Thursday, July 23, 2009

Comedy of Errors Turns into a National Cause Célèbre

By Janet Crain

This was an unfortunate incident that has been blown completely out of proportion by the celebrity of the person involved and the POTUS making such a statement on public television. Has any other POTUS ever said or done any thing like this?

I can just imagine Professor Gates' rage if he had returned home and found his home robbed by two men of any color because the local police were not doing their job. For that matter the officials at Harvard would have been outraged and calling for heads to roll. Professor Gates who has done some outstanding genealogy and DNA shows for television now finds it hilarious that he was described as a large black man. Why can't he cool it and admit the whole thing was hilarious; a comedy of errors. He should thank the policemen who responded and did their jobs.

Obama Says Officer 'Acted Stupidly' in Arrest of Skip Gates

Given President Barack Obama's reluctance to dwell on the issue of race in America, it was a surprise to hear the president's forceful comments on last week's controversial arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Root's editor-in-chief.

Bill Cosby told a radio host today that he was "shocked" at Obama's attack

CSMonitor reported:

On a Boston radio program this morning, Bill Cosby suggested that President Obama spoke too soon on the controversial arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates.

“I’ve heard about five different reports [on the details of the arrest],” Cosby said on Boston’s WZLX. “If I’m the president of the United States, I don’t care how much pressure people want to put on it about race, I’m keeping my mouth shut.”

“I was shocked to hear the president making this kind of statement,” Cosby said referring to the president’s remarks during last night’s press conference.

Gates describes incident:

TR: Can you describe, in your own words, what went on in and outside of your home? When did you suspect you were the victim of racial profiling?

HLG: I just finished making my new documentary series for PBS called “Faces of America.” It was a glorious week in Shanghai and Ningbo and Beijing, and on my trip, I took my daughter along. After we finished working in Ningbo we went to Beijing and had three glorious days as tourists. It was great fun.

We flew back on a direct flight from Beijing to Newark. We arrived on Wednesday, and on Thursday I flew back to Cambridge. I was using my regular driver and my regular car service. And went to my home arriving at about 12:30 in the afternoon. My driver and I carried several bags up to the porch, and we fiddled with the door and it was jammed. I thought, well, maybe the door’s latched. So I walked back to the kitchen porch, unlocked the door and came into the house. And I unlatched the door, but it was still jammed.

My driver is a large black man. But from afar you and I would not have seen he was black. He has black hair and was dressed in a two-piece black suit, and I was dressed in a navy blue blazer with gray trousers and, you know, my shoes. 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.) I’m not exactly a big black man. I thought that was hilarious when I found that out, which was yesterday.

It looked like someone’s footprint was there. So it’s possible that the door had been jimmied, that someone had tried to get in while I was in China. But for whatever reason, the lock was damaged. My driver hit the door with his shoulder and the door popped open. But the lock was permanently disfigured. My home is owned by Harvard University, and so any kind of repair work that’s needed, Harvard will come and do it. I called this person, and she was, in fact, on the line while all of this was going on.


© Janet Crain

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