Was Arrest Of Henry Louis Gates An Act Of Stupidity?

The furor surrounding the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates in his own home is still causing ripples after President Barack Obama made clear he regarded the entire episode as an example of stupidity. Sergeant James Crowley, the white policeman who was summoned to the home of Professor Gates after receiving a complaint about a break-in, insists he acted properly and the president had no right to term his actions stupid. He thought it was incorrect for the president to wade “into what should be a local issue.” Supporters of Crowley argue Gates was responsible for his own arrest by overreacting.

The president’s words are very clear concerning the matter. “I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry. Number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And number three– what I think we know separate and apart from this incident– is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately and that’s just a fact.”

The bottom line is–who believes if Gates was a white man in his sixties and opened the door, showed an ID and explained the situation that he would have been arrested? If he had been white, the police officer would have laughed with Gates and waved goodbye. A few months ago I reported a burglary and a police officer came to my door. I am a white haired man of 78. He never asked for an ID as proof that it was my apartment. I told him someone stole my wallet while I was downstairs working at my computer. He gently had me sit in a chair, rummaged around my paper strewn table and found the wallet. He smiled at me and said goodbye. That’s what happens when one is white skinned and in their seventies.


  • Preston

    This professor, from what I have seen, has always had a chip on his shoulder towards white people. He would love to make the slavery issue TOTALLY the white peoples’ burden; and ignor the historical fact, that it was, and is, the black African culture that initially and PRIMARILY cultivated the racially organized slavery era. The blacks basically did it to themselves (just look at how they’re into ‘personality’ and ‘idol’ worship). But “the good professor” could never admit to that; otherwise how could he continue his ‘upperly mobile’ lifestyle… The proud ancestor of a house bleep-er.