Friday, July 24, 2009

Racism? Not Hardly

I talked yesterday about the Harvard professor arrest incident with my friend the Atlanta cop who I'd not seen since the story hit the news.

My words: "He (the professor) was an academic asshole." As we dissected, I said something along the lines of you don't push people with guns, you don't give a cop a hard time, until the right time, even if you're right.

There are people, black and white, that have an edge to them, the "victim" here is one of them. He did nothing wrong other than looking for a confrontation, which he got.

He isn’t any different than a woman my friend had to deal with a couple of weeks ago. He has to work a side job or two or three to stay above the lower middle-class and was working a concert. A baby-boomer, upper middle class white woman, who wanted to leave the venue to get something from her car, was giving a private security guy a hard time (the venue had a “no in and out” policy) and my friend wandered over. He listened to her berate the guy for a while and then started to try to talk her down. She was having none of it. Was he a Gestapo officer, did he have some sort of agenda against peaceful people that just wanted to exercise their Constitutional rights? (not that any were in question) And on and on. He perhaps had a bit more Southern charm than the Cambridge cop in dealing with the asshole Southern Belle, she didn’t get arrested, but she came close. She stalked away muttering.

Cops don’t like to arrest people, they go out of their way not to arrest people, especially for minor stuff. They put up with incredible abuse. Are there cops that are racist? Sure, but there are also some people like the professor and the belle that have an anti-authority chip on their shoulder; and, I think the chips are what caused the problem in both incidents.


Jim Donahue said...

The analogy is a stretch, I think. Gates was arrested in his home after showing his driver's license and Harvard ID. I don't care how big an asshole Gates was being, the cop should have backed off at that point.

Jim Donahue said...

Also, comparing "a baby-boomer, upper middle class white woman" who's being difficult in a public venue with a 70-ish black man who, undoubtedly, has had to deal with the day-in, day-out of racism on a regular basis getting angry when accused of breaking into his own home? Really?

Lifehiker said...

Jim Donahue, I appreciate your anti-racism perspective, but I think you've got a poor handle on the facts.

I'm with Dave. Gates bears most of the responsibility for this unfortunate dust-up, and I'll bet that when the full story emerges you will agree. So, we shall see, won't we?

Dr Jenn said...

i think that it was prearranged by both parties in a vain attempt to meet the president over a beer

Jay said...

I am with Dave and our friend the cop. I believe that anyone who takes the position in support of the professor should be allowed (as in required) to do a week long ride along with a cop. Seeing first hand the way they deal with folks every day. Most people have no idea how much restraint cops exhibit daily.

I believe based on recently played tapes of Dr Gates speeches reveals that he was looking for an argument. The cop was there to protect his property. He should have shown appreciation - not disdain. There is a scene in the Big Chill where the William Hurt character is complaining about the cop that pulled him over and Kevin Cline tells him to show some respect because that same cop 'twice prevented' break-in at the house. Good advice.