Dear Funky Unc, what do you think about the incident with Professor Luis Gates and the Cambridge police department? I am a New Orleans transplant who lives in Boston and the last two weeks have been dominated by incendiary talk of the incident in the local and national media here. Also what do you think of President Obama's comment calling the Cambridge police department stupid? What happened to Can't We All Get Along?
Kevin in Boston.
Dear Kevin, I don't think much of it. It's much ado about nothing compared to what we really need to be focusing on. I wasn't there and I haven't heard the "tapes" so this is my partially informed opinion. The media and certain personalities (or lack thereof) have made a lot of money stoking the fires of this incident and others that have been controversial and or dealing with race.
From what I know of the incident, both Professor Gates and the officer should have used better judgment. When interacting with the police I don't care what color you are, how much money you have, where you live, or where you teach, you should use intelligence and restraint. As an officer of the law, once you find out someone lives at the residence you are investigating and they have proof of residence, you move on. Sounds like a pissing contest to me.
Obama did not call the Cambridge police department stupid, he said the officer acted stupidly. In any event he should not have used the word stupid and I'm sure Michelle got into that ass and checked him on it when he got home that night. Probably had to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom that night.
This country has a long way to go in discussing and dealing with the race issue. If we spent more time talking to each other to find solutions, as opposed to shouting and pointing fingers at each other we could have a more productive dialogue on this and the other serious issues in this country.
Black and brown males are killing each other on a daily basis in epidemic numbers in cities across the country, children of all colors are not getting an adequate education, and millions of people of all races, creeds and colors are without health care in the most prosperous country in the world and we put two weeks of energy into this foolishness.
The preachers and civil rights leaders whom are the first to yell racism where ever there is a live camera and mic should have the same zest in protesting the issues that directly impact their communities on a daily basis instead of ambulance chasing to get their fifteen minutes of face time. There are injustices that still happen on a daily basis but get your facts straight before you yell fire in a crowded room. The extreme right wing nut cases on the other side are to be simply ignored. They have very little constructive to say and make a lot of money giving out flat out wrong information to their equally uninformed audience.
Unless you live under a rock, everyone knows racism in alive and well in America and so is prejudice. (If you don't know the difference, pull out yo Websters). Any one can be prejudice or racist. No one group has the patent on this ignorant behavior. I see black on black and rich on poor prejudice everyday. You can go any where in the world and find that somebody don't like somebody else who looks different from them, pray different from them or eat different from them.
Profiling ain't going no where either. It's a subconscious act. We all do it every day. (Since 9-11, tell me you don't keep an eye on the brown person wearing a turban getting on the same plane with you). Sometimes it's a defensive mechanism, sometimes it's ignorance. If I would have profiled my fourth wife a bit more thoroughly I wouldn't have had to spend $5,700 dollars on four new tires and a paint job for my Caddy.
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