Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Professor Gates' arrest...I thought America was "post racial" now.

Clearly the Cambridge Police Department didn't get the memo. Also, I guess they don't watch PBS or read any newspapers. Professor Gates is a pretty well known scholar. I didn't know accusing a police officer of racial profiling could get you arrested.

I know all about DWB (Driving While Black) and SWB (Shopping While Black) but now some of my relatives and friends back in the States need to worry about Being In Your Own House While Black?

Anyway between this, the pool incident in Philly and Mr. Pat Buchanan saying since white men "built" America they deserved more, I need to take a break from the Stateside news for a minute.

And p.s. America is not "post racial" whatever the heck that means.


SDG said...

Ain't it somethin'? Racism never left. It just went underground. Now, folks are acting up.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

SDG - something foul is going on but why now? The bad economy? Obama being President?

KimB said...

I have just seen the headlines on the Gates arrest but need to read the details. As one commenter said, Sure, if you see a guy trying to jimmy a door, you go check it out, but once he shows you his i.d. and that he's the owner of the house, that should be it. I didn't know that a remark of his to the officers caused them to arrest him?!

I"m with you -- ever watch PBS people? Because I could watch him (and listen to him) all day-- he's such a good guide, whether in Mali or wherever.

Anyway, I've got to read up on the story and get beyond the headlines. And haven't even heard of the other two incidents you mention. I must have my head in the clouds.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

kimb - the details are v. interesting. I understand why the police were called but I agree once he showed his i.d. what was the problem? Especially since he showed them a Harvard one as well.

Pat Buchanan has said some crazy things in the past but his latest takes the cake. He made his comments during a discussion about the current Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

It sure as hell isn't. Cambridge is particularly bad in this respect and has been for years. When I was doing my doctoral work there, one of my fellow doctoral students had a teenage son who was allergic to nuts and who went to Cambridge Rindge and Latin (probably not getting the name right). He went into a coffee shop with his brother and ordered a danish and apparently there were nuts on it and he went into shock. His brother pleaded with the owner to call 911, but the jerk tried to kick them out, saying the boy was "on drugs" and the white customers were all agreeing. She said this was typical of their life in Boston, in general, and in Cambridge, in particular.

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

Once upon a time said...

The US is firmly based on racism can't possibly become "post-racial". Well maybe if an asteroid hits it smack in the middle, but otherwise, I doubt it.

Liane Spicer said...

It's this stuff that makes me wonder whether I could ever live in the US. This is 2009 and everywhere I turn this crap pops up like a slap in the face. America post-racial? The hell it is.

From my perspective out here in the Caribbean it seems that Obama's presidency is bringing all the nasties out of the corners where they've been lurking. I've stopped reading the comments on online news about Obama or Michelle. The poison out there is seriously disturbing.

I've had some startling experiences while on vacation in the US. A total stranger told me at a bus stop that his niece was dating a black man, and he didn't have a problem with it once he didn't bring weed into the house. O_O! Another asked me why a black Florida teenager had killed his white teacher. Being black myself, I had to know, right?

Sigh. I find this kind of thing bizarre in the extreme.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

jen - I've heard several Harvard alum complain about the Cambridge police.

once upon a time - I hope it can. But we can't even deal with the past and how it impacts the present in a meaningful way how can we deal with the future?

liane - my parents have so many stories about what it was like to move from the Caribbean to the States. They're lucky they had a strong foundation and sense of self. I've stopped reading comments in articles regarding the First Family too. People are sick. Why say such horrible things about a child?

Julie said...

Well said. I am an American living in France but I have been spending more time lately in the U.S. and I agree -- something foul is definitely up. I have noticed it in the spin in news stories that seem to be written to incite white racists to be angry. And of course the bigots react just the way one would expect. I believe that they are seething that Obama is our president, and certain groups are trying to work them up even more. It scares me, and I am white. I think the decent people of the country must stand together in order to fight this terrible tide.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Julie - I get Fox news here and I'm amazed and scared by some of the commentary. I don't understand what people are afraid of. I agree with you and hope that we can cool some of this insanity down but then I read an article saying 71% of Republicans would vote for Sarah Palin and I get very nervous.

Julie Getzlaff said...

I know; the commentary on Fox "News" is unbelievable. It is nothing but propaganda, and it works very well on those who are uninformed and angry. I just hope that Sarah Palin's followers are the real minority group in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

Seems like the officer acted in the way that he should have acted. I have learned from own experience during my years in the U.S. that it isn't unusual for an African-American to erroneously get the idea in an awkward situation with a white person that the awkardness or unhappy outcome - whatever it may be - depends on the difference in "race", or that the situation has arisen because the white person supposedly is racist. Sometimes unhappy situations between two people who just happen to be of different skin color occur without it having the slightest thing to do with race. This was probably such a situation. The Professor felt humiliated, and it was all too easy for him to pull the race card and actually believe in it.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

anon - did both men overact? probably. however, Professor Gates, who is married to a white woman, is not someone who "pulls the race card". He is not a radical. I suggest you read up on his background.

I have been followed in stores. My white friends have not.

Since you are not American it's hard to explain how annoying it is to be constantly on your guard all the time because you happened to be black while shopping, driving, etc.

My family is from the Caribbean and it wasn't until they moved to America did they have to think about and deal with race all the time. It's exhausting.

If it seem that many African-Americans have an issue or a chip on their shoulder there's a good reason why.