Obama, Gates, and Race

I wanted to comment on the story of Professor Gates even before President Obama stepped in, but after the President’s recent comments I simply could not hold back any longer.

July 16th, 2009: Professor Gates Arrested

Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr is a Harvard professor at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Studies where he teaches African-American history. He is black.

Police Sgt James Crowley is an Cambridge, MA police officer who was handpicked 5 years ago to teach the department’s diversity training class. He has taught the class – called “Racial Profiling” – ever since. He is white.

These two men met when Mr. Gates returned to his home after a trip to Africa. He found that the door to his Cambridge house had become stuck. Calling on his chauffeur for assistance, he proceeded to force entry.

A concerned neighbor did not realize this was Mr. Gates breaking into his own home and called the police. Crowley and his partner were the officers who responded. By the time they arrived Gates was already inside the house.

According to Gates’s lawyer – fellow Harvard professor Charles Ogletree – Crowley asked Gates to step outside the home without allowing Gates to explain what was going on. Gates tried to explain that he lived in the house, but Crowly insisted he step outside. When Gates asked Crowley who he was, the officer responded by asking for Gates’s ID and subsequently arrested him for disorderly conduct even though the ID proved he lived in the house – a clear case of racism. (NPR)

Of course Sgt. Crowley’s account is considerably different. According to him Gates was verbally abusive, insulted his mother, called him a racist, and refused to cooperate with his simple requests. If only there had been a third witness!

As it turns out, there were several additional witnesses. When Gates followed Crowley outside there were at least two other officers there already – Figueroa and Lashley (who is black). Both Figueroa’s official report (linked from NPR) and Lashley’s statements (Courant.com) back Crowley up completely.

According to all three of them the reason that Crowley asked Gates to step outside was that he was yelling at Crowley so loudly it was hard for Crowley to communicate with dispatch on his radio. In addition to calling Crowley racist, he also shouted things like “You don’t know who you’re dealing with!” and “You haven’t heard the last of me!” and even brought up Crowley’s “mama”. (Bloomberg)

Racial Profiling

Gates claims this is an example of racial profiling. Clearly it is not. If you see someone attempting to break down the door of your neighbor’s house you are probably going to assume it’s a break-in. Especially if your neighbor has been away for an extended period of time. How is race a factor? If you are a police officer responding to a reported break-in and you find a man inside the home with the door obviously damaged you are going to ask for identification. How is race a factor? If the man yells at you so loudly that you need to go outside to talk on your radio you are going to ask him to come outside with you. How is race a factor?

Race has been a factor in only one way in this story. By playing the race card and relying on his fame Gates got the charges against him dropped without a fight. If a middle-class white man had behaved the way Gates had behaved he would be headed for trial.

I am tired of the complaints about how black men are treated by police in relation to this case. This may be a real problem, but that is not what is going on here. Someone should explain to Professor Gates that even white men are taught that its your responsibility to be respectful of police officers and to obey immediately all of their lawful requests. Nothing Crowley requested was unusual, unlawful, or in any way racially motivated.

July 22nd, 2009: President Obama Weighs In

According to a HuffPo piece, Obama and Gates know each other. Maybe that explains why President Obama apparently forgot he was president when responding to a question about the Gates incident at a press conference. He stated that the Cambridge Police had “acted stupidly”. Not only is this an ignorant and unpresidential statement, but it was also politically stupid. Police are like nurses, teachers, and firefighters: when you go after them politically they have the means to put up a serious fight. Even against a president.

And the Cambridge Police Department – from the top down – has decided not to roll over and play dead for President Obama. Instead of hanging Crowley out to dry, they are backing him 100%.

Dennis O’Connor is the president of the Cambridge Police Superior Officers Association. He responded to Obama’s comments by calling them “misdirected” and further stated that Cambridge police “deeply resent the implication” that Gate’s arrest was based on his race. He went on to call for an apology from the President. (Courant.com)

Alan McDonald is a police union attorney. He called the president “dead wrong” and stated that “Had professor Gates simply cooperated… [Crowley] could have cleared the matter” (NPR)

Lessons Learned

The two quotes above are just a sampling of the pushback that Obama received. As the news story continued to gain momentum he realized that he needed to do something, but for a man of Obama’s ego apology is never an option. And so he called Crowley and then called him “an outstanding police officer and a good man”. (Chicago Tribune) So far so good. But then he went on:

And because this has been ratcheting up — and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up… I want to make clear that, in my choice of words, I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sgt. Crowley specifically — and I could have calibrated those words differently. And I told this to Sgt. Crowley.

In what Orwellian universe does it make sense to try and argue that saying an entire organization “acted stupidly” isn’t maligning them? That’s what it means to malign: “speak unfavorably about”. (Princeton.edu)

Then Obama called the entire incident a “teachable moment” in his trademark patronizing tone. The one who has a lesson to learn here more than anyone else is President Obama. And the lesson is this: you’re not everyone’s idea of a divine Messiah. There are still plenty of Americans out there who believe in doing their job, and who will not fall on their swords because you put your foot in your mouth. Even the unions are against Obama on this one!

Next up is Gates. Professor Gates needs to learn that all Americans (not just the black ones) are expected to treat police officers with respect while those officers are doing their duty. Responding to things like break-ins in progress is not as safe as lecturing from within Harvard’s ivory tower. Gates can spew on and on about the injustice as long as he likes, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s not sacrificing anything. This is cheap, shallow outrage. Meanwhile officers like Crowley, Figueroa, and Lashley continue to risk their lives in the line of duty while putting up with childish nonsense like Gates’s. If anyone has a right to be outraged, it is them.

And finally comes Crowley who, I hope, has learned the best lesson of all. Sometimes the race card doesn’t work, and sometimes your fellow officers and even superiors will stand tall to protect you from vicious and untruthful allegations. Even against the Messiah himself.

And that’s not such a bad lesson to learn after all.

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Comments

  1. RESPECT THE THIN BLUE LINE says:

    Excellent Robert. Spot on! This could have ended up a thankful and chuckling moment on that lawn, but the 'Professor' saw to it that that didn't happen.

  2. Dee says:

    Thanks Robert for commenting on this. I feel that BO wants racism to continue while he is in office and he wants to create class warfare. There is no way that he wants this country united until "the white folks" pay their dues for all that happened to the "slaves". The professor should be thanking the police for watching over his home.

  3. Bruce says:

    If my neighbor called the cops because they saw me breaking into my house and the cops came, knocked on my door, and asked to see my ID I would gladly hand my ID over to the police officer, thank the officer, and then tell the officer, "Thank you very much and have a GREAT day! You and your fellow officers do Great work for the community!"

  4. Bodenzee says:

    My substantial disgust is directed at the Cambridge Mayor, Harvard University, the city or county's prosecutor and the police officials who orchestrated a pass for Gates.

    Gates should have had to answer the valid charge in court. This clearly is discrimination…discrimination directed at the rest of the nation that isn't "given" such privledge.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Before the Boston (all the news that's fit to censor)Globe scrubbed their website of the report, it was noted that the caller who reported the apparent break-in was another Harvard employee, who works just a few doors down from Gates in the same building as Gates. How did she NOT recognize him? Is this racism by another Harvard employee, assuming that this black man (Gates) did not belong there (can't she recognize her own neighbors in broad daylight?)

    OR

    Was this scripted in advance to create a race issue?

    Think about it..
    a distraction from the health care debacle….. Chairman Obamao was the most "animated" with the last question when asked about this… almost like it was scripted.

    Too bad it backfired when the Cambridge PD sent the officer who TEACHES officers in Massachusetts (not just in Cambridge) how to act properly, with respect so as NOT to racially profile.

    Yeah, it was just a coinkidink that Obama's friend and mentor, a black radical college professor, a caller who lives next door (who apparently doesn't recognize her neighbors and the timing as his "state run health care plan" gets delayed by the mark-up committee all happen this week.

    right…..

  6. Anonymous says:

    Returning from a trip to Africa… sounds like he would be much happier if he had just stayed there.

  7. T.I.M. says:

    According to a letter to the Chicago Tribune, the same house had been broken into earlier (which would give even more urgency to the case). And there's still the question of what address is on Gates' ID, since he rents the house from Harvard. Either Crowley forgot all of his trainings, he followed the Obama doctrine (act first, get all the facts later, or he did everything by the book, and got the book thrown at him by our "leader".

  8. Anonymous says:

    Great article! I couldn't agree more. It is like the race card is always used in situations like this. I understand their years of oppression but for crying out loud…LET IT GO!! Obama messed up big time for the open-mouth-insert-foot comment on the subject. Once again, he crossed the line to what his job title involves. Here is a great you tube to watch on racial profiling;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_aIvfFq3BA

  9. JEFF SCHREIBER says:

    This is even news here in POLAND. Even from four thousand miles away, Obama is looking like an idiot in the international press.

    I knew that, as soon as I had a moment to find a connection, I could count on Robert for an excellent take.

    Bravo.

    Slowly but surely, Obama's tight web of support is being unwound.

    – Jeff

  10. Gail B says:

    When the story first broke on the Internet, I read the entire police report linked to the article. There was also the witness who called the police from her cell phone, and she stayed and gave her account, too. There were no conflicting statements in the entire report by the officers and witness.

    You left out one observation–had the witness called and the Cambridge Police NOT come out, and it had been a real B&E, Gates would probably have pulled the race card anyway.

    This is not the first incident where Obama's leftist minions have cried "racist." The leftists do it to divide the country. You never hear of a white person using the race card. You hear a lot of us using the "That's not Constitutional" card, however, more and more frequently.

    I sent (I believe his name is) Richard Haas with the Cambridge PD an email about Sgt. Crowley. I am happy to read in your article that the CPD is not backing down from Obama and is standing behind Sgt. Crowley. Sgt. Crowley should get a promotion!

  11. Karla says:

    Gates should have readily given Crowley his identification and thanked Officer Crowley for putting his life on the line to protect Gates's property. When Officer Crowley responded to the call, he did not know if there were going to be armed intruders at the home that would not give a second thought to killing a police officer. Yet Officer Crowley was willing to respond to the call to protect a stranger's home. Gates lack of appreciation and arrogance just astounds me. I wouldn't be surprised if Gates acted that way intentionally once he saw the white police officer, just so he could sue and try to get a large sum of money from the police department. How easy it is for a black, or muslim, to get public apologies, promotions, and undeserved settlement money for playing the race card. I'm really tired of it…

  12. bellsybop says:

    Obama didn't even make an actual apology. He is too arrogant to admit any wrong. I bet Rev. Wright is proud of his fine young student. I'm looking forward to the next Rasmussen polls.

  13. goddessdivine says:

    Great writeup Robert. I am so sick of the race card…..and the disrespect shown to our officers who risk their lives to serve our communities. This Gates guy is an ignoramus.

  14. vsw39 says:

    When you have a half white Kenyan Muslim that is mentally challenged you end up with a statement that proves his ignorance. Now all that needs to be done is get him out of the office he pretends to hold and send him to prison for the crimes he has committed or deport him back to his country of birth.

  15. Teri~Facedown says:

    Great piece Robert! I don't comment often, but want you to know I've read all the posts here at Americas Right and have enjoyed your presence! Thanks for contributing to the voice of truth!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Intensifying racial conflict will be one of the tools that Obama will use to isolate any opposition to his policies. The recent article in the news section of the WSJ regarding the demographic breakdown of the'08 presidential election illustrates how powerful a tool this can be.

    As it turns out, "whites" were the only ethnic group that did not vote, for all practical purposes, as a block. As a result, the minortiy vote made the difference in many states. As long as Obama can keep the racial/ethnic tensions high, blacks and non-white Hispanics, along with Muslims, will vote more out of resentment than thoughtful evaluation of issues. If you noticed, during the campaign, and since, he uses inuendo and code words to inflame racial tensions.

    Obama's comments at the press conference were not accidental or a "poor choice of words" which he would like to "recalibrate". Those comments were a tactic used in support of a strategy.

    I'm afraid that we're in for a long seige of "payback" mentality, which only makes our job more difficult. But what more can you expect of an acolyte of Dr. Jeremiah Wright and a student of James Cone?

    Old Bob

  17. Lilly says:

    Robert-
    I couldn't have said it any better. For a man that is suppose to bring the country together and race shouldn't be an issue anymore, I've never seen it more divided in my life time. And it's all coming from BO and some blacks. Amazing is that people (libs) do not see through his double talk nor see his actions that contradict his words.

  18. Gail B says:

    Thanks, Jeff–We were wondering if news of Obama's prejudice reached around the world to tell folks just what a numb nut we have.

    Robert is doing great, considering he doesn't have any more time in the day from moving than you do while in school. He knocked himself out on this story, though.

    Thanks, Robert.

  19. CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE says:

    Hug a policeman today.
    Slap a college professor today.

  20. cherpa says:

    Obama's a race baiter.Everyone needs to wake up and realize this man wants to divide this country, and he MUST BE STOPPED NOW!!!

  21. Anonymous says:

    So I think it clearly shows that Obama is a person who will lash out at someone based on him being President
    without ever getting all the facts. He's supposed to be out chief legal officer for crap sakes and a constitutional legal expert from HARRRavd! Yea right.
    How many times did reporters ask Bush about very serious ongoing cases including murders and he essentially said no comment.
    And the left says Bush was dumb but Obama isn't–WoW

  22. Rix says:

    And to think of it, universities gives tenure to butt-holes like Mr. Gates. Truly, the education system MUST be pulled out of the clutches of teachers' union and ultraliberal university educators, or there will be no hope left for the country, elections or no elections.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous 9:58 am….

    You are a smarty! I was thinking the EXACT same thing!!! Who is this neighbor, and why would they not recognize Gates? This is just a little too "fishy" for me…

    Let's all remember the Rules for Radicals playbook…this is right outta there!

    Lisa in TX

  24. 1600 BUFFOON AVE says:

    vsw39, I wanna be in your platoon.

  25. YES SIR, OFFICER says:

    Confuscious say " NEVER argue with man with 3 ft long black stick, handcuffs AND A GLOCK!!!".

  26. POISON - IVY LEAGUE says:

    My grandson, due Dec. 12, Will in NO WAY attend Harvard, ever, PERIOD.

  27. AND LASTLY.... YES YOU says:

    Does ANYBODY really think that last press conference question WAS NOT a plant? Come on!

  28. WATCH THAT TEMPER says:

    Nice mug shot, 'Professor'.

  29. Uncle Rick says:

    It seems like everyone has a cop story nowadays. I have a couple, mostly with good cops, but one or two with some real bad, abusive, beliigerent types, and one of those worked in collusion with a judge. I'm a white boy, so the notion that the law (or 'the system') only abuses blacks is bogus. Anyway, that was interesting, and a little scary to watch, but this is not that story.

    It's 1981 and I'm in the parking lot of a night club in Cherry Hill, NJ with a bucket of carnations, which I am attempting to sell to the patrons. A police cruiser comes in and the officer cards me. No big deal. The worst he's likely to do is tell me to move on.

    Next thing I know I'm looking down the business end of his sidearm and he's telling me to spread 'em and put my hands on the hood. In five minutes there are five more police cars in the parking lot (count 'em — five) and he's asking me a lot of questions — how did I get there, who dropped me off, etc. He cuffed me and drove me down to the station.

    Now, I'm a nice boy and I stay out of trouble. Current events were way out of proportion to the circumstances, at least the way I saw them. But there was something I didn't know.

    When the officer took my DL back to his cruiser and checked me out on the radio, he was told that a person with my first, middle and last name and my DOB had a fugitive warrant on him. What was he supposed to do?

    We got it ironed out at the station. The perp out-weighed me by 50 lbs and had blue eyes (my were brown). We all had a laugh about it and parted friends.

    You can imagine how that would have played out had I carried on like Prof. Gates did.

  30. ANYBODY KNOW? says:

    If aliens land and request "Take me to your leader", where the heck do we take them?

  31. DIZZNEY says:

    We had the NUTTY Professor, and Obama at the mic was the FLUBBER. This movie sounds very familiar.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I have a son that is smart enough to get into Harvard, but we made a conscious decision to NOT pursue this viper's den of progressive indoctrination! We kept him in TX, and he is getting a GREAT education in a top-notch business school!

    So THERE, Harvard!!!

    Word verification: "termsoly"=
    "terms of the lie"

    Lisa in TX

  33. Anonymous says:

    Let it go? This isn't going to happen. Check out HR 40…"Repartations for African Americans"…it is currently in some committee. Apparently, John Conyers (D), who proposed it, and five other sponsors think this is a good idea.
    (this bill is designed to "study" slavery thru current times, the effects on the black community and the effects of society…discrimination…etc…and consider what kind of reparations are due to black people and communities)
    Also, Anon above suggested the Gates' issue was orchestrated. Good point…could the bill and this incident be used to promote HR 40 and other behind the scenes things most of the public isn't aware of yet? Perhaps…I wouldn't put it past anyone in govt. at this time.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Hey Old Bob! Where ya been? I was reading your post and thinking how spot-on it is when I got to the bottom and saw it was you, of course. Many of us have wondered where you've been. Have you already been asked?

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