OMG! President Obama is Black!?

Yes, he is.  For all the talk about the first black president and what it means for America (and by that I mean all the back-slapping by Americans who are proud to not be racist), people seem shocked--SHOCKED--that the President of the United States could identify with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, the Harvard University professor who was arrested for disorderly conduct (read: mouthing off to the police) by officers responding to a possible breaking and entering at the professor's home.  After the president stood before the media and the American people earlier this week to discuss the need for health insurance reform, all anybody can talk about is how the black guy (Obama) stood up for the black guy (Dr. Gates).

"I have to say I am surprised by the controversy surrounding my statement, because I think it was a pretty straightforward commentary that you probably don't need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who's in his own home," Obama said.

But, but, but Obama is post-racial.  He won the Iowa caucuses.  He's black, but he's not that kind of black!  He's the Bill Cosby kind of black guy who lectures other black people about personal responsibility.  He's not the Rev. Al Sharpton kind of black guy who confronts police brutality.  A friend of mine put it better than I ever could:

I can understand the President's anger and frustration. The media celebrates him when he's cosbying black folks so to speak. He's telling us to take responsibility for ourselves, families, and communities, but someone he personally knows who has done all those things still ends up in the same position as a black man who has not. Now he has young black kids looking to him saying, "what's up post-racial black man? told us if we do all that good upstanding citizen shit we would stay out of police cuffs?!"

This is the problem with America.  We want the Bill Cosby kind of blacks who will make the Rev. Sharpton kind of blacks seem irrelevant.  We want to live in a post-racial America without having to do the work to make America post-racial.  Too many Americans live in a dream world where if black people would just dress a little whiter, talk a little whiter, and realize that the president is black, then race relations would be perfect.  

We don't want the Rev. Sharpton blacks reminding us that we live in a world where institutionalized racism persists, where 1 in 9 black men are behind bars and killing whites is more likely to lead to the death penalty than killing blacks.  We want images of the president touring a former outpost telling his daughters that America is so different from the country that fought a civil war fewer than 150 years ago over the right to own another human being.  We don't want to remember that the president's parents couldn't get married in many parts of the United State when he was born.

We can talk about freedom and equality and "the land of the free and the home of the brave" all we want.  But it's just talk.  Waiving a "Change We Can Believe In" might change Washington, but it won't change America.

Tags: America, Institutionalized Racism, obama, race (all tags)



Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

Obama should apologize to the police in Cambridge .

He shouldn't have commented on the issue at all , since he said the fact of the case wasn't available to him...

It is unprecedented that a President would weigh in on a matter like that so callously. I can't remember any president interfering in such a way...

by lori 2009-07-24 09:04AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

that's one point of view, he could have dodged it, said it would be inappropriate to comment.

But, he didn't, he admitted this is a problem for people of color and that being arrested on one's own property is rather beyond the pale. So, why? Was he being straight with Americans, as he has promised to be, even when we won't all like it? Did he feel the pain and speak candidly?  Did he speak carelessly, and give his detractors ammunition to berate him?

I don't know, but I do know he spoke the truth.  You don't have to be a person of color to be in a scary position with police, who have the power to arrest you, who can get away (usually) with beating you up, and who can at the least make your life harder? do we really need to be extra deferential to police officers to keep ourselves from being arrested.

When police mistakenly pounded on my door, and I whitely opened up, no one explained a thing, they asked me to come outside, which I did not do.  I already knew they had more power to arrest me for nothing if I left my house.  They wanted the drug dealers next door but they came to my house in error, and they shined their flashlights into my face, and there were five or six of them.  I was polite, but for goodness sake, such an error?  

if we must be deferential to police to decide to shout at us, does this not mean we live in a police state? Is this not extra scary for people of color.

So, yes, Barack ought to have been deferential to the police in order to keep himself from being labeled as a troublemaker, but this doesn't make it right, and it sure as heck doesn't make it American.  

by anna shane 2009-07-24 09:13AM | 0 recs
I think you're right

If Rahm et all could have voted on this, they probably would have recommened that Barack say just that, it's inappropriate to comment on it.

I think it WILL cost him support in this country where, as you and I well understand, there is just a different cultural experience being black and dealing with the cops, and being white and dealing with the cops.

Perhaps living in a big city helps, or living right next to the black district as I do.

Or growing up playing in interacial bands, as was much of my youth.

I got some really weird looks driving into the black district in the 70s whenever I would see the cops checking me out.

We have come a bit further, but not far enough I am afriad.

I have seen some ugly confrontations between young black men and white cops, just walking my dog at 2 AM where I leave.

Not sure if that happens where Lori lives.

Lori would like to ignore that ever happens, and so would the vast majority of white Americans IMHO.

Barack Obama didn't just bite his tongue, and I think he probably knew he might take a hit for doing it.

Good for him, I prefer having a real living person who sometimes says what's in his heart, rather then exactly what will please the vast majority.

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 09:25AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

My point is a straightforward one , he said he doesn't have the facts , I think its inappropriate to conclude the police acted stupidly especially if you are the president of the United States in light of that...

I am not commenting on whether it was a case of profiling or not , because I don't know what the facts are..

by lori 2009-07-24 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

I agree with you; commenting on this just fanned the flames. So much for "the post-racial politics".

by BJJ Fighter 2009-07-24 09:55AM | 0 recs
Of course you do

The default white conservative position is to that everyone should pretend race doesn't exist, unless the cops or TSA actually are racial profiling, in which case it's a necessary tool.

by JJE 2009-07-24 11:04AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

Lori, it's REALLY hard to make the case that arresting Gates was justified.  Because you could stipulate everything that Crowley wrote in the police report, and the question is still "okay, and why didn't you leave?  Yes okay, he was rude - now why did you arrest him?"  I usually err on the side of taking the police's case but this is ridiculous.

The lawyer for the police union understands this perfectly - it's why everytime he talks about it he says stuff like "the full story has not been told".  Because Crowley's story isn't good enough.

by Jess81 2009-07-24 05:56PM | 0 recs
Shocked, just Shocked to hear that is your

opinion, Lori.

Actually, I was betting either you or BuckEye Blogger was going to weigh in about our poor oppressed white cops.

I can't remember any president interfering in such a way...

See Shaivo, Terry, for more details of a President interferring a bit more proactively.

Can't remember if you were outraged at that, but I bet, you're more worked up about Obama making a comment, then Bush flying back to sign an act of congress to kiss up to the Right Wing Evangelicals....

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Shocked, just Shocked to hear that is your

He said he doesn't know the facts of the case and in the same breadth concluded the police acted stupidly ...

That doesn't make much sense to me..

I don't think it is wise for a President to denounce police officers in that manner...

Its really a no brainer ....

I bet you he wished he had that one back...

by lori 2009-07-24 09:23AM | 0 recs
You're probably right on that one

He might wish he had it back.

I am sure his WHITE STAFF wishes he had it back.

I think, however, there are some black folks in this country who have had THE OTHER SIDE of this, Generations of White Politicians standing up for the white cops without knowing the facts...

Gee, America STILL doesn't get the OJ verdict, and why White America saw that verdict one way, and Black America saw it the other...

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: You're probably right on that one

It took me years to understand that verdict.  Looking back on it now, it makes perfect sense to me.  There is a big divide in the this country between people who srust and defer to police and those who fear the police.

Not every American has had pleasant or FAIR interactions with the police.  Those that only know the police as the bad guys who put murderers and child molesters in prison don't understand that cops can sometimes be bullies.

by psychodrew 2009-07-24 10:21AM | 0 recs
Re: You're probably right on that one

Your kind of demagoguery does not- despite what you make think- progress race relations in the least.  It only allows you to announce (repeatedly) that you're not a racist, but most of WHITE (your emphasis) America is.  How patronizing and self-serving.  

The way to repair race relations in this country is to address these ills not from a knee-jerk, accusatory reaction, but by understanding and discussing the many issues that may come into play in each given situation.  For example, in this instance, it would be much more conducive to address the issue of police overstepping authority against all citizens, while respecting that race may play a part in this ill.  That is, it does not advance our society to yell racism as a conclusion anymore than it does to deny racism in the same manner.  You end up with two sides yelling at each other without any real, informative dialogue.  Your comment that white America and black America saw the OJ verdict differently is a perfect example of this effect.  There are many people- white and black- who held different views on the verdict, based on different concerns.

by orestes 2009-07-24 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: You're probably right on that one

t for the most part most people were not yelling racism as far as I can tell other than the press. this is an issue of attribution in which the minority is blamed for the thought processes of the majority. What you describe is correct- this would be wrong regardless of race. Yet, who turned it into a racial incident? i don't believe Obama did. i believe the press did. I believe people who are saying "well , somehow this is not a clear cut case of overstep are showing their issues with race." Id o not believe, necessarily,t hat hte cop is a racist. I do, however, think as I say below that this is one of those rorshachs that tells us more about the audiences views on race than the speaker or actors involved in the actual story.

by bruh3 2009-07-24 11:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Shocked, just Shocked to hear that is your

I assume you decried Bush's meddling in the Schiavo case, correct?  I certainly did.  I think equally in this case the President should refrain from making public judgments without the benefit of hearing all of the evidence.  It is the prudent thing to do.  

by orestes 2009-07-24 11:34AM | 0 recs
I used the Schiavo example earlier

But, we are talking QUITE A bit of scale difference here.

Bush flew back from vacation to sign a congressional bill JUST to placate the RR.

He didn't do that for thousands injured in Katrina.

Now, the equivilant would have been for Obama to DEMAND this cop be fired?

See the difference in scale?

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: I used the Schiavo example earlier

I agree there are obvious differences of scale.  But would you prefer that the president refrain from drawing conclusions on events about which he does not have enough information?  I would.

by orestes 2009-07-24 12:08PM | 0 recs
I will agree, might have cost him politically

but I think he answered it from his gut.

And, again, I think, IF I was black, I might have smiled, after GENERATIONS of White politicians who ALSO didn't have the facts, immediately defending the cops.

Kind of depends which side you bread is buttered on?

But as with all things Obama, let's see where this ends.

I will promise you, the OUTRAGE at Gates coming to the WH will light up right wing talk radio for days.


I think this "Post Racial" BS someone stated on this thread is crap.

I did a thread about the Birthers, whom I see as a stunningly racist group.

America is STILL a very racist country IMHO, electing Barack was a positive step, but look at the hundreds of thousands who can't deal with it.

Again, kind of depends on the lens you view the issue of race with....

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 12:23PM | 0 recs
Re: I will agree, might have cost him politically

See, my problem is that if we really want to move forward on race issues, we cannot accept that it's okay for Obama to do it because scores of white politicians did it.  You need only go so far back as Guiliani to cite a prime example.  This kind of approach involves a tit-for-tat and that gets nowhere because it merely tries to supplant one dominant force with another.  And it is a natural response for the formerly dominant force to want to reassert itself.  So, you end up with a vicious circle.  More importantly, you lose all moral authority.  I frankly dismay at people's inability to recognize this basis truth.

I had this problem in law school.  Some of the women I befriended identified themselves as feminists, but their goal was to supplant male hegemony with a female hegemony (at the time McKinnon was the rage) through such things as using "female" conflict resolution methods, such as consensus.  They were quite vocal in their criticims of men in the program for exhibiting traditional male behaviors, etc.  I saw this approach as an attempt to grab power, not to have opportunites shared on the basis of ability.  I tend to view this problem as an afflication of the bourgeoisie who reduce everything to a commodity to be bought and sold.

by orestes 2009-07-24 12:37PM | 0 recs
How about cutting black people a little slack

or giving them a little head room.

Orestes, when Obama's parents had him, in, what, 23 states in the union, they could not have been legally married due to miscegenation laws?

I think us white people are little to quick to say, HEY, racism all over?

Thats how the John Roberts SCOTUS Group lives.

To me, too soon; When my kid is my age, let's check in again.

Till then, I think anyone like Gates, who grew up in very dark time for racial harmony, is going to carry scars.

Obama less so, but, of course, he is an inadequate black male!

And, his wife is a Baby-Mamma...

We are moving the right direction, but I think it's very white of us to call it all good, game over.

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 01:25PM | 0 recs
Re: How about cutting black people a little slack

What do you mean about cutting black people a little slack?  I made no comment about black people.  I was responding to YOUR comment.  YOU are the one saying it's okay to play a tit-for-tat.  Do you now speak for black America?  

Furthermore, I certainly never said racism is over.  Implicit in my comment is just the contrary view.  I am arguing that to resolve these problems (or at least to attempt to do so), we have to adopt the moral position of equality and justice for all.  If I understand your point, you are arguing that we need to reverse the balance (at least for the foreseeable future) before we can work towards harmony.  This is morally indefensible for two reasons:  First of all, it gives someone or some group the right to be the moral arbiter for all others (someone has to decide what is acceptable reversal and what is not and how long it is aceptable for it to continue.  I sense you have reserved that position for yourself).  Secondly, it is simply counterproductive to the stated goal.  How can you purport to endorse equality and justice for all and then say, well, some people will have more justice than others until I say stop.  You are basically arguing for the status quo but with power dynamics reversed.  How do you argue the moral rightness of your position under these circumstances?  More importantly, how do you get people to sign on?  I would very much appreciate your response to these questions.

by orestes 2009-07-24 03:41PM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

Apologize for what exactly? Stating the obvious? The cop screwed up whether Gates was black, white or green.

Stop and think about it. Gate's crime consisted of a POP (Pissing Off Police).

Crowley (arresting officer) made a classic error allowing a cranky old man get under his skin. The charge, disorderly conduct, would not hod up since under MA law and in most other states. Disorderly Conduct only applies when the conduct takes place in a public space. Gate's home, including his front porch, constitutes Gate's home not a public space.

Gate's may have been rude in getting in the officers face, but rude is not a crime Crowley needed to be the bigger person here and just ignore Gate's rants and walked out once Gate's  ID had provided and verified.

by jsfox 2009-07-24 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

not a bigger person, just one who does his job, and only arrests people who break the law, not those who exercise their rights to free speech.  

by anna shane 2009-07-24 09:46AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

Yes, it is unprecedented for a President to discuss the rule of law and how it should be enforced. How dare he. Wait- that can't be right. You are nothing if not predictable in showing up to spew this sort of tension.

by bruh3 2009-07-24 11:27AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

I sure wish there had been some kind of national consensus that it was inappropriate for Nixon and Reagan to weigh in on the side of the white guys in all those racial conflicts of the past.  Somehow it never worked out that way though.

by Steve M 2009-07-24 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

Some of those who support Gates and some in the media who fall on that side have already come to the conclusion that its a case of racial profiling , its not entirely clear that was the case...

I don't think Reagan would have weighed in on such matters in such a bizarre fumbling manner...He says he is biased because the man is his friend and he doesn't have the facts of the case , then comes to the conclusion the cops acted stupidly. Its not hard to figure he is asking for trouble..

by lori 2009-07-24 09:34AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

I think it is unwarranted for anyone to jump to the conclusion that it was racial profiling.

However, I don't think it's a leap of faith to say that when an old guy gets handcuffed and arrested on his front porch for doing nothing but arguing, the cop acted stupidly.  Keep in mind it took the city about half a second to decide charges should not be filed.  The cop is supposed to be the cooler head and it doesn't matter whose story you believe, he blew it here.

by Steve M 2009-07-24 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

You may or may not be right on that score . However the question is whether it is appropriate for Obama to weigh in the way he did especially considering the office he holds and considering he said he doesn't have the facts...

by lori 2009-07-24 09:51AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

all the facts, but not all were in dispute. The police guy defended his actions to the press, he thinks it's against the law for citizens to be 'rude' to him. Do you agree?  

by anna shane 2009-07-24 09:54AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

I would defer to Steve on that one , he is a legendary lawyer .

However I would think you could potentially be arrested for disorderly conduct , disturbing the peace or resisting arrest especially on public property.

I don't know if Gates actions rose to that level .

by lori 2009-07-24 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

that's not in dispute, he was on his own property. That's what Barack referred to in characterizing the arrest as stupid. If they hadn't immediately dropped the charges they would have been liable for wrongful arrest.  I expect the police guy's superiors are not happy that he defended his actions to the press. I expect he'll be apologizing, and that Gates will let it go with that.  It's been educational for some.  

by anna shane 2009-07-24 11:15AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

So , one has to be a lawyer to determine whether it is okay to disagree with a cop? Not, do anything physical ,b ut state one's opinion to the cop? WHat country do you live in?

by bruh3 2009-07-24 11:29AM | 0 recs
Again, Lori TRY to look at this from the otherside

Do you think there was ever a situation where a politician weighed in SUPPORTING THE WHITE COPS without knowing the facts?

Any chance you can possible admit THAT happened ever, in white America, or the last 50 years?

Again, when was THAT the default, and only black people complained, was there all this outrage about from the White People.

I know it's scary for a lot of white people to understand the black experience, and maybe it's good that some people COULD just for an instance understand exactly that.

That Black PEOPLE in this country have seen WHITE politicians standing up ALWAYS for the Cops, when they didn't know that facts..

Because, as you know, many times FACTS are open to interpetation....

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 09:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Again, Lori TRY to look at this from the other

I won't dispute there might have been instances of that . I am just saying it is strange and inappropriate for any President to weigh in with such language especilly considering the circumstances.

He might have lit a fire that would be hard to put out . He is the President and he is usually more measured with his words ..

by lori 2009-07-24 10:16AM | 0 recs
Well to paraphrase Billy Joel

He didn't start the was always burning since the world was turning.

Look, I would not be surprised if Obama does apologize or pull back.

But, I will be disappointed if he does.

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 10:36AM | 0 recs
You know what's strange and inappropriate

a reporter asking that question in a press conference about health care.

Lynn Sweet set a trap he couldn't get out of...when are we going to learn the media is trying to ruin us?

by DTOzone 2009-07-24 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: You know what's strange and inappropriate

I agree the question was stupid, but it wasn't a trap that Obama could not get out of.  He could have simply demurred by stating that he did not know all of the facts and then made a general statement about fairness under the law or some such.

by orestes 2009-07-24 11:42AM | 0 recs
Eh, that would've been less damaging

but the story would have been "Why is Obama afraid to comment? Is he afraid of race issues? Why is our first black President avoiding this important racial issue? Is he a coward?"

In my experience working in the media tells me they were looking to drive this story somehow to knock healthcare off the headlines, they would have found a way to do it...badger him with the question until he gave an answer...they wouldn't have let it go.

There would have been meetings Thursday morning in conference rooms at ABC, NBC, CNN, etc with producers and reporters asking "What can we do to get an answer from the President on this. How can we keep this story alive? People will be more interested in this than healthcare"

by DTOzone 2009-07-24 01:10PM | 0 recs
Oh, please

You're argument is ridiculous.  Sure, you can come up with any potential play on the issue, but how about providing some support for why this would be the media discussion based on more than the mere possibility or your personal experience (as I don't find it a reliable indicator of anything based upon your assertion that NYC is not experiencing a recession because baseball stadia are not empty).  Reference to past comparable instances would be helpful in this regard- particularly considering Obama has very directly addressed race in the past.  

by orestes 2009-07-24 01:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, please

I find your post confusing: are you saying that the Gates questions were relevnt to the healthcare disucssion or for that matter that the reporter was not trying to create a narrative, or that answers do not always matter with regard to how the media constructs narrative? Becuase if that's the case, I disagree. The media constructs narratives that have nothing to do with reality all the time.

by bruh3 2009-07-24 01:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, please

Of course, I do not think the question was relevant to the health care discussion.  I don't know the reporter's motive, but I assume it has to do with their preference to discuss minor  "hot" issues rather than real issues that would require them to read and develop some understanding of the subject matter.  My comment was in response to the claim by the previous poster that the media would have in fact made those claims against Obama if he had demurred.  One could argue they "might" have done that, but the poster likes to speak in absolutes, which I would not accept without evidence to support such statements.  Part of my response is motivated by a previous discussion in which the poster argued there was no recession in NYC because among other things, the unemployment rate was slightly lower than the national average.  Accordingly, I prefer to discuss discernible facts or supported conclusions in the place of bald, unsupported statements.  Hope this clears up any confusion.

by orestes 2009-07-24 02:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, please

Yes. I think he overstates his case, but he is right to be suspect with regards to how the media likes to manufacture temporary dramas to to drive emotional narratives that they know will sell ads in between the infotainment. Although I am not sure what would have happened here, I can be certain that this tendency to use these situations in manipulative and often down right dishonest ways is one of the reasons msm is not something I trust. I watch showsn, and often find myself wanting to yell at the screen because as someone who follows certain issues, and if they cover them on tv, i know they are at best trying to go for sensationalism, and at worse lying or are completely ignorant of the subject. i find it hard to believe in most of the cases I can think of that they were truly ignorant. I just think they choose the view that would create the most drama.

by bruh3 2009-07-24 06:40PM | 0 recs
I worked for ABC and PBS during the Rev. Wright fact I knew the makeup lady who did Rev. Wright's makeup for the Bill Moyers interview (Moyers was purposely trying to sabatoge Obama because he was upset at him)...I sat in meetings with other producers as we figured out how to make it a bigger issue because we had six weeks until the Pennsylvania primary to fill...and everytime we brought up Rev. Wright, viewership soared. That interview was the highest rated Moyer's episode in years.

by DTOzone 2009-07-24 05:06PM | 0 recs
It may not even be about race

I've seen cops do this in New York, I've seen them and heard of them arresting white people, hispanics, black cops arresting blacks.

It's about power and the cops consistently abuse it.

by DTOzone 2009-07-24 10:47AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

The incident probably was not racially related. But the behavior subsequent by those who rush to argue that Gates was somehow wrong is certainly one about race. As is the media's coverage and that of conservatives. Implicit is this belief that there is something suspect. What is that thing that is suspect here about the situation.?

by bruh3 2009-07-24 11:32AM | 0 recs


You're talking about the man who kicked off his campaign to the tune of State's Rights in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Do you know why that was significant and what that dog whistle was all about?

Yes, old Ronnie was just the perfect example of staying perfectly racially balanced and NEVER playing a subtle race card.

To be honest, I think either Bush was more racially sensitive then Ronnie, who knew EXACTLY what he was doing, when he was doing it.

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 09:42AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

barack didn't say that, there are lots of instances of anybody being arrested for a no-crime of not being deferential to some police officer.  the point is Gates didn't commit any crime, and he was on his own property, so there was no credible rationale that his behavior might have incited other's to throw fruit or join in, which is at least a minimal rationale for 'disorderly conduct.'  

Skip the racial profiling charge Barack didn't make and stick to, is it against the law to speak freely to anyone, including the police?  If it's not, is it stupid for a police officer to decide he has the right to arrest anyone who lacks proper deference to his badge and his power?

It's a real question, a challenge, where do you draw the line on our freedoms?  

by anna shane 2009-07-24 09:42AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

In that case, it is not stupid, it is unlawful.  Stupid is a moral, not legal, judgment.  I think we are all in agreement that the police should not engage in unlawful conduct.  Unfortunately, that has little impact on what happens on the streets everyday in nearly all neighborhoods in America.

by orestes 2009-07-24 11:48AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

that was the feedback, that stupid was going too easy on him.  

by anna shane 2009-07-24 02:39PM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

The President never called this a case of racial profiling.  He said he wasn't sure what, if any, role was played by race.  He felt the police acted stupidly in arresting a man who had not broken into his own home.

by psychodrew 2009-07-24 10:24AM | 0 recs
That's what I was going to say

in no place did he mention the cops were racist, or that they were acting out of race...just that they acted stupidly...leave it to the media to spin his as a racial thing, just so they can do their "Black in America" specials and increase viewership and ad revenue.

and the stupidity that is America plays right in.

by DTOzone 2009-07-24 10:44AM | 0 recs
It seems fairly self-evident

that when you respond to a burglary report by arresting the purported burglar on his porch after he's shown ID demonstrating it was his own home, and the charges are dropped the next day, that you've acted stupidly.  Hard to imagine any facts that could be added to that scenario to exculpate the cop from the stupidity charge.

Did you note how the officer asked Gates to step outside so he could then arrest him for DC?  That's some great police work right there.

by JJE 2009-07-24 10:50AM | 0 recs
The question Lori, to understand the racial divide

Is, do you think this cop would have arrested a rich White Man in his own home for being belligerent to him?

Of course, there is no answer to that.

But, I truly believe, how you answer that question is largly based on race.

Most of White America is going to think, of course, this was not about race.

I am willing to bet money, black America sees this the other way.

Again, because, even though I was driving that car when we were pulled over, it was not possible for me to feel the same way about those big white cops as the two black members of my band did.

You have legit points, but they are small town conservative WHITE points.

Not saying right or wrong, but we have to at least be willing to admit that.

Black people have seen GENERATIONS of politicians stand up for the white cops without knowing "the facts" if they are ever knowable.

Still, this divide goes on...

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 10:06AM | 0 recs
Please be careful!

I know this was not directed to me, but I would like to address it

Is, do you think this cop would have arrested a rich White Man in his own home for being belligerent to him?

You go on to state that there is no answer to that.  I disagree...there is a very clear answer to that, at least for Officer Crowley.  A white officer who can give mouth to mouth to a black man, and who is generally described by all acquaintances as being a model citizen, is not a racist.  Even Pres. Obama acknowledged that this particular officer is an outstanding officer.

It may be that the answer provided by someone to a particular question depends on his/her race.  However, that does not make the response proper.  I think the preponderance of evidence would indicate that this particular officer is not a racist.  Thus, by extension, anyone who suggests otherwise is ( your own adjective heree...)

by Ravi Verma 2009-07-24 10:29AM | 0 recs

You can read into that, that because of his background, how he would have reacted at that point?

How bout this, and PLEASE dwell on this.

The reports say, Gates played the race card.

I believe it.

But, that MORE makes me expect this cop to have blown it.

How can he call ME a racist, when clearly I am not.  I have proven it time after time.

I will show him...

But, again, my questions was completely hypothetical, NO ONE can know how that turns out.

But, I do think, if you're black or white, you see that hypothetical different.

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 10:47AM | 0 recs
You seem to be reading a lot into a little.

Now, you appear to be saying that the cop blew it because he was falsely accused of racism by Prof. Gates.  I will acknowledge that this is an improvement over what you appeared to be saying before...that the cop may, in fact, have been racist and was showing off a black man.

I do not know if that is what happened... I know I would be pissed if someone accused me of racism.  

But, you could also, perhaps, acknowledge that Prof. Gates blew it himself.  Even Pres. Obama, in his most recent statement (see jsfox's comment below) seems to acknowledge as much.

And frankly, I am stunned that a man of Prof Gates' standing can accuse a cop of racism based solely on an ID demand.  I am surprised that has not gathered more attention.

by Ravi Verma 2009-07-24 11:01AM | 0 recs
You MIGHT be pissed off if someone

accused you of racism.

But, being pissed off someone called you a racist IS NOT a jailable offense in MA, as far as I know.

Gates blew it. The cop blew it.

But, THE COP arrested Gates, HIS was the power hand, HIS was the actionable step.

He could have just walked away.

But what I see from our VERY conservative posters is, ONLY THE COP Was in the right, and deserved an apology.

Oh, and Gates is getting plenty of action.

See Limbaugh, Rush...Beck, Glenn, et all

Because, inspite of what BJJ said, THOSE are who are fanning the flames....

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 11:11AM | 0 recs
Here is what I do and do not know

I do think the cop is not a racist.

I do think he was unfairly accused of racism by Gates, and Gates is an idiot for having done that.

I do think that the cop was pissed.


I do not know if the cop arrested Gates because he was pissed.  The cop claims (and has some evidence backing this up) that Gates was arrested for being a public nuisance, after being told to calm down.  The evidence being cited in support is the account of another cop who was also there, and a partial account of provided by a neighbour who witnessed some of it.  I would like to know more.

But, I definitely do not know that the cop arrested Gates because the cop was pissed.

by Ravi Verma 2009-07-24 11:19AM | 0 recs
Arresting a man

for creating a public nuisance in your own private home...I wouldn't call that stupid, I'd call that borderline fascism.

by DTOzone 2009-07-24 11:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Arresting a man

This movement is a Rorshach to me regarding how people view race. That you even have to explain that in this country is stunning.

by bruh3 2009-07-24 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Arresting a man

I couldn't agree with you more.  I don't know if the incident itself was a racial one, but the reaction to it sure is.  And the fact that you have to explain to so-called conservatives that there's something wrong with arresting someone in their own home for the way they comport themselves is shocking.

by Jess81 2009-07-24 06:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Arresting a man

What they are really doing is pushing for the status quo, and using language that they think will reinforce that status.  When that language, such as now, is applied to everyone- that's when they can not see the similarities. How many times have I heard the far right bitch about government intrusion. And yet, here, it happens with a black guy,a nd suddenly we are the ones rahter than they making a racial issue out of what is basically a case of incorrect application of police power. But, for their purposes it has more value to pretend its about race. This way they can attack President Obama for stating what is essentially the truth. The cop at the very least showed poor judgement as the person of authority in the situation.

by bruh3 2009-07-24 06:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Really?

WSB- your comment is rich.  You challenge the commenter's opinion based upon articulable facts (assuming s/he correctly reflects the record) yet you cast aspersions and impute views to entire races of people on the basis of nothing.  

by orestes 2009-07-24 11:57AM | 0 recs
Hey we are all flying half-cocked here, Oreste

NO ONE who wasn't there has a clue, we are all going Rashamon on this..

I think this is very imformative, and, yup, I admit, I love to throw stuff out just to see how people react.  At least I am honest about it!

You read in your experience in your law class, hell we are ALL filter this through our own lenses.

I am MORE then willing to admit, if I had grown up like Lori, that might be how I felt.

But, by the role of the dice, I probably spent almost as much time with black kids as with white kids. I ended up in a mostly black Jr High and, as I said, most of my bands in HS were multi-racial.

We all bring our backgrounds to this discussion.

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Hey we are all flying half-cocked here, Oreste

I was commenting on your tendency to make sweeping generalizations about others and then to deny the validity of someone else's generalization which was based on (allegedly) reported facts.  That has nothing to do with bringing one's own experience into the discussion.  It's about fairness in the way one debates.  

You state that we all bring our backgrounds into the discussion and that is true in some respects.  However, I would argue that this is precisely the wrong thing to do when discussing race because it reinforces a discussion based solely upon the anecdotal experiences and myopic views of the participants.  Of course, experiences can be used for illustrative purposes because they have informative value, but when they are used to reinforce prejudices and stereotypes they run counter to any valuable debate (eg, well, in my experience white people are racist, black people are lazy, etc.).  You have a strong tendency to engage in these kinds of accusatory statements, at least in these Gates-related threads.  What you seem to fail to realize is that when you make sweeping, damning statements about groups of people you necessarily condone others doing the same thing from their perspective (see right wing talk radio) and no progress is made.    

Furthermore, you appear to express the view that your experience privileges your perspective over others morally.  You state "if I had grown up like Lori, that might be how I felt" which I took to mean, if I didn't have the experience of being around black people in junior high and bands, I might be racist too.  If true, I think this very wrongheaded and smug.  Your comments exhibit a tone of:  well, I've hung around black people since high school, so I have a better understanding of the plight of black people.  If this is not your intention, I apologize, but it really does come off this way.  If it is your intention, I would have to disagree with your belief.  If there is to be an honest debate, all honest views are entitled to the same deference.

If this sounds harsh, please accept my failure at linguistic evenhandedness.  

by orestes 2009-07-24 02:57PM | 0 recs
My comment on Lori meant...

I might have jumped to the defense of the police, and believed that White Cops have tamped out all the racism, etc...

Or, lean that way, given her background or what i know of it.

I am not implying Lori is a racist, far from it.

I have interacted a lot with Lori, and where as she is very conservative for these boards, no way is she a racist, she fairly represents her point, and is way more of nice person then I am. I freely admit, I am a royal pain the butt!

I am saying, it's probably easier to the see the side of the cops in this, based on her background.

My experiences tend to make me look at this differently.

Oh, and, you actually come here trying to be logical and all that?

Crap, that's too much work for me, I have to direct my brain power, limited as it is, other places.

I am shooting this from the hip, basically, many times just going for a reaction on the posts.

I take more time on my diaries, but even there, hell, I am not Stummerson, his are the model of logic and making his point like the academic he is.

Half the time I am just ranting.

I think that is why a lot of people come here, to rant.

IMHO This place changes NO ONES minds, and really, barely moves the conversation too many places.

I just think it's smaller then Kos, and you can recognise the names more.

It's the small coffee shop, compared to the big mall that KOS is.

Peace Out

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 03:08PM | 0 recs
Re: My comment on Lori meant...

Thanks for clarifying.  Peace

by orestes 2009-07-24 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Please be careful!

one doesn't have to be a blatant racist to react to black men with stereotyped thinking. Even black officers have been shown to react more suspiciously toward black men. This is the legacy of slavery.  

by anna shane 2009-07-24 11:19AM | 0 recs

But one IS a blatant racist if one accuses a white cop of racism with nary a shred of evidence to support it.

After all, would the cop have been accused of racism if HE was black ?

by Ravi Verma 2009-07-24 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: True

not blatant, but perhaps wrong.  Today's police have been shown to repress more than just black Americans.   We'll never known if he'd been a white professor, if his neighbor would have called the police or if the officer would have been prone to believe that the fellow really did live in that nice house. I think calling people names isn't nice, it Gates had called him whitey or if he'd disbelieved that the fellow was a police officer after he'd refused to identify himself because he was white and he thought white people were more likely to impersonate police officers, you'd be on stronger ground for your blatant racism opinion.  The fact that he jumped to the conclusion that he would have been believed and would treated with respect had he not been black shows that he has the idea that cops may give people of color a harder time.  Statistically he'd have been right, but in this case he could not know who else this cop would arrest for no crime.  I think he should have accused the fellow of fatheadism.  

by anna shane 2009-07-24 02:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Please be careful!

Please explicate how this is the legacy of slavery.  You've provided the conclusion, but would you also provide the analysis?

by orestes 2009-07-24 01:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Please be careful!

sure. for 400 years black men, women and children were considered to be property, and in order to justify this idea they had to be seen as inferior, not as 'human' as others.  After slavery ended there were still those people who had bought on to such ideas and were loathe to give them up.  If you see racism as wrong, and you once profited by it, then you have to see yourself as being capable of the worst of human behaviors, and so it was easier to justify your ideas by continuing to see black Americans as inferior. Black Americans have always been perplexed by the idea that as a race they are inferior. Fast forward to today, when it's all too easy to see the same arguments, for why blacks are more represented in prisons, why school performance is lower, all the race based genetics ideas of survival of the fittest depend on seeing one race as inferior. Therefore we can have statistics that show 1/3 of all black males will be arrested or incarcerated at least once in their lifetimes and have people saying that's not a sign of racism, it just means black men are more criminal, or dumber, or whatever the new word for inferior happens to be. Or you can have a cop not believing a black man's id, if he lives in a mainly white neighborhood. or a black man driving an upscale car, which is what always happened to my friend, when she was pulled over for any excuse while i was never pulled over. I've gone through sobriety check points after i've had wine at dinner and I wasn't tested to see if I were over the limit.  I'm always presumed innocent, not so some of my friends.  Cause they deserve it?  Cause they are merely exceptions and as part of an inferior race they need to be watched more closely?  Get it?  

Actually study Gates ,and you'll get a clearer picture of this legacy. The fact that you resist seeing it for what it is is of itself suspicious.  Are cops in danger of black professors?   Why do you care so much about the rights of that cop to arrest whomever he likes.  Just askin'

by anna shane 2009-07-24 02:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Please be careful!

Well, you have shown your true colors.  I have never stated nor intimated that I believe or condone the actions of the police officer in this case.  But you're not interested in that, are you?  No, you're interested in being sanctimonious and demonstrating that you're not racist by subtlely accusing others of racism.  So, I am suspicous because I allegedly resist agreeing with you, who must be right because you are so filled with yor own self-righteousness.  Shame on you.

If you read my posts, you will see that I condemn police abuse, having been the victim of it as a 13 year old and having watched my parents be the victim of it as well.  To say nothing of the stories of others I know.  See, my parents had the audacity to question police authority, like Gates, and wound up with a sprained arm (my father) and a 24 hour detention and presentment in shackles (my mother).  Of course, like here, the charges were immediately dropped and a successful civil rights suit ensued.  

But you're not interested in actually reading the substance of my views when it fills you with such a sense of moral superiority to accuse me of being racist.  Who do you think you are?  Shame on you!

See, you are engaging in a nice bourgeois ploy to deflect attention from yourself.  I would bet you grew up in a fairly privileged suburban community, in a nearly all white school and limited experience with those who were socio-economically different from you.  So you feel this need to demonstrate that, oh, no, I'm not racist and I'll prove it by trying to point out that others are racist.  Suffering from guilt, are we?  What are you, 12?  See, two can play your game.  

by orestes 2009-07-24 03:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Please be careful!

just undoing an accidental tr.

by Jess81 2009-07-24 10:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Please be careful!

sorry, I didn't keep track of your personal blogging record, and leaped to the conclusion that you don't think the history of slavery is behind some entrenched 'beliefs' and you do think that we're now post racial. I do tend to wonder about why bloggers weigh in on one issue or another, with passion.  But that was based on not knowing your opinions about what black Americans have had to endure, and assuming you think we're all treated alike. Many of my observations were formed by getting treatment that was special for a white girl, cause my same age sometimes better educated and more affluent friends didn't share my experiences, the contrary actually.  

Empathy is putting yourself in the other guy's shoes, not putting him into yours. I wasn't thinking empathy when I thought, what a weird question, how is it the answer isn't well known to any liberal blogger?  

by anna shane 2009-07-25 11:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Please be careful!

oh, and I didn't even imply that you or anyone else is racist.  I didn't even suggest insensitive, just wondering why this could still be an unanswered question.  

by anna shane 2009-07-25 11:44AM | 0 recs
by jsfox 2009-07-24 10:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama responds to the concern

He apologized, as well he should have.  Good for him.

by Ravi Verma 2009-07-24 10:57AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

Re write what I wrote eslewhere:

"This is all to often what happens with minority versus majority issues, even if it is not the original topic of conversation.

People hear want they want to hear based on their on emotional baggage. Thus, if this were gay rights, and we were discussing oh, say Hate Crimes, someone might say that's not important, and then start talking about the subject of DOMA, although the subject was Hate Crimes or change the subject to how some other issue is more important, although it was not a matter of how one should weight issues.

Why? Because people hear what they want to hear. they will contort language to produce what their mind thinks was said.

I agree that the incident was not about race per se, but the aftermath tells us a lot more about the audience  listening and how they view race. Why?

Because they heard here what they wanted to hear: a situation where a factually black guy was saying something favoring a factually black guy regarding an issue that was in effect non racial, but the cop was white.

So what did they hear? They didn't hear the words , which could be applied to anyone. They attributed the words to race rather than to the idea beneath the words.

by bruh3 2009-07-24 11:49AM | 0 recs
Well Put

This IS a Rorschach test for how you see this;

I see our most conservative posters RUSHING to defend the cops, and to assume there was NO race in this.

I am MORE then willing to admit, I tend to see this from my background of racial incidents, because I have actually BEEN in situations and seen the interaction, the power imbalance, and the fear between black people and white cops.

I said in another thread, as a bony ass irish guy I got my advice on how to deal with the cops from my dad, who was a teenager in Boston many many moons ago.

"Yes, sir. No Sir" Shut up and listen.

But, I was also never worried that, if I happened to be arrested, on my way to the station, those white Irish cops would take me around the corner for a little lesson in humility.

There are plenty of lenses on display here, as Bruh says.

I am MORE then willing to accept mine.

Can our more conservative posters step up to that plate?

Can ANY of you admit, that as much as you keep screaming "Obama didn't know the facts" Black people have seen generations of WHITE politicians step up and defend WHITE COPS without knowing the facts.

And how that reads to blacks in America.

Gates screwed up. He should have backed off.

But, the cop SHOULD have walked away, and because he didn't, the fault was mostly his IMHO.

To say he is blameless and Obama was out of line is interesting, and again, I think reflects that lens that we all have.

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 12:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Well Put

My view is fairly simple: the reaction one should have when taking race out of this is that the cop was wrong to arrest him. I can not see any plausible justification in the U.S. for arresting someone in their own home not because they commited a crime, but because they were opinonated. We can also say common sensewise what Gates should have done, but ultimately, the only person in the incident representing the state was the police. Therefore, he was expected to be held to the higher standard of not using his authority and power to harm a citizen by arresting them when theyhave no committed a crime. that would be true whether gates was black, white or purple. I do not see any non-racial reasons why anyone would conclude otherwise when examining what we know of the case. I often given the rodney king jury as an example of how our perceptions of race can lead to differential treatment.

As I say of that case, to find as the jury did required them to view people of color as able to handle more pain. If they had for one second thought about King like anyone else rather than as the black guy,t hey would not have come to that result. I have no idea what the participants of the beating were thinking. I have no idea what the officer who arresed gates was thinking. He probably was not thinking much at all. But what I do know is the subsequent behaviors tells me a lot about how Americans view race in a damaging way, even when they protest things should not be about race. They are right- it shouldn't be. But their own projections tells us exactly why race still does matter to them even as they deny it.

Or, if you prefer a shorter response: it's differential way they perceive what is acceptable behavior for the state for a black guy versus white. Now, will they admit that bias? i doubt it.

by bruh3 2009-07-24 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Well Put

Two things.  First, Gates was not in his home.  He followed the officer out of his house and then started verbally assulting the officer.  This is not in doubt and both men agree on this.  So, this arrested in his own house is nonsense.  Gates chose to escalate the situation by walking out of his home to verbally assult the officer.

Second, I am just wondering (and i will say my dad was a cop for 20 years) how many black studies professors were killed teaching last year.  Just what number.  143 police officers were killed in the line of duty last year.  Died so as to keep us safe.  Some thing to think about.

When is see Gates is see (Andrew Sterling) a wealthy, spoiled, elitist harvard full Porfessor and didnt he say to the cop "you dont know who I am".

Is it too much for liberals to remember how hard being a police officer is.  Seriously, this is awful and BO was right and how he has stepped back on this.


by giusd 2009-07-24 01:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Well Put

And now the false parsing begins. Like when they looked at individual frames of the King beating to say "see right here he was not really harmed"

Your second point illustrates my point. It's basically a nonsequitur that i am sure in your mind makes sense, but has nothing to do with the discussion other than it allows you to talk about race.

by bruh3 2009-07-24 01:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Well Put

Did you just bring up Rodney King.  Who is bring up race?

Insulting me is boring.  


by giusd 2009-07-24 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Well Put

Yet again illustrating my point. The Rodney King example was used in a specific context but for you - th eonly thing that was in your brain when you read the example was -race.

by bruh3 2009-07-24 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Well Put

So Gates needed to be put in his place?  O-kay.

by Jess81 2009-07-24 06:10PM | 0 recs
I've to applaud the way you made your point..

Well said.

by louisprandtl 2009-07-24 02:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Well Put

Wait- on the other thread your father was from Brooklyn.  Gotta keep it straight.

by orestes 2009-07-24 01:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Well Put


i am still from chicago.  Now and 10 years from now.  And orestes let me be clear.  I am now calling you are lair.  Produce this post.


by giusd 2009-07-24 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Well Put

Shit!!!  I guess i made a mistake here and you were talking about another poster.  So now i must respectively say to orestes i just "acted stupidly".  Sorry.


by giusd 2009-07-24 01:45PM | 0 recs
Might be my dad

Born in Brooklyn, moved to Conn, then Boston as a Teenager.  Met my mom while stationed in a what ever was the precursor to the National Guard back then someplace around NY.

Married my mom and move to White Plains after the war.

Then I showed up and they immediately started moving west.

Probably, with my temper, getting me out of NY was a good move.

BJ seems to want to or have someone punch out my lights, not the first I am sure.

Not that the West Coast has made me mellow.

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

What is most interesting to me in this whole discussion is how much we know about race and how little about class. Obama was wrong and so was Gates. Two men--leave color out of it--were reported to the police as attempting to jimmy open a door. The police arrive and find someone inside who is belliigerent and angry that they investigate what was reported as a robbery in progress. [If the police showed up here when I was attempting to free open a disabled door I would have thanked them.] But Harvard Professor Gates was Incensed. Outraged. Insulting and Harassing. Yes, we do speak politely to police officers--you know why? Because we are respecting the public service they provide. You do not insult a police officer because it is in fact a misdemeanor. It is against the law. Gates broke the law. get it. But no we don't because he cannot be a priviledged asshole Harvard smart ass and be black. No.No.No. He needs our sympathy and protection from the big bad policeman who puts his life on the line daily, teaches classes against racial profiling and believes color should not be a barrier to equal application of the law. Crowley was insulted, but that isn't why he arrested Gatges. He arrested him because by hurling eipthets at him he was breaking the law. Gates thought he was above the law--and he wasn't gonna take no crap from a flunky white cop.  
by linfar 2009-07-24 03:00PM | 0 recs
Which law did Gates break?

Disrespecting a cop?

Do you REALLY THINK a very old black man on his own front porch was creating SUCH A DISTURBANCE that his neighbors were greatly injured?


Is being called WHITEY a misdemeanor punishable by a night in jail in Cambridge?

Or only, if you say that to a cop.

Sorry, If being an A-hole were against the law, the 3 strike rule would have put me away for life.

This was "an arrest of choice" just like Bush's War of Choice in Iraq.

Your argument about Class is intriguing, I will give you that.

You've not convinced me, the better part of discretion is, this cop walks away, no matter what Gates was barking at him.

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 03:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Which law did Gates break?
I will repeat it is a misdemeanor to insult a cop. Further--
I think Crowley goes by the book reagardless of who you are-- white or black, rich or poor, connected or not. Gates, by the way, is not some decrepit old guy. He is an entitled, Harvard prof who expects you to bow down and get out of his way. He verbally assaulted a police officer. End of story. You can't do it. But, yes, it is the class element everyone is missing. How much does Gates earn? Has he published? Is the President his pal? You betcha. And Crowley--how is he connected, huh?--Gates was incensed that a honky cop didn't know who he was and didn't treat his eminence  with the esteem and adulation he has come to believe he deserves. Some black writer has a good take on it in Salon today. But I think so many people are responding to this as if we are talking about a cop bust in Compton and we are not. In fact this couldn't be further from it. This is Harvard privilege and class entitlement outraged by a lack of respect for that entitlement which apparfently includes dissing cops and insulting them for doing their job.
by linfar 2009-07-24 03:40PM | 0 recs
A misdemeanor to insult a cop?

That's the first time I ever heard that.

by DTOzone 2009-07-24 03:46PM | 0 recs
your mother was a hamster

and your father smelt of elderberries

That's got to be at least a class 4 Felony, Monty Python are the worst for insults!

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Which law did Gates break?

It's a case of arresting a man to put him in his place.  End of story.  Everything else is spin, trying to justify the obvious.  Like "verbal assault".  I don't know what that is, but I do know that removing a man from his home and forcing him to spend hours under your control is a real-live act of physical coercion, not some airy-fairy "verbal" variety that you're concocting.  Sometimes it's justified.  But it needs to be justified: you can't just do it because you think someone needs to be taken down a few notches.

And insulting a cop is not an arrestable offense.  I'd love to stipulate that it is though, because then the question is "why didn't Crowley use the law?"  You're just putting him in deeper.

by Jess81 2009-07-24 06:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Which law did Gates break?

it's not, linfar, it's legal to call anyone any name.  In a particular context, when there has been a crime, and when the perp may be inciting a crowd to help him escape, then it could be disorderly conduct, but that's based on the result of the name calling, not the fact of it. This does explain however why some think Gates was the one at fault. If you think it's against the law, then you think disrespecting the cop was breaking a law. We do have cops that think so too, apparently. They're supposed to know.

by anna shane 2009-07-25 11:48AM | 0 recs
You have no idea

what you're talking about.  It is not against the law to "insult a cop."  You're just making stuff up.

by JJE 2009-07-25 05:27PM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

This at huffpo gets at the class stuff: vis/gates-and-crowley-through_b_244385.h tml

And I am truly surprised that most of you do not seem to know that insulting a police officer is a misdemeanor-- I guess I know this because I insulted a fair number of cops in my day :) In LA where I grew up Parker's police were notorious for their racial bias and brutal treatment of blacks. Nobody is saying this doesn't go on. It just didn't go on with Gates...

by linfar 2009-07-24 04:16PM | 0 recs
Um insulting a police officer

definitely isn't a misdemeanor in New York...I know, I've done it before.

by DTOzone 2009-07-24 05:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Um insulting a police officer

Nor in Massachusetts, where this incident took place, nor anywhere else in America where the First Amendment applies, I expect.  Unless it rises to the level of "fighting words" I'm not sure how an insult could be criminalized.

by Steve M 2009-07-24 05:04PM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

Then why didn't Crowley arrest him for it?  You want to add unprofessionalism to the list of things he's already accused of?

by Jess81 2009-07-24 06:15PM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

Nor is it in WA state, wrote my lawyer bud.

Disturbing the peace, interfering with a police investigation, but NOT insulting a cop....

Hey, any of our lawyer types confirm this, how many states is insulting a cop a jailable offense?

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-24 07:52PM | 0 recs

Linfar is talking out her ass.

by JJE 2009-07-27 09:00AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

I have so much to be thankful for. I'm wealthy, healthy, have a great wife, wonderful children, close ties to my siblings, blessed with wonderful parents, raised a liberal Democrat, well-traveled, fantastic work environment with great colleagues, an upcoming early retirement, 3 homes, lots of friends, and no problems sleeping.

What I am most thankful for? Being Born White and Male!

by QTG 2009-07-25 04:14AM | 0 recs
Re: OMG! President Obama is Black!?

because that's made all the difference.

by QTG 2009-07-25 04:15AM | 0 recs


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