Friday, July 24, 2009
I'll speak with your mama outside
Current mood: working
Category: News and Politics
Prof. Gates to policeman: “I’ll speak with your mama..”
July 23, 10:51 PM
Prof. Henry Louis "Skip" Gates
Harvard professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates got busted the other day, for shooting his mouth off to a cop, and our post-racial, bipartisan president has put his two cents in to fan the flames of this racial tempest in a teapot. If President Obama can mix his metaphors, so can we.
Returning from a trip to China, Gates was having trouble with the stuck front door to his rental house in trendy Cambridge, Mass. Apparently, a neighbor (all the press reports make sure to mention that she was “a white lady”) saw the Harvard don and his chauffer trying to force the door open, and called the cops. The comedy which followed is something out of the 1970’s Sanford and Son.
Giving a police officer a hard time is never a smart thing to do, no matter how many honorary degrees one has (Gates claims over 50). The surest way to get oneself arrested is to act arrogantly and aggressively when questioned. The Cambridge police report paints such a ridiculous picture of Prof. Gates that an embarrassed Boston Globe felt it had to scrub it from its website after initially posting the report. (We have posted a copy at the end of this article.)
According to the arresting officer, Gates yelled at the police and initially refused to show any identification. Gates allegedly yelled “this is what happens to a black man in America” and “you don’t know who you’re messing with” before he was arrested, and police said he was uncooperative.
Naturally, Skip demanded the investigating officer’s name, and repeatedly called him a racist. When the policeman asked Gates to step out onto the porch to continue the discussion, the Harvard professor’s reply was: “Ya, I’ll speak with your mama outside”. Ol’ Skip’s got a lot of class, don’t he?
President Obama, in his Wednesday night prime-time commercial for socialized medicine, took time out to admit that he was ignorant of the facts, but that that, in his opinion, the cops “acted stupidly.” This intellectual breach should surprise no one, since he has previously admitted that he hasn’t read the health care legislation he was hawking to the country. Opined Obama:
I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it’s fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry; No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they [sic] were in their own home; and, No. 3, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact.
Later, of course, Prof. Gates and the Cambridge cops kissed and made up. The police agreed to drop the (apparently well-deserved) disorderly conduct charges, and Skip can now assume the long-awaited mantle of “victim of racist police,” so valued in Harvard’s African-American Studies Department, where he teaches students preparing to enter our post-racial society.
This just in: The bulk of President Obama’s presentation Wednesday evening was, of course, a vague disquisition on the need to hurry up and pass the health care reform bill, before anyone gets a chance to read it. Short on detail, but long on metaphor, Obama’s recitation was reviewed by James Taranto in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, with this interesting juxtaposition:
Life Imitates the Movies
• Morpheus: “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill--the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill--you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”--dialogue from “The Matrix,” 1999
• “If there’s a blue pill and a red pill, and the blue pill is half the price of the red pill and works just as well, why not pay half price for the thing that’s going to make you well?”--President Obama, July 22, 2009
This booking photo released by the Cambridge, Mass., Police Dept., shows Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who was arrested while trying to force open the locked front door of his home near Harvard University Thursday, July 16, 2009. Gates, a pre-eminent African-American scholar, is accusing Cambridge police of racism after he was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge after police said he "exhibited loud and tumultuous behavior." He was released later that day on his own recognizance and arraignment was scheduled for Aug. 26. (AP Photo/Cambridge Police Dept.)
Read the Henry Louis Gates arrest report: Gates Police Report