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Henry Louis Gates, Black Americans, & The Police

Written By : John Hawkins
July 23, 2009

Last night during his health care teleconference, Barack Obama was asked a question about the arrest of his friend Henry Louis Gates. Long story short, Gates is a professor at Harvard. He came home, found the door to his house jammed, and busted it in. A neighbor who saw the door being smashed in called the police. A cop showed up and although Gates showed him his ID, he got belligerent with the officer and got arrested for disorderly conduct. After screaming “racism” and “Do you know who I am?” at everything that moved and probably a few potted plants as well, the charges were dropped.

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Now, if we had a competent, knowledgable, professional President, he would have simply dodged the question — especially since he admitted that, “I don’t know all the facts.” However, that’s not the sort of guy we have the in the White House. Hence, we got an answer so moronic that Joe Biden probably even said, “Wow, that was a dumb comment,”

“I don’t know – not having been there and not seeing all the facts – what role race played in that, but I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two that he Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home,” Obama said in response to a question from the Chicago Sun-Times’s Lynn Sweet. Gates, Obama allowed, “is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don’t know all the facts.” However Gates, he continued, “jimmied his way to get into [his own] house.”

Shorter Obama: The police are racist and so in a conflict between a black man and the police, I always assume that the racism of the police is the problem.

Barack Obama’s attitude is not an unusual one in the black community and time and time again, it creates situations that play out like so,

1) The police are racist and they hate me because I’m black.

2) The police show up and black Americans, even those who’ve done nothing wrong whatsoever, get angry and afraid. The fight or flight impulse kicks in and they start acting like a jackass.

3) The cop gets freaked out, scared, offended or overreacts. Then there’s an incident.

4) The race vultures, including our President in this case, descend and assure everyone the whole incident was created because of racism, thereby reassuring black Americans that #1 is true. Thus, the whole cycle repeats over and over.

This same pattern occurs over and over. This case, Amadou Diallo, Rodney King (who, unlike the other two, was a criminal) — if I wanted to do the research, I could probably find 50 examples of situations like this that were created, not by “racism,” but by someone acting like a jackass.

Now personally, when I have to deal with a cop, there are certain things I tend to keep in the forefront of my mind:

1) This person has a gun. He also has the right to arrest me.

2) This person deals with the dregs of society all day long and he doesn’t know me. In the back of his mind, he’s wondering if I’m scumbag, too.

3) This person has an extremely difficult, stressful job that’s very important to keeping our society functioning.

Since that’s the case…

1) I am going to be extremely polite, even if I disagree with him or he’s a jerk. The words “Yes, sir” and “No, sir” will be used. If there’s going to be a heated debate, it’s going to happen two months from now between him and my lawyer, in front of a courtroom.

This insures that there is a maximal chance that he will cut me a break if I’ve done something wrong and more importantly, insures that I won’t get shot, beaten, or handcuffed and perp walked out of my own house for resisting arrest.

2) I am not going to make any sudden movements that may alarm this person who may feel the need to shoot me to death to protect his own life. I’m going to be predictable. I will follow his instructions. My hands will be on the steering wheel. He will feel at ease in my presence.

If Henry Louis Gates had the same approach to dealing with the police that I do, I can 99.9% guarantee you that officer would have left with a wave and a “Have a good night, Sir” instead of having Gates in the back of a squad car.

That doesn’t mean that there are no racist cops, incompetent cops, or bad apples in the barrel. There are people like that of every race, color, class, and profession. But, long story short, if you show your @ss in front of the police, you shouldn’t be surprised if it leads to problems, nor should anyone believe you when you cry “racism.”

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