As I listened to the news reports about Professor Gate’s arrest, I had to let it marinate in my head for a bit before coming to a conclusion. At first it sounded like a comical scene from a movie, but the more detail I heard about his arrest, the more familiar it sounded. This was exactly the kind of treatment that I and my friends received while homeless or otherwise living in poverty. Cops routinely treated us with contempt, and anything less than total subservience was met with brutality and/or arrest. This is the way the Police treat non-whites and poor whites. Every day. As a matter of routine.
No matter what the report was that the cops got about an intrusion, once they ID’d Professor Gates, it was clear that they were in the wrong. However well intentioned, they had intruded into his home and harassed him. The appropriate, really only, acceptable response to that situation is to apologize profusely. Extremely profusely.
As I listened to the news story, I closed my eyes, and imagined if this had happened with a rich, white older man. The only thing I could see was the obsequious deference that police and other civil servants routinely afford their social superiors.
Every time I hear about a black Professor, Newscaster or Congress Woman being arrested on flimsy to no charges, I can’t help but wonder how the cops could really be so dumb.
Don’t they know that you can treat the poor of any color this way, but these days rich blacks and minorities have connections? And money for lawyers?
I guess it just proves that color is skin deep, but ignorance goes to the bone.