It’s the issue that just won’t die:
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. 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:
– Jimmie Bise: Upper-Class Gates and No-Class Ambinder
– Dan Riehl: A Gatesgate At Henry Gates’ “Bogus” Charity?
– Heather Mac Donald: Promoting Racial Paranoia