The Man and the Arrest of Henry Louis Gates

by MullOverThis

Again, “The Man” is at play and causing a ruckus with the arrest and four-hour detainment of Yale Graduate and Harvard Professor, Henry Louis Gates. By now, you would think that Black folks and “conscious” folks of other races would abandon the notion of “The Man”, who gets too much credit in situations where common sense is overridden and self-responsibility is despised. It is much easier to cry racism and point to a plethora of social behavioral theories than to accept the bare-boned truth. Sometimes Black people do stupid stuff and racial bias has absolutely nothing to do with the situation.

First, a call is made to the police because Mr. Gates allegedly appeared to be breaking into his home. Apparently, the door was jammed. Questions flare about why the police was even called. Of course anyone in a residential neighborhood who witnesses someone trying to force a door ajar should call the police. People break into homes in broad daylight. Doctors murder their own wives in broad daylight. Mr. Henry Louis Gates lives in the real world where men just like him-not just stereotypical younger Black male thugs-commit heinous crimes. Accomplished, affluent, successful people often find themselves in prison garb for quite some time because they have committed crimes.

Mr. Gates was allegedly into his home by the time the police confrontation began. Allegedly, the cops knew exactly who he was when they arrested him. There is a huge gap-between when Mr. Gates supplied proof of identity and was arrested-that Mulloverthis is not willing to suppose is filled with improper behavior by law enforcement simply because Mr. Gates is a Black man. Mr. Gates was allegedly “shocked” that after he proved who he was, the incident continued.

Having had to prove TWICE that I lived in my own house because the burglar alarm went off in the middle of the night, I disengaged it, and answered the calls from the alarm company with the appropriate code, I know how aggravating it is to look at law enforcement (two white officers) who challenged me because of what could have actually been “suspect”. However, having an appreciation for law enforcement-the same fellas that might have been answering the same call if I actually had a gun pointed to my head by an intruder-governed my disposition in getting my license, a piece of mail with my name and address on it, and answering numerous questions. There was no unseemly conduct or display of irritation to the point where after having established my identity, I could have been arrested for disorderly conduct. By the way, being one who is more than averse on my legal rights and most knowingly and audibly equipped to express them, I could have stopped the officers much sooner than they chose to stop in both encounters inside the home where I LIVE. However, I did not. I worked with the program. Mulloverthis smiled and thanked the officers both times, although I could have been indignant.

Law enforcement cannot cease to stop a swerving car because Jesse Jackson may be in it, or fail to make initial inquiries because Black people are involved. Nor, should law enforcement have to be disrespected, interrogated, or challenged because they have to do their job. Those cops did not know who Henry Louis Gates was when they received the call to his property, and even if they did, so what. Yaleducativism, Harvardism, and African-American intelligencia does not absolve anyone-including Mr. Gates-from knowing that law enforcement must be respected, even if they want to be tough guys/gals. The cops were within reason to confirm Gates’ identity and then ensure that there was nothing “fishy” going on, despite the fact they were dealing with the “Henry Louis Gates”.

If the depth and breadth of Mr. Gates’ interaction with the Cambridge police consisted of him providing identification and fully cooperating with the officers, then the officers do need to offer an apology. If not, Mr. Gates and his supporters need to sit down somewhere and eat some chocolate.

Meanwhile, Mulloverthis chooses to commend the people who help to keep our neighborhoods safe and when everyday “good” people do bad things, sometimes have to put their lives in danger to muddle through the particulars. Thumbs up to law enforcement.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/20/henry-louis-gates-jr-arre_n_241407.html

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2 Comments to “The Man and the Arrest of Henry Louis Gates”

  1. I agree that this situation was blown out of proportion. Everything is not about race and the AA community needs to pick their battles more wisely. If it were an actual burglary and no one called the police, someone would say it was because no one cared because the owner was a black man. The most unfortunate aspect was the Obama commented on the issue without knowing all of the facts. Whether the police officer is a racist or not, he did his job by investigating a perceived break-in. We don’t need Jessie Jackson on this one.

  2. Imagine the liability the police officers would have opened the municipality “up to”, had Mr. Gates been in the process of committing a major violent crime on his property, and the police just rang the doorbell and walked away because they encountered and immediately granted deference to “Professor Henry Louis Gates”.

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