Tag Archives: racial profiling

DO INTELLIGENT PEOPLE MAKE STUPID MISTAKES?

The air these days is filled with loud angry statements by those who defend Sgt. Crowley against what is viewed as a slur upon his name. The assumption of these defenders is that President Obama called Sgt. Crowley “stupid.” Actually, he never did, he referred to the arrest as an example of “stupidity.” I am often bemused at the virulent anger displayed by defenders of Crowley. During the initial days of their defense many challenged those attacking the police officer to check his report and tapes. Well, many have checked his report and the tapes. It is now PROVEN that Sgt. Crowley made a “mistake” by saying the eye witness said there were two black men with knapsacks on the porch. Ms. Whalen’s said there were two suitcases and under questioning said one of them might have been “Hispanic.” In other words, the Crowley report is erroneous.

Did Sgt. Crowly lie? Of course not! He was excited, felt stress and heard words never spoken. Anyone reading my words has suffered through many such occurrences in their own lives. In moments of stress we hear what we want to hear. In so doing, WE MAKE A MISTAKE. Wow. Sgt. Crowley is a human. I thought it was regrettable during his meeting with Gates he failed to acknowledge his mistakes in the written report.

The bottom line is that President Obama was perfectly correct in terming the entire incident an example of “stupidity.” Sorry, if this incident happened in a wealthy neighborhood and the man identified himself as the white CEO of a major company, Sgt. Crowley would have said: “sorry for the intrusion. I just wanted to check everything was OK. Have a good one” and gone his merry way.

Every study of police halting people indicates African Americans and Hispanics are halted at least ten times more frequently than white people. Gates belonged to a group who have, historically, been racially profiled and humiliated. He was upset, angry, confused, and ready to strike back at what he thought was another example of racial profiling. Perfectly understandable, and, perhaps, in this case incorrect. No one knows what was going on in the mind of Sgt. Crowley, but certainly when a black elderly man identified himself as the owner of the house, regardless of his tone of voice, the matter should have been dropped.

Those of you who seek to blame Obama as insulting all police might seek to ask Sgt. Crowley whether he unintentionally was insulting all African Americans.

RACIAL PROFILING–ARREST OF HENRY LOUIS GATES!

He had just returned from a trip overseas during which time he had spoken to outstanding scholars and leaders of the world. He was tired, and his driver helped carry the bags up to the porch of his house. He inserted the key in his door and attempted to open it, but the door was jammed and he pushed hard in order to try getting it open. A “neighbor” saw him on the porch trying to get the jammed door to open, and, naturally, she called the police. After all, there were two African American males standing on a porch in the up scale city of Cambridge, Massachusetts and what other motive could they possess other than breaking and entering. The police arrived and confronted the two suspects. One of them produced his driver’s license which indicated this was his house. But, he was a black man and no right thinking police officer could merely accept his word. A shouting episode ensued and the man was handcuffed and taken to jail.

This is America in the year of Barack Obama just having been elected and Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., among the world’s top experts in African American studies is arrested on THE FRONT PORCH OF HIS OWN HOUSE!! For some reason he became upset because police challenged his right to be on his own front porch trying to get open a recalcitrant door.

The more important question to pose is why did a “neighbor” not recognize this world famous man? Don’t you think if someone lived on the same block with among the world’s greatest scholars they would at least be able to recognize this individual?

This is an example of racial profiling. It is necessary for the Justice Department to conduct a thorough investigation and bring charges against police officers who subjected Henry Louis Gates to this indignity.

The more serious issue is what would have happened if his name was not Henry Louis Gates and he did not teach at Harvard? Would he have been released so quickly?