Daily Archives: July 21, 2009

Racial profiling or yet another media op for Al Sharpton and/or Jesse Jackson?

In this photo taken by a neighbor Thursday July 16, 2009 Henry ...

Associated Press photo

In this photo taken by a neighbor of his, Henry Louis Gates Jr., the director of Harvard University’s W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research, is arrested at his home in Cambridge, Mass., on July 16. Police say they were responding to a call of a break-in at Gates’ home, while Gates reports that his front door was stuck and that he had problems opening it. Police say that Gates was uncooperative with them (to put it mildly) and that they arrested him for disorderly conduct.

So a famous black scholar apparently was arrested when he was uncooperative with police who were responding to a call that his house was being burglarized by a couple of black men. (Gates says that his front door was stuck shut and that he asked a driver to help him get it open.)

Was it racial profiling or not?

Gates says it was.

Now, I’m a white guy. If my front door were stuck and I had to force my way into my own house, and someone had called the cops to report that he or she had seen someone breaking into my house, I might not be happy to see the cops arrive; after all, I’m no burglar and it’s my own house.

But you know, I probably would cooperate with the cops, realizing (duh!) that if they’d received a report of a break-in and found me inside, they wouldn’t know whether I were the rightful occupant of the home or whether I were a burglar. I wouldn’t attribute it to my race.

If I refused to cooperate with the cops, yelling at them and demanding to see their identification and calling them names, as Gates reportedly did, I would expect to be arrested.

Of course, the cops can’t win, can they? If they had ignored the call that Gates’ home was being broken into, wouldn’t they also have been labeled as racist?: Those racist cops just let the black guy’s house get burglarized!

“It never would have happened [to a white person] — imagine a white professor, a distinguished white professor at Harvard, walking around with a cane, going into his own house, being harassed or stopped by the police. It would never happen,” Gates huffed.

The cops “harassed” Gates? Asking him to show identification because they’ve been called to a possible burglary at his home is “harassment”?

I don’t know Gates, but my guess is that he’s a perpetual “victim,” looking to pull the race card out at every fucking opportunity.

People who cry wolf, like Gates appears to have done, make it more difficult for actual victims of racial profiling and other forms of racism and discrimination.

P.S. Of course Al Sharpton has injected himself into this; it’s what he does:  “victimhood” by proxy. But more interestingly, the Boston Herald’s website gives more details of Gates’ arrest:

A witness, 40-year-old Lucia Whalen of Malden, had alerted the cops that a man was “wedging his shoulder into the front door” at Gates’ house “as to pry the door open,” police reported.

A law enforcement source said Gates apparently had locked himself out. When Sgt. James Crowley arrived, he said Gates already was inside. But when he was asked to provide identification, Gates allegedly snapped, “No, I will not!”

Police said Gates’ front-porch tirade about racism “alarmed” passers-by drawn to the uproar outside his Cambridge home.

As Crowley tried to question him, police said Gates bellowed, “This is what happens to black men in America!”

Crowley claimed in his report he tried to calm Gates, but wrote that Gates “shouted, ‘You don’t know who [you’re] messing with!”

After calling Crowley “a racist,” according to police reports, the professor was charged with disorderly conduct and released for a $40 fee….

The 58-year-old Gates sounds like a real piece of work. Clearly, baby-boomer assholism crosses racial lines.

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LOVIN’ the teaser for Michael Moore’s new anti-corporate documentary

Michael Moore’s new film is called “Capitalism: A Love Story,” and it’s set to be released on Oct. 2.

It’s so “socialist!” and I’m so there.

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I’m NOT your ho, Mista President

obama-pimp.jpg image by kslaughter_01

A good e-friend of mine of several years asked me in an e-mail yesterday if I’m going to blog in support of President Barack Obama’s health care plan, as Obama has asked bloggers to do.

Um, no, I told my friend.

First of all, I don’t even know what Obama’s health plan is — and I’m not alone. I would need to learn a lot more before I could strongly support or oppose that plan, and that Obama apparently is trying to ram his plan through Congress before September raises a red flag for me. 

Secondly, though, even if I did know what his health plan is, my bachelor of science in journalism instilled in me a strong preclusion from allowing any public official to direct me to write this or write that (or not to write this or that) for his or her political benefit.

When I was earning my print journalism degree, we journalism students used to mock the public relations students (mostly behind their backs) — PR are the first two letters of “prostitute,” after all. We journalism students saw ourselves as guardians of the truth*, and we young idealists were willing to accept the low salary of newspaper journalists. We saw the PR students, who could make a lot more money in PR than they could in journalism, as sellouts willing to mangle the truth for their corporate overlords for cold, hard cash.

My idealism isn’t completely dead even some 20-odd years later, so: Obama won’t be pimping me.

Yes, I’m a blogger, not a journalist in the strict sense of the word.

But blogs have lost all value to democracy and to the free marketplace of ideas when they cease to be independent and critical and start to take marching orders from government officials.

Obama doesn’t get it. Or, more frighteningly, maybe he does.

I get it that political blogs really got their start with the Howard Dean campaign. I was there blogging when that started, in late 2002 and in 2003. The Dean campaign and the Dean campaign’s support throughout the blogosphere (well, I supported John Kerry all along, seeing him as much more likely to defeat George W. Bush in 2004) were a reaction against the damage that the unelected Bush regime had done to the nation, especially its launch of the illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War in March 2003.

But somewhere along the line, the purpose of left-of-center political blogging got lost. Left-of-center political blogs started out being critical of the unelected Bush regime. Now, many if not most LOC political blogs have become mouthpieces for the Obama administration, which rather simply inherited the infrastructure (especially the Internet infrastructure) and the good will of the former Deaniacs.

Blogs are useful only if they can be critical of public officials and of the government when it’s necessary.

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it,” said Mark Twain.

At least where his health care proposal is concerned, I’m not sure whether Obama deserves my support, and he’s not getting it just because he has asked for it — in fact, he’s not getting it especially because he has asked for it and because he has put a tight deadline on it.

P.S. I’ve seen enough to make me skeptical of Obama’s health care proposal, in case you think I’m just being difficult.

P.P.S. My boyfriend thinks that this piece is racist. Meh. I didn’t create the concept of the pimp and the ho, but I am just using that pre-existing cultural material to make my point, which is that I’m pissed off at Obama for trying to pimp me out. My problem with Obama is not that he’s (half-)black; my problem with him is that he shamelessly is trying to pimp me and other bloggers out. 

*Of course, most newspapers are owned by corporations and so there is no true free speech at most newspapers — what newspapers are left, anyway — but that’s another blog post…

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