The latest on the Gates/Crowley drama

Posted by: ST on July 25, 2009 at 10:52 am

It’s the issue that just won’t die:

— President Obama expressed “regret” yesterday – but did not apologize – for the choice of words he initially used to describe the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.:

President Obama said Friday that he “could have calibrated” his words more carefully in the controversy over the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. but added that he believed there was an “overreaction” by both sides in a case that has inflamed racial tensions across the country.

Mr. Obama said he hoped the case became “a teachable moment” to be used to improve relations between minorities and police officers.

Oh yes – it’s certainly been a “teachable moment” – at least of terms of how we know our President will use issues like this to his advantage, anyway.

— Related to Obama’s “change in tone,” he has also expressed an interest in having both Crowley, who he called Friday, and Gates visit the WH to “have a beer” with him, in an apparent gesture meant to bridge the racial divide. Gates has responded by saying he would be interested as well … as a way of “using” his “racial profiling experience” as a way to improve the justice system for black people in the future:

“It was very kind of the President to phone me today. Vernon Jordan is absolutely correct: my unfortunate experience will only have a larger meaning if we can all use this to diminish racial profiling and to enhance fairness and equity in the criminal justice system for poor people and for people of color.

And to that end, I look forward to studying the history of racial profiling in a new documentary for PBS. I told the President that my principal regret was that all of the attention paid to his deeply supportive remarks during his press conference had distracted attention from his health care initiative. I am pleased that he, too, is eager to use my experience as a teaching moment, and if meeting Sgt. [James] Crowley for a beer with the President will further that end, then I would be happy to oblige.

After all, I first proposed that Sgt. Crowley and I meet as early as last Monday. If my experience leads to the lessening of the occurrence of racial profiling, then I would find that enormously gratifying. Because, in the end, this is not about me at all; it is about the creation of a society in which ‘equal justice before law’ is a lived reality.”

Translation: I’m going to milk my “victimhood” status for all it is worth. Yes, I’m sure that will go a long way in “healing” the gash opened by his wild overreaction to police officers at his home responding to a call about a burglary in progress. 8-| I hope Crowley declines the offer and still keeps on the table the possibility of suing Gates. I should note, BTW, that Crowley is a “police academy expert” on racial profiling:

Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley has taught a class on racial profiling for five years at the Lowell Police Academy after being hand-picked for the job by former police Commissioner Ronny Watson, who is black, said Academy Director Thomas Fleming.

— Unified, multi-racial police unions are standing behind Crowley and are demanding apologies from both Obama and MA Governor Deval Patrick, who described the arrest of Gates as “every black man’s worst nightmare.” I hope those unions are not holding their collective breath.

— A black police officer who was at the scene of the arrest says Gates was acting very strangely, and supports Crowley “100%.” How soon before the cries of “Uncle Tom!” start?

— Professor Stanley Fish, who has a blog at the NYT, has weighed in as a friend of Gates, and suggests that the arrest incident is “no different” from when Gates first went to work at Duke University 20 years ago and had to suffer from racial stereotypes. He and Obama – who is still having to deal with the “birther” issue, are in the same boat, according to Fish. They have been convicted of the crime of being “Housed While Black”:

It isn’t the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate that’s the problem for the birthers. The problem is again the legitimacy of a black man living in a big house, especially when it’s the White House. Just as some in Durham and Cambridge couldn’t believe that Gates belonged in the neighborhood, so does a vocal minority find it hard to believe that an African-American could possibly be the real president of the United States.

Gates and Obama are not only friends; they are in the same position, suspected of occupying a majestic residence under false pretenses. And Obama is a double offender. Not only is he guilty of being Housed While Black; he is the first in American history guilty of being P.W.B., President While Black.

Liberal White Guilt rears its ugly head – again. Fish, fish, and the fishwrap of record have something in common today: They all stink at the same time.

Good reads this morning:

— Patterico: The Officer Didn’t Stereotype Henry Louis Gates — Henry Louis Gates Stereotyped the Officer

— Jimmie Bise: Upper-Class Gates and No-Class Ambinder

— Dan Riehl: A Gatesgate At Henry Gates’ “Bogus” Charity?

— Heather Mac Donald: Promoting Racial Paranoia

RSS feed for comments on this post.


27 Responses to “The latest on the Gates/Crowley drama”


  1. Carlos says:

    Well, there ya go again, ST. Ya just can’t let go of the fact that, no matter how socially inappropriate a “man of color’s” actions are in a white society, they must be measured against the background of his own ethnicity and cultural background.

    Which is Hawvud gobbledegook for saying it doesn’t matter what a “man of color” does, he can’t be faulted just because he’s a “man of color”.

    Jackass jerks.

  2. Great White Rat says:

    Oh yeah, it’s a”teachable moment, all right.

    For example:

    President Obama said Friday that he “could have calibrated” his words more carefully in the controversy over the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.

    What we learned: Axelrod and Rahmbo must have done some overnight polling and found that having TOTUS insult the police wasn’t resonating with the voters. Therefore, the need for damage control.

    he has also expressed an interest in having both Crowley, who he called Friday, and Gates visit the WH to “have a beer” with him

    What we learned: the elitist in the White House thinks that working stiffs like cops just like to sit around and swill brewskis. A beer for the poiceman – Wagyu beef for fellow elitists.

    Mr. Obama said he hoped the case became “a teachable moment” to be used to improve relations between minorities and police officers.

    What we learned: only police officers need to think about how to improve relations and avoid profiling. Profiling is still OK as long as it’s done by, say, a wise Latina woman headed for the Supreme Court.

  3. I just read Gates’ version of events where he said his limo driver was with him as they tried to get into the house – I had wondered where the woman who called in the initial report had seen the “two men with backpacks.” He also said it looked like the front door had been “jimmied,” suggesting that someone had possibly attempted to break-in while he was out of the country.

  4. William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has an interesting post arguing that this incident -and Obama’s reaction to it- is as much or more about social class and elitism than about race: Race and Class In Harvard Square.


  5. Ragspierre says:

    You should add Heather MacDonald’s piece at NRO to your “good reads”.

    She has really good stuff.

  6. Ragspierre – just added it. Thanks for the tip.

  7. Remember the days when the media was always calling on Bush to apologize for (xx)? I guess they do not mind when Obama is insulting private citizens.

  8. Helen says:

    I must admit, Anthony, that from this side of the Pond the class aspect of the story is striking. I am guessing that the Cambridge, Mass. police of all ethnic backgrounds are united in a post-racial fashion in their deep dislike of Harvard professors.

  9. sanjuro says:

    Check out REDSTATE for an story out of Austin Texas. Though the incident to me smells a little, pay particular attention to the comments of the Austin police as to how the crime will be investigated. Can we say “DOUBLE STANDARD” anyone?

  10. Bachbone says:

    I knew during the campaign that Michelle Muh Belle had at least borderline racist tendencies (look at her master’s thesis and various unguarded statements), and suspected that her hubby could not have survived in their marriage nor in “Rev.” Wright’s “church” for 20+ years unless he held some of the same tendencies. Add to those, uhhh, suspicions Obama’s on-the-record statements about “reparations” and his hip deep involvement with ACORN, and it’s easy to understand how/why the old community organizer shtick slid trippingly off his tongue. Saul Alinsky, or at least his methods, is alive and well living in the White House. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the more Obama flaunts himself before the cameras and microphones without his teleprompters, the clearer voters see him for what he really is. And it’s beginning to show in polls. Keep talking Magic Mouth!

  11. Krystal says:

    Obama is copying Chavez – stay on the air, talk, talk, talk. As if everything you say is right and important and hope to brainwash the masses. It won’t work here unless he manages to take over health, energy and the internet.

  12. Brontefan says:

    How interesting that OB thinks he has the right/obligation to make comments & assessments on issues he knows nothing about! And he can’t actually apologize? Wow! He had no difficulty apologizing for America all around the world and he has managed several apologies for the previous admiinistration. The arrogance of this man who is on the air about five days per week in some venue, and perhaps the only President who has actually announced on numerous occasions the “he is the President” –is not only insulting to patriotic American citizens but am I the only person tired of him playing a “race card” whenever it suits him?
    P.S. Anyone notice that the affliction OB has with his multiple “ahhs” is now passed onto Gibbs?

  13. proof says:

    President Obama said Friday that he “could have calibrated” his words more carefully

    Calibrate? Hey, Obama! Calibrate this!

  14. omapian says:

    It took the President of the United States a week to weigh in and claim the police acted stupidly. It took another two days for POTUS, with all his resources, to decide the professor overreacted. Note, the sergeant had to figure that out by himself, while he was still on the scene.

  15. Gary Lewis says:

    I think this was very well calibrated on Obama’s part. This White House does not do ANYTHING without a reason. Remember… this is Chicago thug politics and Gates and Obama go way back. I think this was all a diversion away from the healthcare debate to tie up the news cycle on Friday and the weekend.

    Many in the state-run media were finally starting to report on the substance of HR 3200 (the House Healthcare Bill)… instead of “Is Obama going to win or lose?” Actual discussion of the bill is not something the White House wants.

    Unfortunately (in the WH eyes), the CBO kind of blew those plans out the water!

  16. CZ says:

    If I were the police officer a trip to the WH would be a nogo. He’s being lured into a public relations trap where OB and Gates will be absolved by the media. Stay home buddy.

    Stay home, shut up and sue Gates for all he’s worth.:-w

  17. Pat Stephens says:

    Yes, I think the President overstepped his authority and talked before finding out the facts. Even then he had no right to get involved in an incident just because one of the parties was a Black friend of his.
    He wasted taxpayers money by using airtime to address this when we needed to find out more about this Health Plan they are trying to push down our throats, without knowing all the facts.
    I feel like this incident with Gates was a distraction from the public getting the real background on the Health Plan.
    Also ask yourself, if this is such a great policy, why have they (Ted Kennedy) passed a bill to make the Congress, House and the President immune.
    They will be able to have the BEST of care and the rest of us will have to WAIT for months for urgent healthcare.
    Crowley, please don’t fall into the trap of going to the White House to make it look like you have ANYTHING to apologize for, don’t forget President Obama and Gates are FRIENDS. You owe them nothing.

  18. Homer Boiteux (Baton Rouge) says:

    I just want ’em, to keep talking about this. The more the President reminds us how unjust we are, the more beers he offers to share with victims and their oppressors, the more Gates and his teammates sharptonize, the more the Pavlovian media drools on command, every second of that is time they’re not spending taking away what’s left of our freedoms. In Louisiana, the Legislature can’t spend more than 90 days in session over a two year period. How much better off would Americans be if the same was true of Congress? Let Gates whine and let Obama opine! I hope somebody can keep ’em focused on this stuff for three more years!

  19. Ron Russell says:

    The first comments by Obugger on the Professor and the Police was his honest belief the later comments were forced on him by a rising groundswell in the media and by the public.

  20. ozzyboy says:

    If the officer refused to checkout the B&E, would that then be considered racist?
    A white guy would have thrown in jail for such behavior and would never have been able to play the race card. Anytime a minority doesn’t like something they throw a temper tantrum and claims racism. What an insult to the true victims of racism. Obama should be ashamed of himself as should Gates. But we know that Obama is amoral and has his agenda to destroy America and remake it in his image.I think Gates was really mad because the officer didn’t “Know who he was.”
    Crowley Has nothing to apologize for. He was doing his duty and using his judgement in a difficult situation.
    Does it strike anyone else as odd that Ted Kennedy along with Arlen Specter would not be here today if they had the health care they are trying to impose on the rest of us. With their diseases they would have been denied all those treatments that we the taxpayers paid for them because they would be considered too old.

  21. Rob says:

    “I must admit, Anthony, that from this side of the Pond the class aspect of the story is striking. I am guessing that the Cambridge, Mass. police of all ethnic backgrounds are united in a post-racial fashion in their deep dislike of Harvard professors.”

    Probably not, maybe University police but I suspect professors aren’t of particular concern to Cambridge police. I’m sure students from the various colleges figure more on police minfs

  22. Rob says:

    Gov Patrick’s polls are falling, Obama’s polls are falling, nice.

  23. vigilocanis says:

    You might want to read the actual police report on Gates arrest before forming an opinion for or against the officer .

    Then imagine that you are the officer.

    You arrive alone at the address of a possible attempted break in by two suspects after responding to an “all cars in the vicinity” police radio dispatch. Your heart beat is elevated, adrenalin pumping, the fear of being shot suppressed by years of training. The owner of the home welcomes you with a personal, racially charged, in-your-face, tirade. You contemplate the irony of how you have been welcomed to the home of this owner, whose life, limb, and property you have come to protect.

    The owner increases the decibel level of his attack. With great difficulty, given his loud rantings inside the small foyer, you finally determine the stranger’s identity. His rants continue. “You don’t know who I am! You don’t know who I am!” He yells. Stifling the urge to respond with Jesse Jackson’s, ‘You are Somebody,” you quietly continue doing your job.

    You tell him that if wants to continue the conversation that he must follow you outside so that you can understand him better.

    As he begins to folllow you outside, tenured Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates,Jr.; Ware Street; Cambridge, Mass; the now identified owner, sounding nothing like the erudite classroom lecturer, disses you and your momma with his urban styled, “I’ll speak to your momma outside.”

    As you walk onto the porch, you notice that a crowd has begun to gather outside, tensions mounting. The Harvard University police have shown up.

    Instead of defending yourself against the charge of racism, your years of police training has instilled in you with a discipline to keep quiet and follow procedure. You refrain from telling this screaming professor about the time when you administered mouth-to-mouth resusitation to the dying black basketball player years before, and that you have taught anti-racial profiling classes in Cambridge.

    Concerned that the situation could further escalate, you warn Mr. Gates to restrain from creating such a commotion. He refuses to calm down and continues his commotion. You follow extablished protocol and procedure, and slap the cuffs on him and read him his rights.

    A few days later, you listen to the national broadcast of the president, who, after admitting that he didn’t know all the facts in the case, accuses your department and thereby you, of acting “stupidly”. Shocked, you go over and over the incident, wondering if you could have handled the situation differently?

    As we peacefully sit inside our comfortable apartments or homes, sipping our morning coffee or evening wine, and reading the blogs, many, including President Obama, forget that the peace, security, and freedom to enjoy our surroundings, exists because of the protection a 911 call to a law enforcement officer provides- a call to officer who will respond to any emergency, and risk everything he has to protect us and our possessions.

    So, instead of joining the president in second guessing the reactions of the police, let’s wait until all the facts are out. Consider the question, “WHAT WOULD WE HAVE DONE IN OFFICER CROWLY’S PLACE?

    Time will tell if there was any racial injustice inflicted on this black tenured Harvard professor, who lives in a city with a black mayor, a state with a black governor, and a country with a black president. Racism, Mr. Gates? Are you sure?

  24. Carlos says:

    What’s lost in all this is that “racism” is not defined by the dictionary, it is defined by the speaker. Therefore, Mr. Gates is correct when he calls the police officer a “racist”. I am equally correct in calling Mr. Gates a “racist”.

    And until the gullible public gets back to letting words be defined by historical meaning in dictionaries, this whole political use of words to continue victimhood will run unabated.

    I didn’t think it possible for Jackson/Sharpton to be displaced as poster child for continuing inter-racial strife. How wrong I was.