For the most part I try to steer clear of politics and such on here, but sometimes even I can stay silent. Feel free to skip this post, I know that it's probably been written before by more eloquent bloggers than myself. I'm sure by now you've probably heard about this incident that has been blown completely out of proportion all the way up to an executive level. I'm so dumbfounded by the situation that I hardly know where to start.
First off, yes, racism and discrimination, unfortunately, does still exist in many places and in many forms throughout our world. I am not naive enough to think otherwise. Yes, this is a big problem that needs to be continually addressed, corrected and counteracted to the fullest extent possible. I have no problem with the "race card" when it is actually a race/religion/ethnicity related issue. More power to legitimate uses. However, the use of the race card in a completely unrelated situation just plain pisses me off. It distracts from the true issue at hand and has absolutely nothing to do with resolving the issue. It is misleading, and in my humble opinion, perpetuates racism and discrimination. It's a sad thing that many people have been conditioned through experience and teaching to expect racism, but to qualify every possible question as a race issue, is just plain ignorant. While not wholly related to this issue, I do feel the need to point out that racism and discrimination is not just reserved for people of color. I have seen and have personal encounters with incidents of reverse racism and discrimination. I don't recall the source, but I recently read a statement that tolerism is a two way street. I couldn't agree more with the sentiment.
This whole incident had nothing to do with race, and the cries of racism from this well-educated man are ridiculous and completely unfounded. Dr. Gates' behavior was absolutely unwarranted and unacceptable. Sergeant Crowley was doing his job responding to a possible break in attempt. How this has anything to do with racial profiling is beyond me. Sergeant Crowley's presence that night had nothing to do with racial profiling. Dr. Gates' behavior had nothing to do with racial profiling. Yes, racial profiling exists and unfortunately there are incidents where African Americans and others are stopped simply for being colored. That is not okay on ANY level in any situation. However, this is not such a situation.
Okay, so you happen to see a guy trying to get into a house without using a key. I could care less if he was green with purple polka dots, I would call the police and describe them as best I could, because like it or not, physical characteristics, be it skin color, eye color, facial shape, hair color, height, etc are physical descriptors that can help identify a person, criminal or otherwise. For Dr. Gates' response to and office responding to a legitimate call about the potential security issue to be uncooperative, belligerent behavior, is completely unreasonable and I would even go so far to call it irrational. After all, we know I have about zero tolerance for irrational, illogical behavior, which is probably why this incident has me so irritated. Sergeant Crowley's presence at Dr. Gates' house that night had nothing to do with the color of his skin, his religious beliefs or anything else. It had to do with a legitimate report of a possible crime. I would have expected Dr. Gates' response to have been one of cooperation and thankfulness, not outrage, belligerence and racial accusations. The police report is available and details the entire encounter. Dr. Gates was warned to calm down multiple times with the expressed consequence of legal arrest for belligerent behavior. He walked himself right into that one. It's a legitimate arrest of which he was warned. It had absolutely nothing to do with the color of his skin. It had everything to do with his outrageous and unnecessary behavior. To try and make it into a racial incident is to refuse to take responsibility for your own actions and behavior. The color of your skin does not give you license to act in this manner. I would have expected far better behavior from such a respected scholar. Heck, I'd have expected better behavior from anyone.
For President Obama to say that the police acted stupidly? First, why don't you read the report and get all of the facts before you make a statement. Period. People will respect you more if you admit that you are not fully briefed on the details of the situation and would like to refrain from comment until such time as you do have all the details. I understand that Dr. Gates is a friend of the President's. This does not give him license for poor behavior. If anything, it calls for even better behavior than one might reasonably expect. Dr. Gates, NOT President Obama, NOT Sergeant Crowley, Dr. Gates is responsible for his own actions. His actions have nothing to do with the color of his skin. He simply chose to make it an issue of his race. Now, I do not know Dr. Gates. I have no knowledge of his history with legitimate discrimination. I can certainly understand that he probably faced a great deal of challenges in working to achieve his current educational level and status. But past incidents do not give one license to behave in such a poor manner. The unwarranted use of the race card, in my opinion, weakens his position in this entire incident, which wasn't all that great to begin with. Incidents like this detract from true incidents of racism and intolerance. It's completely counterproductive and weakens the progress towards true tolerance for everyone.