Opinion: Race-Schism

A couple weeks ago, a white police sergeant arrested renowned black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his own home. An outraged Gates blamed his arrest on the fact that he was “a black man in America.”

Gates, a Harvard African American Studies professor had trouble getting into his house and had to force his door open. A neighbor called the police and a few minutes later, Sergeant James Crowley arrived on the scene and arrested Gates, ignoring the identification that the professor offered him.

The charges of disorderly conduct have since been dropped, but the charges of racism have not.

With Gates refusing to let it drop, the incident has snowballed onto the front pages of national news and became an avalanche after Obama said “the Cambridge police acted stupidly.”

When the first African American president of the United States openly admitted that “there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement”—pretty much saying there is still racism, only one thing can ensue: bedlam.

With Crowley now the poster boy for racism in America, people are doubting the credibility of the police force and completely jumping to conclusions.

Well, to assume makes an “a-s” out of “u”, “me”, and in this case, our country.

If anybody bothered to look up Crowley’s police profile, they would know that he performed CPR on former Boston Celtics player Reggie Lewis at Brandeis University in July 1993.

Yes, trying to save a black man’s life—very racist. Also, on the eve of the Gates incident, Crowley received “full and unqualified” support from his entire force, which includes both black and white officers.

Gates blamed his arrest on racism, but maybe he should put himself in Crowley’s shoes. A woman reported a burglary and the sergeant just did his job.

Instead of focusing on the fact that a BLACK man was breaking into a house, Gates should shift his focus to the fact that a man was BREAKING into a house. The police will treat any person caught doing that, whether he or she is white, black, or purple, the same way.

What’s ironic is that while Gates is out accusing the police of having a bias towards African Americans, he, himself, is demanding a double standard.

Yes, he was arrested wrongfully, but thousands of people are every year, and you don’t see them demanding an apology on national television. He spun what started out as a burglary report into an issue of race.

Maybe the only victim of racism in this scenario is Crowley.


This opinion was written by Christine Keung. The views of this author do not reflect the views of the Temple City Voice or its staff. It was published on August 7, 2009.


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