There is evidence that racism is still with us, a good example is from all the tensions and racial drama and media coverage that came out of the recent incident where a white police office arrested a black Harvard scholar for disorderly conduct.
Harvard professor Gates got home from a long and tiring trip from China; he had problems getting into his house. A passer-by called the police department and reported a possible break-in.
Cambridge, Mass. police Sgt. Crowley responded to the call. The 911 caller didn’t mention a black man, but, it was reported that Sgt. Crowley made the assumption that
the prowlers were two black men wearing backpacks.
By the time Sgt. Crowley arrived Professor Gates was already inside the house. At some point Gates showed Crowley his identification and established that he lived in the house. For some reason an altercation broke out between the two men. No one knows exactly what happened or what caused the confusion. Gates was just getting home; he was probably tired and already a little tense because he had trouble getting into his home. He probably didn’t control his anger as well as he should have.
Sgt Crowley was probably annoyed with Professor Gates for something he said. Regardless, Sgt Crowley didn’t control his anger as well as he should have, either. Once it was established that this was the man’s house, it should have ended there. Sgt Crowley was not in any danger, he was not threatened by Professor Gates, he was probably angry at things Gates said; however, it is not a crime to disagree with a police officer. A man should not be arrested in his own home because he said something a police office did not like; if this was the case.
I’m not sure that race played a part in this arrest. I don’t want to believe that it did. Some police officers may get a feeling of power and authority and the need to be in full control once they are in uniform with their guns and other weapons in place. Was this, probably, more of a power thing; where a police officer didn’t like the way a citizen was talking back to him; so he arrested that citizen for disorderly conduct? Police officers should not put themselves so high above everyone else and think nobody should get angry or express their anger. A person should learn how to control their anger if they are angry at a police officer or anyone. Anger can be controlled. However, there should not have been an arrest; and all charges were later dropped against Professor Gates.
Many people takes this as a racist situation, some believe that racism played a big part in this incident. However, I’m still not satisfied that this was a racist situation. It did become a big racial drama.
President Obama admitted he may have used the wrong choice of words when he said the police acted stupidly. It is a good idea that the president, the arresting police officer and the Harvard professor are getting together on Thursday for beer in the Rose Garden Patio at the white house. It could help to defuse the racial tension that has flared up from the incident. Maybe, the police officer and the professor can learn a lesson and see where they both could have handled the situation differently.
I love it that the president is such a down to earth man. He is commander in chief; yet he is one of us. Most of us can relate to him as a man as well as a president. I really appreciate the way he can say, ok, I made a mistake, I’m sorry, now let’s move on. He doesn’t say it in those exact words; but, I appreciate the way he can admit to a mistake and move on to more important issues.
Racism will probably always be with us; but, we have to learn how to deal with it, we need to talk about it in a positive way. We shouldn’t be afraid to admit that racism is still with us; however, we shouldn’t think that everything between a white police officer and a minority person is racist. On the other hand, we cannot be blinded to the fact that there are still a lot of problems between police officers and the minority communities.
In a lot of cases, some police officers over react when a minority is involved. They are too quick to use excessive force or to shoot or make an arrest. Sometimes they need to communicate, let a citizen ask questions about why are they being detained or why are you here? Treat all citizens alike. Have you ever noticed that when a minority is stopped, sometime for just a traffic ticket or jay walking, they are sitting on the ground while other citizens that are stopped for the same reasons get to stand or sit in the car. This happens a lot. There are, also, a lot of very decent and good police officers out there and I give them credit and appreciate them.
President Obama said we can use this as a learning experience, one lesson that can be learned is, there's a great need for more trust and communication between the minority communities and police officers. Even though racism still exists, every incident between a white police officer and a minority should not be labeled as racist. Police officers and minorities should listen to each others. Police officers should not be the enemy; nor should they treat minorities in a way that they or looked upon as the enemy.
Another thing to be learned is racism should not be covered up. We need to admit that it still exists. We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it in a positive way. When things get out in the open, it has a way of disappearing. Racism may never disappear altogether, but it may help to stop sweeping it under the rugs. We need to admit that it is still with us; but, we cannot say that every time there are problems between white police officers and minorities; that it is racist.
A few years ago, a family member passed out in my home. I called 911 three times without a response; I’m glad this don’t happen very often. Actually, it was the first and last time for me. While I was on the phone the children were screaming and crying in the back ground. Finally, the family member that had passed out, came around. We decided to rush him to the hospital in the family car. WOW! when we stepped outside the door, there were police officers all over the place, some with guns drawn.
I immediately explained that we had a seriously ill person that had passed out and we were taking this person to the emergency room. I explained we called 911 three times but it didn’t go through. The officers were ordered to put away their guns.
Turned out, my 911 calls did go through, there were so much screaming and crying from the children in the back ground; the people who listened to the 911 call on the other end, thought it was a hostage situation. All along, I thought my calls had not gone through and we had no idea as to why so many police officers were around the house when we stepped outside.
When my family walked out of our front door; it was a dangerous situation for everyone involved; for my family and for the police officers. They didn’t know who were coming out that door, they didn’t know if weapons were involved; they were treating it like a hostage situation. And we didn’t expect to see all these officers because I didn’t even realize that my calls to 911 had gone through.
This was not a racist situation, the police officers were at the scene with their guns drawn because they thought it was a hostage situation despite the fact that it was a black family living here. We understood that the officers didn’t have their guns drawn because we were black; they had guns drawn because they thought something very dangerous was going down.
Sometimes, everybody need to breathe and calm down and communicate. In this case tensions were running high on both ends, but, we all handled the situation with cool heads. The officers even offered to escort the family to the hospital. If either side had blown things out of proportion, this could have turned out differently.
In this case the police officers weren’t trigger happy, they waited to see what was going on. When my family walked out into the mist of all those police officers, we kept our cool. In a case like this, you obey the police orders, because they assume they are in a dangerous situation. In this incident, all of the police officers acted very professional.
Even though there are still a lot of racism in the United States, we shouldn’t look at every situation between white police officers and minorities as a racist situation.
In the Crowley arrested Gates situation, I believe both men should have handled things more responsibly and there should not have been an arrest. Gates had a right to get angry in his own home. Crowley had a right to get angry at things Gates said to him. It was gates home, Crowley should have walked away. However, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was a racist situation. It was a case where both men should have handled things more responsibly.