Here you are stating that a black, even one as prominent as a Harvard professor, is predisposed to see evil in everything a white person does, based on black history. Well, that certainly makes it quite the situation, doesn't it.....a country where blacks walk around, scarred by 300 years of injustices, distrusting whites. Japanese-Americans, scarred by the thoughts of the Japanese interrment during WWII and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, walking around with a hatred and distrust of whites, native Americans walking around, scarred by thoughts of reservations and genocide perpetrated by the US government, hating whites. I'll tell you what. I can understand the feelings of all of these people. Bob, I have spent a good part of my life either dealing with minorities or being a minority myself. My sympathy for injustices committed against these people in sincere. . .
I need to acknowledge here that this is not the entire quote, and that I am splitting the quote on purpose. To restore the sense of context, though, before I go further, the next part of the quote speaks about how all of this is not an excuse. The "excuse" spoken of in the remainder of the quote reads like it means " an excuse for bad behavior." Having given some notion of the context here, for the sake of folks understanding the whole of Mike's message rather than simply part of it, I'd like to continue dealing with this first part.
You see, yes, I actually do think that this is the situation, at least in part, and that the White folk of this country have cut a wide wound across the history of those peoples we've come in contact with. There is a lot of fear and animosity directed toward Whites for that reason. And as you say, Mike, "that makes it quite the situation, doesn't it[?]"
Well yes it does.
What you leave out is the matching feeling on the part of White folks toward the minorities which enabled us to act in this way toward the minorities in the first place, and which enables us to not notice that they've been excluded from the catalogue here. Or to think that the feelings and actions of Whites don't have a place in this stew of discontent that we're discussing here. Nevertheless, you do have sympathy for these folks. You say so, and I believe you. But you don't see that it carries over into this situation.
My feeling is still that Sergeant Crowley acted correctly. My feeling is that Professor Gates acted poorly. The arrest was appropriate given that the incident was public.
And I still can understand where Gates got his anger and why it came out the way it did. I sympathize with his situation and understand it. There are some real issues to be considered there.
I don't think any of them have to deal with the Professor's guilt or innocence, mind you. He remains responsible for his actual behavior, just as the rest of us are responsible for ours. But the issues are important issues, and they have to do with the presence of racism in this society and the degree to which it affects behavior and judgement by everybody. How close this strain is to the surface with us is the unfortunate incident of the Boston policeman whose apparently intemperate e-mail to the Boston Globe has gotten him suspended from both the BPD and the National Guard.
Whatever the officer's feelings on the matter, the form in which they leaked through to the public seems to be polarizing to say the least. His judgement does seem to have been off pitch here, and that is how close the matter is to expression on a day to day basis in this country.
And many other countries, by the way.
The History that Professor Gates teaches, you see, has consequences. Many people are suspicious of people who have spent time in jail or who have a known history of violent crime. Ex-cons, we call them; and we are very cautious about them, about hiring them, and about their supervision; and we are never quite sure when they will be safe to accept back into society. I don't know if we are right about this or not, but the police that I've known have been cautious of them as well, and don't cut them very much slack, and they will give you reasons for this that they consider good enough reasons.
As far as many of these minorities are concerned — and every member of every minority won't share the view, but a lot of them will — there is a long history of crimes that have been committed against them by white folks, and especially White folks in authority. And their feelings about white folks, especially white folks in positions of authority, aren't all that different than yours would be about a parolee or an ex-con. The debt may be paid, sort of, but it's a good idea to keep a close eye on what's going on to see if the old familiar stuff is going to re-emerge. And a lot of non-White folks are on a hair trigger about this with a lot of evidence to back them up.
How easy is it for an ex-con to build trust with a police officer?
. . . but it will not give them a free pass to do whatever they please and cite hundreds of years of persecution as an excuse.
No, sir, it will not.
Nor do I hear anybody asking for "a free pass to do whatever they please." I find myself quoting YOU here, and you are substituting hyperbole for fact. Why you would quote people who are asking for equal rights under the law as asking for "for "a free pass to do whatever they please" is a puzzle to me. Asking for the right to do the same as White folk have done since the founding of this country is only asking for the kind of outrageous demands that you characterize them as offering if one believes that they do not have a right to equal treatment under the law.
And they do.
Your comments about Judge Sotomajor are difficult for me to fathom. Her ruling went with the majority ruling in the case. Are you telling me that a majority of the whole court was discriminating against White folks? Are you telling me that she was making new law from the bench? From listening to the hearings, even the Republican senators didn't believe that. She was making a ruling based on the law that was presented her and did not go outside that range, which is exactly what Republicans have been asking of all the nominees for years. Did you want her to legislate from the bench, which the Republicans have for many years held was an abomination?
You are going to have to make up your mind here, Mike. Do you want somebody to legislate from the bench and give you the sort of decision that you'd love to have but which was not supported by the points of law in front of the court, or do you want somebody to stick to the law at hand and render a judgement on that?
I mean, all of us want what's convenient for us at the moment, but in this case, we really have to make a choice where our values lie. O'Bama, as a Republican Lite kind of guy, went for strict construction of the law. What about you?
Sincerely, Bob kaven