Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"We Shall Overcome" an obnoxious sense of entitlement...

*Editor's Note-this entry was dated soon after the incident transpired. Having finished writing it today, it now appears as a late entry and not an edited, back-dated version.

Let me get this out of the way NOW-in no way did I want to comment on this issue. There are three topics that are just too polarizing to debate in a civil manner-race, politics and religion. All three cause people to lose their otherwise sane minds, and then it turns into right wing vs. left wing, liberal vs. bigot, asshole vs. douchebag. Once you voice a particular stance on any of these particular issues you are labeled for the rest of your life.

To categorize someone because of a particular belief is beyond ignorant, but that is what discourse in this country has devolved into. This particular incident, and the mock outrage it has stirred up, speaks volumes about the level of stupidity on both sides of the issue. Was what occurred driven by race, abuse of power, or a sense of entitlement on both sides?

The answer isn't the point.

When Harvard Professor and eminent Black Studies scholar Henry Louis Gates was arrested in his own home for "disorderly conduct", he was not invoking the voices of those who have been truly oppressed in this country when he yelled from his porch, "This is what happens to a black man in America!!". He was not asking to join hands in some Freedom March over the trampling of anyone's civil rights. He was invoking an obnoxious sense of entitlement that comes from arrogance, stemming from an inflated sense of self-importance. He was not invoking the call to justice of the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights Movement. He was invoking the voice of Eazy-E, the now-deceased rapper who was one of the founding fathers of the un-civil rights movement called "Gangsta Rap".

Gates' tone was all about "Fuck Da Police", NWA's seminal hit, where the members of the rap group serenade the LAPD with verses of venom and disrespect never heard before, which is exactly how Gates dealt with the situation. Now there is a third player in this whole drama, the neighbor who called the alleged break-in to the police. This moron doesn't know the difference between a couple of no-good thugs and the Harvard professor who lives next door?

For those of you who aren't familiar with the events that transpired, here is the short of it. Gates had arrived from a trip to China and found his front door jammed. He and his driver forced their way in, and while this was going on someone called the cops about a possible break-in. When the cops arrived, Gates apparently did not appreciate the tone of the officer in question, Sgt. James Crowley, who then overreacted and arrested him. Granted, there isn't much street crime in such an affluent neighborhood (Cambridge, Mass. isn't exactly the birthplace of the Crips and Bloods) but the arrest was what any right-minded person would call a waste of taxpayer's money. Gates was arrested, processed and had his mug shot taken, capturing for posterity the pathetic and ridiculous lack of judgment displayed by this officer. Gates isn't exactly the Pablo Escobar of the academic world, and he should have known better.

The Arrest Report (click to enlarge)-

Gates is also to blame. He is an academic, and lives an incredibly comfortable life in which he never gets into such confrontations. He doesn't live in a neighborhood where there is rampant street crime and cries from the community of police harassment. So why would he make this a racial issue? Sense of entitlement, that's why. The revered Harvard professor had no business getting testy with police officers. When approached by the Fuzz, you answer their questions regardless of their attitude, especially if you were doing nothing wrong. After 5-10 minutes, they will then leave you alone and go about their day. If provoked with attitude, then whatever happens is YOUR fault. People who live in the 'hood know this. Gates apparently does not.

Obama tried to interject with comments about how the police reacted, which then got the Cambridge Police Department upset. He then tried to calm things by having a "Beer Summit" in which he and both parties sat down at pub near the Harvard campus for some suds and conversation, what he referred to as "a teachable moment". The only thing this taught anyone is despite Gates' reputation and standing in the community, this will stop a police officer with a chip on his shoulder from making his life miserable, simply because in Cambridge there is nothing better to do.

The Infamous Mug Shot-
Then again, even more disgraceful was the incident involving a Boston police officer shortly after the incident. An officer Barrett of the Boston Police Department sent an email to someone calling Professor Gates a "banana-eating jungle bunny". I didn't know you were supposed to feed bunnies bananas. I thought they ate carrots. This goes to show you that however the incident was perceived, we still have racist crap like this from the very people who get payed with public tax dollars to defend us.

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