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Black Harvard Scholar Arrested: Breaking into his own Home! - nhpeacenik
Black Harvard Scholar Arrested: Breaking into his own Home!
I just learned from one of the regular commentators on our radio program, Grace Ross, the former Green-Rainbow candidate for Massachusetts governor, that Dr Henry Louis Gates, one of the best-known scholars in the field of African-American studies was taken into custody and charged with breaking and entering his own Cambridge home. This Associated Press article tells the story, and this website which Gates manages, gives more details. What amazes me is that even after seeing his ID, which gave his address as the house he had just entered, the police are pressing charges, and have set an arraignment for August 26! (I thought arraignments had to happen within 24 hours) The situation is being compared with DWB ("driving while black"), but the fact that Mr. Gates is one of Cambridge's most prominent citizens makes it much more incomprehensible.

I have tried to have more empathy and understanding for the police point of view in recent years, knowing that they are only doing their job and that I need to counteract my early life experiences of police repression and my tendencies to demonize them, but I can't put myself mentally in the shoes of these police officials. In a state and a country where the highest officials of the land are now of African descent, how can it be that we are still nurturing this kind of prejudicial attitude in official circles?

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alphistia From: alphistia Date: July 21st, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Cambridge Police Dept have dismissed the charges and made a sort of grudging apology. Gates says he won't be suing, although he should. He'll write a good article or whole book about this, I'm sure. The madness of it in my mind was that even AFTER he produced two forms of photo id to prove who he was, and they knew very well that he was not a burglar, they arrested him anyway for being obstreperous INSIDE his own home. Just stunning, shocking, and shouldn't be happening in the USA.
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