because I’m white. Doesn’t that make me a victim of racism?

    Long story short, I don’t think it’s accurate or fair to paint all white people with the same brush. My ancestors were poor white Europeans who came to America as indentured servants. I understand that racial opression is a problem, but why do I need to “hide the reality of (my) central role in racial oppression”?

  68. Paul

    The president said he did,nt have any of the facts but the cops obviously acted stupidly.
    I don,t have any of the facts but the president acted stupidly. Hey! That goes a long way in promoting race relationships doesn,t it!.

    Good God, how does anyone expect things to improve. Me I don,t care, I,ll just go on with my preconceived racist notions. no one wants to understand my way of thinking, wants to set up meetings and dialogue to find out where I,m coming from. Maybe I should become a radical Muslim, then a whole committee would be set up to analyze my anger and why its Americas fault that I hate America and send me free stuff!. Yeh! Thats it!

  69. Dave

    I have to disagree with this being racially based. As a caucasion male I would expect to have to show my ID if I was in the same situation and would expect to let the officer look to verify an intruder isn’t around the corner holding me at gun point.

    On the same note I would not be idiotic enough to claim it was racial profiling if the officer was a different race than me, make comments about his mother, and badger him going out the door.

    Also a correction to a previous posters comment. Citing the police report as false because it is inaccurate on one point is mislead and deceptive. In contrast to the 911 tape the callers comment about it being “black men” is not accurate but does not make the whole report false.

    I do not deny that racism still exists in the country. I just do not think this is it.

    As for the professor and his field of study… there’s an only saying that if all you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.


  1. Wednesday Blogaround « The Gender Blender Blog
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