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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dr. Henry L. Gates Arrested in His Own Home? Are There 2 Sides To This? Let's Investigate...

Sometimes I really try not to be the voice of moderation but it just seems to be unavoidable. Case in point-the arrest of esteemed Harvard academic, Henry Louis "Skip" Gates. We have made overtures to Dr. Gates to come in for an Afronerd Radio interview as I thought his work on unraveling the mystery of African-American genealogy is not only necessary but commendable. I always suspected that he was more on the progressive side of the political aisle but I have forever remained focused on his more scholarly efforts. I'm not sure of what to make of his arrest for what essentially appears to be a grave misunderstanding. Was it a case of celebrity hubris on his part? Or are we talking about overzealous law enforcement. I believe the truth lies squarely in the center. But don't take my word for it.....let's see what the Washington Examiner denotes:

BOSTON – Supporters of a prominent Harvard University black scholar who was arrested at his own home by police responding to a report of a break-in say he is the victim of racial profiling.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. had forced his way through the front door of his home because it was jammed, his lawyer said Monday.

Cambridge police say they responded to the well-maintained two-story home near campus after a woman reported seeing "two black males with backpacks on the porch," with one "wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry."

By the time police arrived, Gates was already inside. Police say he refused to come outside to speak with an officer, who told him he was investigating a report of a break-in.

"Why, because I'm a black man in America?" Gates said, according to a police report written by Sgt. James Crowley. The Cambridge police refused to comment on the arrest Monday.

Gates — the director of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research — initially refused to show the officer his identification, but then gave him a Harvard University ID card, according to police.

"Gates continued to yell at me, accusing me of racial bias and continued to tell me that I had not heard the last of him," the officer wrote.

The operative word, folks is compliance. This is not to say that the police were above board either but depending on whose side you believe, if Dr. Gates remained calm and just complied, perhaps this would have been chalked up as a minor inconvenience. And then of course, there are the racist commenters in related articles adding grease to the kitchen fire. Fortunately, it appears charges against Dr. Gates have been dropped:

Report: Charges Dropped Against Henry Louis Gates

Again folks.....what's the deal, here? Let us know what you think but rest assured, this will be a topic for Sunday's show.

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