Thursday, August 6, 2009


When by all accounts, Henry Louis Gates got into the face of Sgt. Crowley after being asked for some ID in his own home after Crowley had responded to a 911 call of a possible burglary in progress, and in the ensuing charges and accusations made by Gates, both at the time and even days later, Gates used the same prejudice, assumptions and false conclusions about Sgt. Crowley that have been used in profiling African American men by the police. In this confrontation between black man and white cop, it was the black man who was the profiler and the cop who was profiled.

Crowley wasn't judged by the content of his character or by his actions, but by the color of his uniform. Crowley wasn't judged based on the facts or what was actually occuring, but by abuses and actions of other cops in other places at other times with other people. And that is exactly what profiling is about.

Gates took every horror story he ever heard about African American men being profiled by white cops and projected them onto Sgt. Crowley. That's profiling too.

Sgt. Crowley was profiled by President Obama who admitted he didn't know the facts and didn't care -- Crowley was guilty of "acting stupidly". That is profiling. And Sgt. Crowley was profiled by every person in the country who wrongly accused Crowley of a racist act, made cowardly annonymous phone calls to Lucy Whalen calling her a racist. or accused Sgt. Lashey, the 26 year veteran of the Cambridge police and a black officer who stood by Sgt. Crowley as an Uncle Tom. They are all profilers.

None of them, not Gates, not President Obama, not any of the people who took sides against Crowley wanted to know who he is, or what exactly happened. It didn't matter. They just jumped to conclusions and made a series of assumptions. based on what they knew or heard of the abuses endured by African Americans at the hands of other cops in other places and with other people. That's profiling.

Some have tried to pass off Gates' overreactions to the fact that he had just gotten off a long flight back from China. That doesn't explain Gates calling Crowley a "rogue cop" a few days later on CNN. That was profiling too. There are rogue cops who have used profiling to roust innocent African American men and committed abuses. Most of those are in the minority. Crowley is not now nor does his record show he has ever has been one of them. In fact his record shows the opposite, that he was handpicked by a black police commander to teach recruits about the dangers of racial profiling at the police academy.

Obama has called the whole episode a teachable moment. One Democratic strategist said that it was a teachable moment for the whole country. But it wasn't the whole country that jumped to the wrong conclusions and needed the teachable moment, only a few. So one can only hope that the people who needed to learn a few things, did.


Madazhel said...

Thank you once again for saying exactly what I think about this incident.

I'm dumbfounded when I hear from liberal cohorts that there is no such thing as "reverse racism".

People profile all the time about race, gender, religion, nationality, occupation, whatever. That doesn't make it right but it surely makes it obvious that no one group is the only victim of such narrow-mindedness. As for teachable moments, I learnt that our current president can be as much a bigot as Archie Bunker, Professor Gates is an insulated and privileged academic, and Sgt. Crowley is a working man in a much maligned profession.

This photo on the White House blog says it all:

Puma-SF said...

Great post. I am so sick of everyone crying racism when it doesn't exist. If it wasn't for his race Obama would be back in Chicago right now and we would be benefiting from Hillary's presidency.

Alessandro Machi said...

The other aspect that I covered in an article was that the two women who initiated the story were ignored for their efforts, the two men that were involved in the brouhaha, got to have a brew and a ha ha at the White House.