Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The officer was not a wise Latina

The idea that police, or judges, or any profession should include a diversity of racial and ethnic groups outraged Republicans in the recent Sotomayor hearings. At least Judge Sotomayor's expression of this idea, the "wise Latina" speech, absurdly became the focus of their baseless charge that she was racist.

Now comes news that, yesterday at about noon, Harvard history professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested in his own home by a Cambridge police officer investigating if the house was being burglarized. The white officer felt that Gates was not deferential enough to him. (Read here.) At the time of his arrest, Gates was in the process of trying to identify the police officer (who had refused to show his badge or i.d.) and was calling the chief of the Harvard Police. The arrest appears to have been designed as much to prevent Gates from filing a complaint against the officer as to punish the distinguished African-American professor for talking back to a white policeman.

Here is what I would like to ask the Republicans who raked Judge Sotomayor over the coals for her "wise Latina" speech. Do you think that a wise African-American police officer would have made a better decision than that made by this white one?


Anonymous said...

A question: would the charges against a white man who was arrested for disorderly conduct be so quickly dropped, and the juicy police report, which appeared shortly in the public domain, have been so quietly removed from public view?

New headline: "Charges Dropped: Prominent Black Man's Whining Terrifies District Attorney"

Adam Holland said...


In the bizarro world of the right-wing in this country, where up is down, and Limbaugh and/or Buchanan are sages, only white men are allowed to charge that they are victims of racism. You seem all too ready to join that deluded chorus. You claim that a white man who was arrested for being too loud while identifying himself as the owner of the allegedly burglarized home wouldn't have recieved the wonderful treatment that Gates got. That's the crux of your argument, yes?

Are you nuts?

Name one instance of a comparable case with the races of the parties reversed. And name one white person (or any person) who would want the preferential treatment you claim Gates recieved. Your argument is completely ridiculous.

Contrary to what you wrote, this case was dropped by the police before it even got to the D.A. That's because they know that the eyes of the world are upon them and they really messed up bad. They know that no D.A. would ever prosecute such a case, no grand jury would ever sign off on it and no judge would ever hear it. Their big worry now is how to deal with the aftermath of this, be it political, legal or both.

Now why don't you stop your whining!

Chris Lowe said...

Thanks for the rejoinder Adam, well put.

For the record, Gates' middle name is Louis.

But sorry for quibbling over an excellent post.


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