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President Obama puts to rest any silliness about a "post-racial society"

President Obama puts to rest any silliness about a “post-racial society”

MY president weighed in on the Gates arrest and said pretty much what every right-thinking person has said on the subject in specific and the subject in general. Take a peek:

Again, I don’t feel the need to say much about this because what all went wrong here is pretty much obvious. But I’ve heard from friends of mine that there are white folks who still absolutely do not get it. “He should have been more polite” is your first step into Failandia, people. Don’t take the second.

Any time someone tries to tell me that racism is no longer a real problem, that the police don’t have a huge race problem, or that “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you don’t have anything to worry about,” I will point to this story and then probably hit them upside the head while they’re distracted.

27 comments to President Obama puts to rest any silliness about a “post-racial society”

  • Bindicated

    I’ve heard from a depressing number of white people who still don’t get it. Some people just don’t want to leave Failandia.

    Kate Harding at Shapely Prose has a great post up about Gates’ arrest that talks sense in a one-white-person-to-another type of way. I’ve pointed a few people over there when I got the feeling that something might sink in. I think it’s a good resource and the comments are safe for sanity.
    B.

    • Good luck with Shapely Prose. I broke up with them due to their epic unending love of rolling around in white privilege.

      • Bindicated

        Oh, ugh. I only recently discovered them. I’m sorry for bringing it up then because I didn’t realize it had a bad history there, although I do still think the post I cited was a good one. What I’ve seen recently has been ok, so could be that they’ve become aware of it and are making progress, or maybe I just haven’t been reading long enough. Thanks.
        B.

  • Guy Bauman

    As someone whose lived in Cambridge I know the police are not racist. Most crimes are done by black people. Thats a fact. So why shoudent they stop and question Gates when hes trying to pry open a door?

    • Guy, did you actually read the links from the last post? Or do any reading on this subject at all? I’m going to guess: no. Because your statement shows that.

      The police didn’t stop and question Gates when he was prying open a door. They came into his house when they thought he’d broken into said house. He then showed them ID to prove that, not only did he live there, he worked at the university that owned the house. Then they decided to arrest him for.. well.. daring to be a black man who lived in a nice house, I suppose.

      If that’s not racism, then you obviously unaware of what that word means. We’ve discussed the topic before on this blog, so many you should try looking it up.

    • Really? Most crimes? Care to show some statistics? And then, if you can find them, could you distinguish for me the actual crimes from the mere accusations? After that, could you explain to me how you’re NOT a racist douchebag?

    • The many lawyers I know who practice criminal law in Cambridge.

      I live in Cambridge right now. The police are racist.

      • URGH. I meant to say that the many lawyers I know who practice criminal law in Cambridge agree that the Cambridge cops are infamously racist.

  • C

    Guy – Only an insane crazy person would say that racism/profiling did not have a hand in this case.

  • Mel

    The police have so much power they can exercise (and abuse)–but the power to arrest people for (supposedly) being rude really should not be part of it. And I don’t get how so many people can continue defending the police, and claiming this is some kind of magical isolated incident.

    I am so glad Obama answered that question instead of avoiding comment, although I’m sure the people who don’t like him will just use his answer as further evidence that he hates white people or whatever. But it was such a wonderful, sensible, clear statement.

  • The police are just criminals with badges. The same sort of sociopathic megalomania that drives people to want to be police in the first place is what would, under other circumstances – like hardship or desperation – changed them into criminals. There may be exceptions, but only to prove the rule.

    • Hmm, I didn’t see this comment until someone pointed it out to me. I’m going to have to disagree.

      There are plenty of police officers who do have these tendencies, but there are also plenty who joined the force with a genuine desire to serve and protect, to solve crimes, catch actual criminals, and be decent, stand-up people.

      I don’t think it’s at all fair to lump all police in with the bad apples. I can’t tell you what the percentage of bad cops are to good, but I would hazard a guess that 100% bad isn’t even a supportable system.

  • Roach

    I think this will be a major political mistake. He ran for office as a post-racial healer. Now he’s weighed in on the defining black political issue of yesteryear: hostility to law enforcement and hair-trigger accusations of racism when unreasonable black misbehavior is punished.

  • Momsomniac

    Oh, I think I just fell in love with our President…again.

    I used to live near a local high school, and the kids would hang out around the school and local delis at lunch. If I told *some* peers that the police ALSO came out at lunch and EXCLUSIVELY broke up groups of 3 or more black male students, they’d say I was exaggerating. Really? Hmmm, all I had to do was WATCH to see profiling. How can anyone with eyes miss it?????
    People are having issues with this answer? Damn – he was honest & even managed to be funny.

    Thank you for posting this.

  • “unreasonable black misbehavior is punished”

    Um, what now?

  • tina johns

    I guess you are gooing to have to add to the number of white ppl who don’t get it a black one:

    http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-303137?iref=topnews

    I got this link from Femisex. I must say their post really ought be read by all women, no matter what color.

    • C

      Thanks for posting that, it is interesting. She does have some good points though about the neighbor. If not for the neighbor jumping to conclusions those jerk cops wouldn’t be there.

  • Amber

    Can people who say ‘should have been more polite’ REALLY claim that under the circumstances, they wouldn’t have been ticked off? I mean, I know that if I’d just gotten back from a trip, already had major fail with my door (and having had to break into my own home a couple of times, I KNOW how peeved off that can make you), and just when I was starting to relax, some cops come by and continue to harass me even after I show them proper ID that indicates that I live in my home, and thus was extremely unlikely to be burglarizing it…

    I’m not sure that I could keep my temper under those circumstances, and I am a notoriously ‘nice’ person. Moreover, anyone would have the right to be pretty ticked off by that point, because it should have been blatantly obvious by that point that a crime was not taking place. There’s no excuse for the police doing anything other than saying, “Ooops, sorry, sir, we’ll be on our way,” and if Dr. Gates really was being a jerk, muttering, “Asshole” on their way back to the patrol car, like the rest of us do when having to deal with irritating members of the public. Handcuffs do not need to be involved.

  • I was going to have a response for Roach, but their name says it all.

    I think all parties behaved badly, but it came down to some class penis-wagging with some race thrown in.

    But can anyone really see Skippididooda saying “your mama?” Does he even remember what dozens are?

  • HoneyBear

    I’m proud of President Obama for commenting about his “friend” and fellow Harvard “alma mater” associate. He said what he and every other POC have felt for a long time. Mr. Obama mentioned his difficulty in hailing a cab in Manhattan during the presidential debate with then-Senator Hillary Clinton. I’m not surprised by Caucasian commentators on other sites that doggedly cling to the notion that if they were in the same circumstances as Dr. Gates, they would have done everything right and orderly and the situation would have gone differently for them. They will never admit/understand “White privilege”. The policeman would see a fellow citizen, not a potential “criminal”/underserving minority. How many cases have to be sited to show uncalled-for police brutality (no, this particular case didn’t warrant that term, but it could have easily escalated.)? Sean Bell, Abner Louima, etc. Ask any Black person, especially Black man, driving an expensive vehicle what is typically going to happen during their time on the road. All will say “DWB”: Driving While Black. Now we’re going to have a new term: “HWB” – Home While Black. Post-racial America….sure we are….

  • Not only did this event show that this nation is NOT a post racialized nation, it shows it is a police state.

    4 fails here at once as well: against the elderly, against the disabled, against a black man and, against the intellectual.

    This nation is a police state that is making war upon the intellectual class, and has been since Nixon.

  • Guy Bauman

    Police protect the public. Most crimes are done by blacks. A house was broken into. A black man was there… DO THE MATH! The police were right to arrest Gates.

  • Guy’s post: “Police protect the rich superstructure. Most arrests are of the brown underclass. Someone called the police, and a black guy talked back — we can’t let someone like that think he has rights! Next thing you know, brown people will think they’re human! The police were right!”

    Fixed that for you, son.

  • C

    A rather interesting article I ran across: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090729/ap_on_re_us/us_harvard_scholar_caller

    Guy you’re full of crap!

  • Melinda Bishop

    Guy, are you freakin’ serious? Wow.

    I’m not one to play the race card but there is no question that this was INDEED about racial profiling.

    From what I heard, a white woman called the police because she believed that Skip was breaking into somebody’s home. She obviously didn’t realize that he actually lived there. I’m sure that the neighborhood is nearly all white. So in her mind, the only reason a POC would be there is because he is up to no good.

    The cops were right to respond to the call, because that is what cops do. However, they were NOT right to arrest him after he showed ID as proof. That was his residence. You don’t slap cuffs on somebody because they raise their voice at you. If talking back were a crime, most people would be in jail.

    People seem to believe that when a POC defends him/herself, they are “uppity” and should be put in line. This was Skip Gates’ only crime. He is guilty of being a black professional living in a mostly white community and being unable to enter his own home without some hysterical person calling the authorities.