Email This Article
Your Name:
Your Email:
Email To:
1 + 3 = ?: (Required) Please type in the correct answer to the math question.

You are sending a link to...
More on the Gates affair

Today it comes out that:

1) On Sgt. Crowley's arrival on scene, he radioed in a message that Henry Louis Gates Jr. was belligerent, and that backup officers were required to handle the scene, and

2) The woman (Lucia Whalen) who called in the original 911 call did not mention the race of the men whom she saw forcing the door open on the house.  When prompted by the dispatcher, she offered that one of the men may have been Hispanic.  Whalen has been castigated on many pro-Gates blogs for being a racist.

But the conversation has already conveniently morphed from whether Crowley was a racist for arresting a belligerent and uncooperative Gates for obstructing a simple investigation, to a litany of stories from the public about the time ___ years ago in ___ state where they were treated poorly by a racist cop.  The apparent implication is that if enough examples are given, then by induction we may infer that Crowley is a racist.

But if we're using inductive reasoning, the conversation is conspicuously missing the converse side:  a litany of police officers' examples for all time in all places of cases where people caught allegedly breaking into houses were in fact later found guilty.  Some of those people may have been persons of color, and/or well-educated, and/or respected members of their community.  Some of them might not have fit into any of those apparently unreproachable groups, but may have initially lied to the police when detained.

There is also an unstated assumption in all these cases.  Blacks who are mistreated by white officers assume that their rude treatment is due to their race, when in fact the officer may just be generally cynical and surly, and may treat white suspects with equal contempt.  Even more shocking are the whites who call or write in to criticise police for the respectful and deferential treatment they received by investigating officers, which they again attribute to racism.

Racism exists.  Both in the overt swastika-tatooed skinhead form, and in the quiet suburban country-club form.  But false cries of racism also exist, as do attempts to use the cry of "racist" as a way to immediately silence all criticism, no matter how objectively justified  The case of Gates v. Crowley, or Gates v. Whalen, falls firmly in the case of the latter, according to published accounts.