Saturday, 25 July 2009

Is Henry Louis Gates Jr. A Liar Or Delusional When He Claims That He Doesn't Go Around Calling White People Racists?

Because it pretty much has to be one or the other, although it *could* be both I suppose.

Then again maybe he's just dreaming in Technicolor or something. . .

According to this Soundbytes Of The Week audio timeline, courtesy of WBZ News Radio 1030 in Boston, on Tuesday (presumably Tuesday July 21, 2009) Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. said -

"I don't go around calling white people racists, hell first of all I'm half-white myself."

Contrast this recorded public statement with the following quotes from the "interview" of professor Gates entitled 'Skip Gates Speaks' and sub-titled 'The Root's Editor-in-Chief Henry Louis Gates Jr. talks about his arrest and the outrage of racial profiling in America' that was published in The Root webzine on Tuesday July 21, 2009 at 5:34 PM -

"And I love that the 911 report said that two big black men were trying to break in with backpacks on. Now that is the worst racial profiling I’ve ever heard of in my life." (Laughs.)

"Now it’s clear that he had a narrative in his head: A black man was inside someone’s house, probably a white person’s house, and this black man had broken and entered, and this black man was me."

"And I said I want your name and your badge number because I want to file a complaint because of the way he had treated me at the front door. He didn’t say, ‘Excuse me, sir, is there a disturbance here, is this your house?’ — he demanded that I step out on the porch, and I don’t think he would have done that if I was a white person."

"And then I said, ‘You’re not responding because I’m a black man, and you’re a white officer.’ That’s what I said."

"A crowd had gathered, and as they were handcuffing me and walking me out to the car, I said, ‘Is this how you treat a black man in America?’"

In response to the following question - "How has this resonated within the academic community at Harvard? I know that Larry Bobo and Charles Ogletree, also black men, have expressed dismay. President Barack Obama has talked about how difficult it is to hail a cab, even as an elected official. Is there an irony to your notoriety and the incident?"

Henry Louis Gates replied - "There is such a level of outrage that’s been expressed to me. I’ve received thousands of e-mails and Facebook messages; the blogs are going crazy; my colleagues at Harvard are outraged. Allen Counter called me from the Nobel Institute in Stockholm to express his outrage. But really it’s not about me — it’s that anybody black can be treated this way, just arbitrarily arrested out of spite. And the man who arrested me did it out of spite, because he knew I was going to file a report because of his behavior.

He didn’t follow proper police procedure! You can’t just presume I’m guilty and arrest me. He’s supposed to ask me if I need help. He just presumed that I was guilty, and he presumed that I was guilty because I was black. There was no doubt about that."

In response to the question - "What do you make of the suspicious neighbor who called the police with an erroneous report of “two black men” trying to enter your apartment? Was this neighborhood watch gone wrong?"

Henry Louis Gates said -

"I don’t know this person, and I’m sure that she thought she was doing the right thing. If I was on Martha’s Vineyard like I am now and someone was trying to break into my house, I would hope that someone called the police and that they would respond."

but then went on to say -

"But I would hope that the police wouldn’t arrest the first black man that they saw — especially after that person gives them an ID — and not rely on some trumped-up charge, which is what this man was doing."

In response to the question - "The charges have been dropped. What are your plans for legal action against the city of Cambridge, its police department or the individual officer?"

Henri Louis Gates Jr. answers - "I’ll be meeting with my legal team, and we will be deciding what kind of legal action I should take. I haven’t made the decision yet. But I am determined that this experience, my experience, as horrendous as it was and as outrageous as it was, be used for the larger good of the black community. There are 1 million black men in the prison system, and on Thursday I became one of them. I would sooner have believed the sky was going to fall from the heavens than I would have believed this could happen to me. It shouldn’t have happened to me, and it shouldn’t happen to anyone. . . As a college professor, I want to make this a teaching experience. I am going to devote my considerable resources, intellectual and otherwise, to making sure this doesn’t happen again. I’m thinking about making a documentary film about racial profiling, and I’m in talks with PBS about that.

(Editor's note: Well now that Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley are drinking buddies, and Sgt. Crowley teaches a course on racial profiling, maybe they can work on that documentary film about racial profiling together!)

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