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Race, Class, and Professor Henry Louis Gate’s Ordeal

I read the police report of the middle class officer who arrested the upper class distinguished Harvard Prof; in it he describes Gates as angry and belligerent. The decision to arrest Gates seems to have happened as a crowd gathered and the officer felt, for lack of a better word, punked by a shouting black man. However, a reliable source who knows the Cambridge police department wells says that the Gate’s incident is maligning a very good department that does not tolerate racism among its officers and has several high ranking black police officers. The source also says few are criticizing Gate’s loss of decorum to the point of shouting that the officer was racist. In a post arrest interview Gates says that he was shouting trying to get plain clothes officer Sgt Joseph Crowley to give him his name and badge number which is a right of any citizen. But officer Crowley refused, turning his back on him and walking out of Gate’s house. He says he shouted to get the information from the other officers on the scene on the porch. At charges that Gates was shouting racist comments at Crowley he says, look I am “56% white, my father is 72% white, my wife is 100% white and my children are 50%” so those charges are ridiculous. Gates says that the incident made him even more aware of the indignities that people suffer at the hands of the few bad police officers. Imagine how a bad cop treats lower class black folks. Check out the interview gates did with his daughter after the event and other related links below:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-07-22/my-daddy-the-jailbird/3/

http://www.npr.org/blogs/tellmemore/2009/07/racial_profiling_goes_high_pro.html

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106860000

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/07/21/massachusetts.harvard.professor.arrested/

Part 3 Series on Latin American Food History