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Inside the Gates Arrest, Plus ‘Hurt Locker’ Review

Posted on Jul 24, 2009
Summit Entertainment

This week the Truthdig panel talks about the racial politics behind the arrest of high-profile Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who himself said, “I was cast by him [the policeman] in a narrative and he didn’t know how to get out of it.” Also, pop culture critic Sheerly Avni gives a big thumbs up to a new and telling film about the Iraq war, “The Hurt Locker.”

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By Max Shields, July 28, 2009 at 8:28 am Link to this comment


As you move away from the Gates case, and toward institutional racism, some call it systemic racism we know it exists. I would ask: why?

Perhaps we need to answer the simple question: What is racism?

On the property tax issue, I can’t speak for most states, but the one I live in categorizes various citis as distressed, and fund much of the education, rather than the residence of that municipality. However the residents do believe that they are paying for the schools, teachers, and outcomes (scores on the idiotic standardized tests.)

School system reflect the population. A poor population where many are single parent, muliple lowing paying job holders is hardly the condition for optimal outcomes. All indicators in terms of quality of life are below state and national averages in these urban core areas.

Property tax is not the problem. In fact, the right kind of property tax could help change the economic dynamics in our urban centers. Property tax is a democratic tax…you can actually complain about your taxes and have a shot at getting them changed. Try that with sales and income taxes. Poor pay sales taxes (not the wealthy) and middle class pays income tax (not the wealthy). So you’re left with a tax on property. The property tax has two components - improvement and land. Most states don’t allow you to tax land higher than improvement. That’s where the real problem begins. Shift to land and you begin to collect community/common wealth that today leaves cities with blight, speculation, and slum lords. Shift to land and those conditions begin to disappear. Hundreds of empirical studies show time and time again that this is the fairest means of generating revenues while making housing affordable -owners and renters. You cannot pass this tax on to renters.

The heavy handed top-down structure of government Fed/State/Local has done nothing to eliminate institutionalized racism. The problem needs to be understood to be solved. And I think we just have a word, “racism”, and very little understanding of it’s cause and how it is sustained.

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By SusanSunflower, July 28, 2009 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

I’ve already said that I think this having a beer and shaking hands is at best premature ...

The policeman acted badly. Gates’ arrest was unnecessary and, worse imho, punitive ... The policeman and police forces across the nation are OUTRAGED at Gates’ accusation of profiling ...

It may never be the right time for that beer.  Obama’s suggestion of “letting bygones be bygones” is problematic for the NEXT person rousted and arrested by a policeman ... and perhaps of greater significance for the next policeman who feels they have been unjustly accused of bias.

It’s “sit down and shut up both of you” ...

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By SusanSunflower, July 28, 2009 at 8:01 am Link to this comment

I will admit that it can be “difficult”—in some sort of chicken-egg intellectual exercise—to separate racism from classism, particularly by people who like to point to a growing minority middle class as proof of something ..

However there is what appears to be institutionalized racism in accepting bogglingly bad test scores and abysmal high school completion rates in minority neighborhoods without significant interventions (these deficiencies have existed for decades) for which—as long as schools are funded by district PROPERTY TAXES—simply have no funding. Landlords in less affluent rental neighborhoods can often effectively squash any increase in their taxes. Homeowners, in contrast, have a vested interest in better schools, their own children and may occasionally pass bond issues and the like—or vouchers or charter school and SAHM and other volunteering ...

Minority neighborhoods absent incarcerated fathers, sons, brothers, and uncles, etc. is not somehow “separate but equal”—in other countries, nonviolent criminals are rarely incarcerated very long at all, they are paroled early in part to help them “rehabilitate” part of which is keeping their families and their “ties to the community” strong.

Post-racist, my ass.

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By Max Shields, July 28, 2009 at 7:56 am Link to this comment


Btw, I agree with most of what you say. I just don’t see Gates symbolizing anything but the elitist managerial class you’ve so clearly identified.

Police brutality against minorities is trivialized by this Gates “incident”.

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By Max Shields, July 28, 2009 at 7:52 am Link to this comment


I don’t think Reed is making up that Gates was a toughlove promoter for African American males. He’s been part of the Oprah crowd for some time.

Interesting to hear his tune changed, conveniently, after this incident.

Folktruther, the I think this is a rather trivial case compared to those which are barely touched on on TD or other “progressive” sites where black men are beaten and killed by the police. Gates may have been harrassed.

Beyond that apparent fact, there’s really no importance to this…except maybe Gates has learned something.

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By Folktruther, July 28, 2009 at 7:43 am Link to this comment

Wherher or not Gates was an uncle tom is totally irrelvant to the central point of this incident, just as Dryfus’s identification with the miliary was irrelevant in the Dryfus Affair.  What is crucial is the outpouring of support for the police invading a black person’s home, the Progressive opposiiton to Ardee’s straightforward liberal analysis to the affair, and the response of the black professional community.

I asked two African-American friends, one ow which I have known for twenty years on their take of the Gates incident.  They both said, independantly, there there were ‘two-sides’ to the affair.  I suggested that these were the right side and the wrong side.  And my friend said, ‘hell, they’d probably shoot you.’ should they invade my house. So there they were, covering their asses on a blatant display of racist police statism.  giving the defensive Obama response in the face of racist reaction.

It’s understandable but depressing.  It is becoming clear to me that the professional-managerial class, on balance, and a vocal fraction of the American people, have a strong desire for a police state.  They feel protected by it. 

that is why the American government’s massive spying on the population, torture, massive imprisonment, White House death squads, etc do not evoke a reaction from the population.  They unconsciously, and not so unconsciously, desire it.  And certainly are afraid to challenge it.

It has been estimated that in the US, one out of every two babies are non-Anglo; Black, Latino, Asian, Amer-ndian.  the US White ruling class is, increasingly in the future, going to rule a non-White population.  This is going to require a stronger police-prison power system.  and there appears to be a strong feeling in the American people feeling the need for it, as class inequality increases.  It will protect traditional American Freedom&Democracy;.

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By SusanSunflower, July 28, 2009 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

At the end of Gates’ interview wrt to the arrest (which has been on line for a week now) his closing statement is this:

“HLG: I thought the whole idea that America was post-racial and post-black was laughable from the beginning. There is no more important event in the history of black people in America than the election of Barack Obama. I cried when he was elected, and I cried at his inauguration, but that does not change the percentage of black men in prison, the percentage of black men harassed by racial profiling. It does not change the number of black children living near the poverty line. Which is almost a similar percentage as were under poverty when Martin Luther King was assassinated.

There haven’t been fundamental structural changes in America. There’s been a very important symbolic change and that is the election of Barack Obama. But the only black people who truly live in a post-racial world in America all live in a very nice house on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Gotta wonder is Michele Obama agrees ... and/or HER mother but ... never mind

When Ward Churchill got into difficulties, there were a couple of decades worth of academic and political rivals (and longstanding detractors) eager and ready to take him down a peg, preferably unseat him as chair and disgrace him ... I can tell you that living in Colorado the coverage was a drip drip drip with the insignificant and petty and personal heaped alongside the “serious” and footnoted ...

Obviously to Reed and self-titled anonymous “Phantom Negro” and doubtless others regard Gates’—to them—excessive and unwarranted success as a somewhat personal affront—as if, he had sucked all the air from the room and ate so much at table they were had to content themselves with leftovers and—of course—his success was achieved by being such a safe “post-racial” person ...

IMHO, “post-racial” is a crock ... and the people who attempt to market this fantesy are doing very serious damage—as we’ve seen this last week as extraordinary number of americans have contended that rather “racism” being a problem, it is the “myth of racism” that is keeping minorities down—their “victimization culture” resulting in low expectations ... usually spoken by the very successful and wealthy who seem to have forgotten just what role extraordinary talent and luck (and the good will of others) played in their own success. Gates apparently has been considered guilty of this.

The Root interview is here:,0

I have no particular affection for Gates. He has struck me in the past as an entertainer trying perhaps a bit too hard to be charming and affable ... this incident made me more aware of his accomplishment and I must adnmit I am impressed, regardless.

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By Max Shields, July 28, 2009 at 6:56 am Link to this comment


Your emotionally wrought. Calm down. Did you read Ishmael Reed’s piece?

Apparently not. Reed brings a little Gates history to the situation. It is Gates who has been the “post-racial” cat who thinks African American males just don’t get it.

Get it, MarthaA?

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By ardee, July 28, 2009 at 3:46 am Link to this comment

fidler, July 27 at 9:16 am #

I assume you spout your hysterical misinterpretation of this “narrative” from a victimological position within non-white skin.

Then you would assume incorrectly, but I surmise you are used to doing exactly that.

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By MarthaA, July 27, 2009 at 9:23 pm Link to this comment

Max Shields,

“Whatever the incident, the “good” professor should be looked at a bit more closely according to Ishmael Reed…methinks it resonates”.

What an awful thing to say. You think the Professor has been smudged and it delights you, which shows a lack of character on your part, and anyone else who thinks in like manner. 

It may resonate with you, but it certainly doesn’t resonate with me, as far as being in any way detrimental to Professor Gates. I have a tendency to put myself in the shoes of others, and no one would appreciate being treated with disrespect and unkindness the way Crowley treated the Professor, without any semblance of justified cause.

Crowley needs to learn a little kindness and respect.

The one thing I know for sure is that I wouldn’t want Policeman Crowley called ever, for any kind of situation, that I had anything to do with, because it is his type of policeman that ends up shooting an innocent person, because of what might, maybe would have or could happen.

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By MarthaA, July 27, 2009 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment


“Re “please step outside the house”—Remember, the call-in said there were two guys trying to break in the door. Officer Crowley saw only one guy, Prof. Gates, at the door. A lone officer not knowing if there are two people in the house, one perhaps out of sight, would have to be crazy to walk in until he had backup.”  Your words.

Is the back up Beverly Hills Cop Crowley is requesting for protection at a crime scene, or what?  It appears to me BHC Crowley determined a crime had been committed and wouldn’t hear of nothing less. 

You are wrong to blame the crippled, sick and tired honorable Professor who was, might I remind you, in his own home. Crowley, on a POWER and AUTHORITY trip, dishonored the professor, jumped to conclusions, exacerbated the situation and booked an innocent man. Ignorance gone to seed.

Once there was an incident when someone called the police about something on me, a policeman knocked on the door, asked me my name and if I lived there, I told him my name and that I lived there, he told me there had been a report at this location, I told him I had no knowledge of any report to the police. Not once did he ask me to step outside like Crowley did. I asked him who made the report and he said he was not allowed to say. He asked if anyone else lived there, I told him no, then he told me he was sorry for bothering me and left, which is what Crowley should have done.  I am thankful that policeman did not do to me what was done to Professor Gates, by Crowley. It was Crowley’s attitude and tone of voice that caused the Professor’s to feel threatened.  You want to think Crowley was kind to the Professor, but it is plainly evident to me that there was no kindness offered.

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By Sepharad, July 27, 2009 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment

Martha, I think you’re confused. Crowley was not being abusive and not trying to protect a crime scene. You’re gonna have to find another case to show that you believe that police brutality is bad (and yes it’s bad, and there ARE real cases of it, just not this one).

Max Shields, you’ve got a point. But cut Prof. Gates some slack. He was slightly ill with some sort of flu bug, also jet-lagged, also frustrated to find his door jammed just when he wanted most to walk in and crash. I honestly think he would have given Crowley his driver’s license to prove he lived there, and maybe even thanked him for troubling to check on his house (as there had been 23 break-ins in his neighborhood in the last month or so).

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By Max Shields, July 27, 2009 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

Whatever the incident, the “good” professor should be looked at a bit more closely according to Ishmael Reed…methinks it resonates…

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By MarthaA, July 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment


Identification was all that was necessary, get a check of his credentials if he didn’t know him and to ask him if anything was wrong, which wasn’t done. It would have been really simple for Crowley to go to his car and verify who lives at that address.  Crowley is the one that was abusive and should be reprimanded, for the police dept. to be standing behind Crowley, causes me to wonder about the leaders of the police department.

No matter how you slice it, Professor Gates was maligned, harassed and arrested in and at his own home, without just cause.  Some woman reporting that she thought something she saw to be a crime scene does not make a crime scene and should not have been treated like a crime scene, as no crime had been committed, until Policeman Crowley arrested Professor Gates, which should be blotted off Professor Gates record; instead of arresting him and broadcasting his arrest pictures all across the internet, which causes me to think there is more to this harassment and maligning of Professor Gates by Crowley than meets the eye, because the Police Department blasting his arrest pictures across the internet is a purposeful act by someone in the Police Department, which should not have been done and should require a thorough investigation into why his pictures were broadcast.  I suspect foul play within the Police Department.

It was not necessary for Beverly Hills Cop Crowley to protect a crime scene, his job was to verify if a crime had been committed in a private residence, not protect a crime scene, and if Crowley had not been so gungho abusive, he would have believed Professor Gates and not have initiated controversy by asking him to step out of the house, which was totally unnecessary, there was NO CRIME verified, but was still booked and his criminal appearance pictures broadcast across the internet.  I think Professor Gates has more than just cause to sue the Police Dept. for redress.

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By Sepharad, July 27, 2009 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment

Re “please step outside the house”—Remember, the call-in said there were two guys trying to break in the door. Officer Crowley saw only one guy, Prof. Gates, at the door. A lone officer not knowing if there are two people in the house, one perhaps out of sight, would have to be crazy to walk in until he had backup. Prof. Gates, jetlagged and recovering from some bug, may not have been thinking as sharply as he usually does or he would have grasped that.

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By MarthaA, July 27, 2009 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

Frank, Tony Wicher, and others,

Professor Gates was harassed and maligned the instant he was asked to step out of the house like a common criminal by this egocentric policeman who on dawning his uniform became just below God in POWER and AUTHORITY, so without just cause what so ever, accepted as criminal this one woman’s thinking that she may have seen something criminal happen, but wasn’t certain; and in Beverly Hills Cop style Crowley called down the whole police force on the professor and made a spectacle of the situation.  Policeman Crowley should be strongly reprimanded, as his ego is too high to see anything he did wrong.  The superiority complex that Crowley dawns when he puts the Police Uniform on is the cause of this situation, if he didn’t have such a superiority complex in his uniform, he would be able to see that he wasn’t objective with the Professor from the beginning, which caused the whole scenario. One must not forget that the Professor was in HIS home, which Crowley failed to respect in any way what so ever.

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By ThomasG, July 27, 2009 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

With regard to Professor Gates; it is my opinion that Professor Gates’ home is his castle; his sanctuary as in Old English Law. A consecrated place, which has certain privileges annexed to it, and to which Professor Gates must be able to resort for refuge without being harassed or arrested by law enforcement without duly executed and served process of law for just cause shown to judicial authority.

All issues of Class and Color are secondary to this standard, and are only relevant as issues separate and apart from the issue that law enforcement violated the sanctuary of Professor Gates home, and then arrested Professor Gates because Professor Gates was upset over the violation of his home as his sanctuary against unreasonable intrusion by law enforcement without due process of law.

If this type of heavy handed authority can be brought to bear by a nosy neighbor on Professor Gates, YOU may be next.  YOUR right to YOUR home being your sanctuary against unreasonable search and seizure by law enforcement is not secure, if Professor Gates’ right to unreasonable search, seizure, harassment, and arrest is not secure in his own home.

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By doublestandards/glasshoues, July 27, 2009 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

Tony W,
Your “narrative” about Obama is that he is God.  Try to get out of it if you can.  It’s getting stale and was never based on anything more than fantasy.

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By Cadaverdog, July 27, 2009 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: “The Hurt Locker” After seeing the film, I can understand why it isn’t doing better box office business: no story. Just a series of episodes of an adrenaline junkie, and how he puts the lives of others in danger to get his fix.
Too bad, because there is a lot to admire about the film, and Kathryn Bigelow is definitely a fine filmmaker, but they should have spent more time on the script if they wanted to reach a wider audience.

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By Tony Wicher, July 27, 2009 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

“I was cast by him [the policeman] in a narrative and he didn’t know how to get out of it.”

This may well be true. But it may also well be true that Gates cast the policeman into a “narrative” about white policemen and black people that Gates could not get out of. Moreover it is certainly true that most people lack the self-awareness to see their own “narrative”. That’s why mediators are a good thing and why it’s a good thing that the officer and the professor are going to sit down with Obama and talk about it over a beer.

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By rico, suave, July 27, 2009 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

I assume you spout your hysterical misinterpretation of this “narrative” from a victimological position within non-white skin.

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By ardee, July 27, 2009 at 3:33 am Link to this comment


I assume you spout your sanctimonious opinion of this narrative from the security of a white skin.

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By Frank, July 26, 2009 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

ardee, the door was damaged, according to Gates himself. This is in virtually every report, so what have you been reading?

CNN: “A statement by Gates’ lawyer and fellow Harvard professor Charles Ogletree said that the incident occurred when Gates returned to his home following a trip to China.

Gates, accompanied by a driver, found the front door damaged.

He entered the house with his key through the rear door. Then, he and and driver were able to force the front door open, Ogletree said in his statement.”

This incident should have proceeded as follows:

The officer states he is investigating a report of a possible break-in due to a phone call. Gates explains it is his home and his front door was just damaged. The cop asks for ID to verify Gates is the resident. Gates calmly shows ID. The cops confirms it is his residence, thanks him for his cooperation, and leaves. Gates in turn, thanks the officer for looking out for his property, and goes back inside. Incident over.

Except not. Why? Because Gates acted like an irrational asshole.  Instead of showing the cop respect and gratitude for doing his job, Gates calls him a racist, berates him, makes vague threats against his job.  The police officer warns him twice that his yelling is creating a disturbance and to stop. Gates continues, get arrested, takes no responsibility for it afterwards and blames it all on racism.  Of course. 

And sorry pal, the tired old excuses from that part of Black America that perpetually fails in society do not hold water any more. Obey the law, stay in school, WORK HARD and there is nothing holding you back from succeeding in this country, even becoming President. Drop out, join gangs, commit crimes, and you will fail because of your own actions.

Blaming society and racism for every failing, instead of accepting personally responsibility, is the main reason that real racism and resentment of some blacks still persists. And all of you vilifying this police officer for trying to do his job while holding Gates innocent in this affair are only perpetuating that.

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By ardee, July 26, 2009 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment

Frank, July 26 at 3:56 pm #

Folktruther,  the police didn’t go to Gate’s house to arrest him. They went there to investigate a report of a possible crime in progress. In other words, they went to do their job. At least learn a little about the case and before you spout off hysterically about it.

I assume you spout your sanctimonious opinion of this narrative from the security of a white skin.

Was Professor Gates over the top? Well good for him! For far too many years black men and women have been subjected to unequal justice and second class treatment. They are arrested far more often than their white counterparts, when sentenced they receive much harsher terms for the same crimes as whites, blacks live shorter lives than whites, by and large are less educated, earn less money, still have less opportunity than do whites.

Gates was in his own home, no reports said the door was damaged, or can you show otherwise? He identified himself , showed two pieces of ID and WAS STILL asked to step outside. Look at his damn picture and tell me if that man looked anything like a burglar? I ,for one, am glad Professor Gates ripped that honky cop a new rectum!

Your remarks are not atypical of the sheltered white man, Frank. You need to rethink your position.

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By GoyToy, July 26, 2009 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why has the race issue entered the Prof. Gates incident when we don’t have many of the “facts” regarding this incident? I wish the cops had not dropped the charge because then it would have gone to court and we would know more about what did or did happen.

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By Jean Gerard, July 26, 2009 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As Cambridge comes together to discuss racial profiling, it is to be hoped that the issue of force will come into the discussion.  The subject of force is at the root of many of our problems in this country—domination by money, class, military and corporate power haunt most of our lives and we do not talk about it, let alone try to change it.  Yet force without real moral authority and legal limitations inevitably leads to increasing intransigence.  Now we are at the point where our military technologists are actually discussing robotic warfare which will “project power without projecting vulnerabiity.”  That means total avoidance of responsibility for mass murder, when you stop to think about it.  Why don’t they think about it?  Because they are—we are—mesmerized by the use of force to solve all our problems. And that’s why at present we are pretty widely feared as the scourge of the world.

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By Frank, July 26, 2009 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther,  the police didn’t go to Gate’s house to arrest him. They went there to investigate a report of a possible crime in progress. In other words, they went to do their job. At least learn a little about the case and before you spout off hysterically about it.

Are you suggesting that the police should have ignored a phone call from a reported eye-witness about a possible break-in? I hope not, as that would make you sound silly.

Are you suggesting that that when police saw someone inside the house with a broken front door, where a possible break-in was just reported, that they should have just assumed, without ID verification,  that the person inside was the owner, rather than a possible intruder? I hope not, as that would make you sound silly.

Gates was not arrested for burglary, but for disorderly conduct due to his ridiculous over-reaction and verbal assault of a police officer who was just there doing his job.  The cop would have been wiser to just leave after confirming Gates ID, despite Gates verbal assault, but everything the officer reportedly did up to that point was entirely correct and justified. It was Gates acting like a spastic idiot that caused the whole mess in the first place.

At following link you can read the actual police report filed by the officer. If accurate, then it seems Gates is the one who owes the cop an apology for everything that happened up to the arrest. 3092gates3.html

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By ThatDeborahGirl, July 26, 2009 at 11:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I always wondered why there were no urban riots or disturbances under Bush—I suspected because everyone knew that Bush wouldn’t care and the blow-back would be amazing ...

The Cincinnati Riots happened while Bush was president (2001). And even with some of his biggest supporters and cronies here (Ken Blackwell, Steve “write ‘em in” Chabot, and that bitch Jean “Murtha is a coward” Schmidt”) the Bush administration was pin-drop silent on what happened here.

The blow-back here? The city is collapsing at an amazing rate as white flight trumps “urban pioneering” at an alarming rate. The city is progressive in it’s hiring of black women but black men have a hell of time finding employment. The city is still firmly in the grips of the same Sherriff Simon Leis (fondly known as Simon Legree) who has learned nothing about the lessons of racial profiling except to do more of it and extend their racism to our rapidly growing Hispanic and Indian communities.

They learned that in the end, no one cared. Black folks were blamed for showing their true “violent” colors and white folks ran scared. The power structure down to the judicial system supported the cops. The cop who shot Timothy Thomas was hired by another district not far from here.

The cops in Cincinnati acted stupidly then and the cops in Cambridge acted stupidly in the present day.

Any Black Man, USA.

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By doublestandards/glasshoues, July 26, 2009 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

Obama had all the information he needed.  Gates was arrested for being H W B.  As soon as he showed his ID the cop should have left the premises.

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By grclark, July 26, 2009 at 4:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While racism may be an issue in this case, racism is progressively declining. However, the larger issue, as others have alluded to is the rise of “the police state” in America. Those whose mission is to protect and serve citizens in their jurisdiction,subdued and arrested one of their citizens for verbally berating them. The lesson is clear,submit to those who wear the badge of the state. The logic of the police state is clear: we no longer serve the citizen,the citizen serves us. Even though the police acted properly in responding and investigating, they as public servants must be “big” enough to allow a harsh,and possibly unwarranted, verbal attack to roll off their shoulders. Regrettably,many law enforcement officers would have gone for the taser to punish the professor for having the audacity to lambast a policeman.

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By John, July 25, 2009 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr Gates also cast the cop in a narrative. I drive a bus in a large city. 80% of the disruptive behavior that occurs on my bus routes-refusal to pay a fare, throwing garbage on the floor, playing loud music, using loud profanity is done by African Americans. The two times I have been assaulted (both times for asking individuals who were starting fights to get off the bus) and virtually every time I have been threatened with assault have been by African Americans. 

So yeah, when I pull up to a bus stop and a bunch of African Americans are standing there in their thug clothing spitting on the sidewalk and they’re talking motherfucka this and nigga that I’m writing a narrative too. A narrative based on experience.

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By Folktruther, July 25, 2009 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

It’s ominous that such a large fraction of the American population take the side of the cop when he invaded a African-American home to arrest the resident.  You would expect ziofascists like Sepharad to claim that Gates was being uppity and the policeman wasn’t racist, but most of Boston and commenters here, and those of the Boston Globe?

there simply hasn’t yet developed the notion that if they come for the Blacks, then they will come for the Browns, then the Reds and Yellows.  Then the Whites.  The American people have a long way to go.

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By Nola, July 25, 2009 at 6:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


A public figure, especially the President of the USA, should never in any circumstance make a comment about an incident where he has limited information at the time. (Black and White are not the issue once again). That was the only stupid move made. Now we know why he needs a teleprompter to go to the bathroom…. He has the inability to know what to say when. Gates was paranoid, scared and lost his cool, the copy was doing his job as it appears at this point, and Obama jumped in and started mouthing off taking the side of his buddy while insulting the police force. He insulted every civil worker in this nation at that moment. Those words will be remembered. You cannot take back words but you can offer a sincere apology. Or you can offer an insincere apology to save your next term. Let’s see which one comes first.

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By Howie Bledsoe, July 25, 2009 at 4:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The media has taken, yet again, another irrelevant issue and run with it.  Obviously most black americans are weary of the police, and most police are heavy handed. It is the cops job to investigate a break-in.
Mr. Gates should have been a little more understanding of that issue and complied. I wonder how many Pakistani kids got blown up while I typed this….?

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By SusanSunflower, July 24, 2009 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment

No one seems to appreciate that Gates apparently perceived his treatment as resulting from “racial profiling” and—that his perceptions did not reflect reality—but a misinterpretation in the heat of the moment?

He did not understand why he was being spoken to so gruffly, as a suspect in a burglary, which (being the resident of 17 years and a long list of reasons dress, cane, speech, demeanor) seemed uncalled for. He felt he was being treated shabbily and wanted to file a complaint—he needed the badge number and couldn’t get it—the police report says the officer gave it vocally once or twice—was Gates in a position to write it down? Gates says he was never given the number—It’s a discrepancy between the stories. Hell, I won’t rehash the whole bloody thing ... but it’s not unreasonable or hateful for Gates to have perceived “racial profiling” when none existed ... he also was not in a position to “figure out” his error… no?

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By SusanSunflower, July 24, 2009 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

“He brought it on himself” seems to be the internet consensus on GATES ... “what did he expect, mouthing off to a policeman?”

And apparently it is now considered racist to complaint about racism ... or to suggest that a cop might be using racial profiling unless—I guess—you can prove it (on an individual basis this would be accomplished how?—cops travel in pairs like nuns, victims of harassment are often solo or in groups of their own—other—kind and hence deemed less credible, hmmmm)

Very depressing week.

I think part of the Bush-Years fallout when race and poverty disappeared from the national agenda so white folks got to pretty much forget about black folk until Obama made us all feel so good about American ... blah, blah, blah.

I always wondered why there were no urban riots or disturbances under Bush—I suspected because everyone knew that Bush wouldn’t care and the blow-back would be amazing ... I feared having a black president would sugarcoat or white wash the problems of race, poverty, the prison industrial warehousing “solution” and the inner city ... I was hoping I was just being cynical -0- sad to find like minds here.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, July 24, 2009 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why don’t they have black cops teaching recruits how to avoid racial profiling?  They will put a nice gloss on this because Gates is a Harvard professor, but it happens to thousands of black men everyday and we never hear about it.

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By Sepharad, July 24, 2009 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

Re “The Hurt Locker”—great film, maybe the most accurate portrayal of Iraq yet.

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By Sepharad, July 24, 2009 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment

I’m very interested in the outcome of the Obama Whitehouse meeting with Crowley and Gates. An AP story in our local paper says Crowley was hand-picked by a black police commissioner to teach recruits about avoiding racial profiling. Both his black and white colleagues say that he’s no racist. One added “If people are looking for a guy who’s abusive or arrogant, they got the wrong guy. If every cop in the world were like him, it would be a better place.”

Some cops are racist, some are brutes who crack heads without regard to race, some are both; others are truly the good guys. I’ve had good and bad experiences with cops in varying situations and what it comes down to is that like everyone else each cop is an individual. How is regarding all cops as “pigs” and “racists” any different from any other kind of profiling? How different for any fascist behavior? All Arabs or Jews or Christians or atheists are (fill in the blank). If you do with any degree of certainty about anything but that all are human beings, you might as well find the local brownshirt supremacists and sign up.

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By hippie4ever, July 24, 2009 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

Oh, police are geniuses, didn’t you know? They’re never wrong, but you are—and besides they’re the ones who collect the evidence, and they have a “tough job” besides, and are “merely human” as well. 

It IS time consuming collecting all those bribes, including getting laid for free from the local prostitutes. Show The Man a little respect. Besides, we all know it was White People who “discovered” America and White People who built all of the buildings. Except those built by slaves; the White House and Congress for example. And the plantation houses. And the rails (thanks Chinese and Irish—no, just thanks to the Irish because they’re White People too!). And the freeways and roads (thanks!—No, no thanks, you illegal immigrants—go back to where you came from!)

More media obstructionism. Rather than focusing on racial profiling, the media blames the victims for being reverse-racist against the poor, endangered white male in a position of authority. Poor white babies: their egos are so sensitive; their positions running roughshod over entire populations—such hard work!

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By Folktruther, July 24, 2009 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

Double standards is quite right.  Obama was put in office by the power structure to put a black face on US foreign policy.  But he is there to lecture blacks not the police who keep the uppity population in line.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, July 24, 2009 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

NY Times: Watch it there, black boy.  Don’t be criticizing white folk or we’ll be taking the job away from you.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, July 24, 2009 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If a black cop had attempted to arrest a white Harvard professor in his own home, the professor would have shot the cop and an all white jury would have acquitted him.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, July 24, 2009 at 2:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama is expected to lecture blacks on proper behavior not whites.  He crossed a line when he called a white cop stupid.  Nothing wrong with calling blacks stupid and irresponsible but he better not be saying that about white people.  Did he really expect to get through four years in office without being confronted with this issue.  He brought it on himself.

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