Okay by now we’ve all heard, or overheard the situation with Henry Louise Gates, Harvard professor and intellectual extraordinaire, who was accused of breaking into his own house. As per the complaint of a neighbor, (who obviously doesn’t know her neighbors well), the popo showed up in full effect and questioned Professor Gates about who he was and what he what doing in the house. After showing i.d., that of course included Gates’ Harvard credentials, proving that he is in fact a card caring member of the “Talented Tenth”, he was still being questioned. And then of course, he was arrested and granted with what seems to be every other Black man’s rite of passage, a mug shot. (cute picture though) The charges have since been dropped, but how the hell does someone come to your house and accuse you of trespassing?
The fanciful notion that because we now have a Black President, the era of racism is coming to a close is surprisingly naïve. Things are better, but all brown folks know that at any given time, for any given thing, we could all get hemmed up. And with Gates being consistently referred to as "prominent", it doesn't matter because rights are rights regardless of "classism".
On “The View” Whoopi Goldberg claimed that this isn’t just a Black issue, and that anyone could be in this situation. Yes, anyone can get a visit from the police but it happens more when you’re brown. That is why it's called racial profiling. (Maybe all that time spent around White men has skewed her perspective a bit?) Goldberg also didn’t like the fact the President said the police acted “stupidly”. She’s more concerned with the word stupid instead of the fact that a Black man minding his own business can still be treated like an intruder on his own property? Well, it is stupid to accuse someone of trespassing on his own property. It’s dumb. And if the President weren’t a brother, would the press have even asked him about this issue?
And the funnier thing about this is that Gates is married to a White woman and some say that he got a “Tiger Woods Wake-up Call” to the fact that no amount of degrees, prestige and White lady linkage can protect a brown person from America’s legacy. Hmmm… And yes, one could say that Professor Gates does come across a bit "booshie" at times, but whatever the deal is with that, Gates’ rights were still violated. Period.
Bottom line, this is where we are being “Black in America”. (Is anybody watching that series on CNN? The first installment was trite and irrelevant. Hopefully this time around it’s more substantive and interesting.)
So if you don’t know, now you know. Know your rights and don’t step off the porch!