I am posting my response to David G. Markham's blog post titled 'Standing On The Side Of Love - Racial Profiling And Discrimination' here since I had some "technical problems" posting it on his UU A Way Of Life blog. Hopefully I will be able to post it there a bit later.
The world would be a better place if Henry Louis Gates Jr. could (have) overcome *his* irrational fears of white police officers, and whites more generally, and Stand On The Side Of Love for an Irish American cop who was trying to do his job. Yes, there is such a thing as racial profiling, but what happened in this particular case cannot be properly described as racial profiling. Henry Louis Gates had virtually no grounds to play the race card in the manner that he played it starting almost immediately after Sgt. Crowley appeared on his porch. Read Gates' self-serving "interview" in The Root webzine, of which he is the editor-in-chief, and I expect that you will see a deeply insecure man who overcompensates for his insecurity with arrogance and self-importance. At least that's what I saw. . . Feel free to enter into a free and responsible search for the truth and meaning of what *really* happened by reading, watching, and listening to both sides of the story. All things considered Sgt. James Crowley comes across as a stand-up guy who handled an unnecessarily difficult situation quite professionally, while professor Gates comes across as what we both call an idiot, and a pompous self-important idiot at that. . .
Believe me I have not made this judgment call lightly, and would have been very happy if Occam's Zweihänder had come down in favor of professor Gates, but it didn't. This incident is about privilege and class every bit as much as much as racism, indeed significantly more so AFAIAC, and the main way racism is involved, as far as I can see, is Henry Louis Gates' own internalized assumptions and prejudices that are too quick to jump to the conclusion that white people are acting out of racist motivations. This is very clear from Gates' own testimony following this incident, if not things that he has said and written prior to it. Please enter into a free and responsible search for the full truth and meaning of what happened here by comparing Gates' version of events with Crowleys's version of events and you will see that it was Gates, not Crowley, who was "so shocked" that a Cambridge policeman would show up to responsibly investigate a reported break-in within minutes of him trying to force an entry into his rented home with the help of his limo driver.
Yes, we do have a long way to go David, but it is people like Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. who cry "racist" at the top of their lungs, when there is little or no reason to do so, who make the way towards healing and wholeness all that much longer. I am hoping that Gates will come to realize and more importantly, responsibly acknowledge, the major role that his own insecurities, fears, and prejudices played in creating this situation. If he does so, considerable progress towards national healing may be made by working together with Sgt. Crowley, who teaches classes about racial profiling after all. . . If however Henry Gates continues to insist that Sgt. Crowley's actions were motivated by racism, when there is little or no evidence supporting that accusation, then he will not be helping to heal the national wound that *he* largely contributed to unceremoniously ripping the scab off. So I sincerely hope that Henry Louis Gates really meant it when he said -
"I'm deeply resolved to do and say the right things so that this cannot happen again."
and I call upon him to say and do the right thing by taking full responsibility for his own role in this national scandal and apologizing to Sgt. James Crowley for smearing him as a racist "rogue policeman".
Getting back home - Unitarian Universalism has a bit of a mystical tradition in its identification with the transcendentalists. Some UUs turn to them for inspiration and dire...
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