Isn’t it interesting that, despite the countless ways the White House has interject to interject itself into our lives, President Obama still has time to stoke the fires of racial discrimination. Upon being questioned by reporters about the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. (who has been a long-time friend of the President), Obama commented that James Crowley, the arresting Cambridge, Mass., police sergeant, had “acted stupidly.” He further explained the situation by stating that “there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.” Isn’t it interesting how a president who claims to have broken the racial barriers of our nation is still emphasizing the use of racist practices such as profiling?
Since last November, we’ve been hearing about how the president has fulfilled Dr. King’s dream of having an African-American in the White House. Racial intolerance, especially against African-Americans, is all but history. There are occasional mishaps that occur that require local authorities to intervene and make corrections, but there should never be a word spoken by the president emphasizing the “long history” of racial profiling that officers have worked so hard to eliminate.
I know that Gates perhaps wasn’t the most harmful-looking of characters. I mean, how dangerous can a middle-aged man that uses a cane be, right? After all, he is a Harvard professor and he was in his own house. Yet there was no room for him to belligerently accuse Crowley, who has been deemed a stellar officer with an impeccable history of service along with a career of teaching classes against “racial profiling.” Crowley, summoned to Gates’ residence by a concerned neighbor, asked Mr. Gates to step onto the porch to speak with him. Gates refused and asked if it was because he was “a black man in America.” Gates proceeded to slander Crowley, calling him a racist and saying, “I’ll speak with your mama outside,” a sentiment hardly becoming of a Harvard professor. Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct and hauled off to jail.
If you ask me, Gates deserved his treatment. If he’s going to try and reignite the “glory days” of racial protests by yelling at a police officer, he deserves to cool his jets of in the county clink for a day or two. The officer was summoned by the neighbor under the pretense that two black men were allegedly forcing their way into Gates’ house. Crowley, whose record has already been established, was clearly not there to intimidate nor threaten Professor Gates. Gates clearly needed to take a chill pill in this scenario and perhaps the county lock-up was just the place for him.
I don’t really care if your white, black, blue, yellow, green or purple: if you mouth off to a cop, you’d better be prepared to either back yourself up with some great evidence or be ready to spend some time in a jail cell. That sort of behavior shouldn’t be tolerated, especially coming from a person trying to use race as their get-out-of-jail-free card. To ignore that would only promote the continued use of the Race Card as a legitimate means of acquittal.
What has been even more controversial is that President Obama has stepped into the picture. His involvement has rekindled the flames of the race debate that has long existed in the liberal powder keg of Massachusetts. It is not his place to take sides on an issue like this. It’s micro-managing in the worst form. So now, instead of facing opposition from city or state authorities, the Cambridge police department is facing pressure from the White House of all places.
In my opinion, the comment made by Obama that Cambridge Police “acted stupidly” was, in fact, just as stupid. It was an ill-conceived attempt to garnish the support of minorities to rally behind his resolve to face the “evils” of society. He had stated that he was unaware of all the facts regarding the arrest, but the fact that he criticized Cambridge P.D. so harshly and so publicly has left him wide open for criticism from many different sources. If you ask me, he deserves the heat. When we’re faced with national issues of rising health care costs and economic depression, how can he possibly think to stoop down and pass judgment on one local issue, despite his personal ignorance to all the facts? Do we really need to fall back into the hole of racial discrimination to bolster up the declining approval ratings for the greenhorn president? If so, talk about digging through America’s couch cushions to find a few loose coins of controversy to fund his presidency.
When asked about his comments in the following days, Obama was surprised about the amount of controversy that his comments have sparked. Asked if he stood by his comments that the Cambridge police had acted stupidly, he did not give a clear cut answer but alluded to other issues facing the nation (deservedly so since he’s been eaten up by his last “stupid” statement).
It really isn’t the time for our Commander-in-Chief to be making little pit stops in the local affairs of our cities to pass his own judgment on affairs that involve personal friends. Most recently, after taking several days of intense criticism for his statements, the President phoned Crowley and went back on his original criticisms of the officer and expressed an interest in having both Gates and Crowley to the White House to share a beer over the subject. Now that’s diplomacy! Settling things over a pint (funny how it all returns to alcohol). It’s almost laughable how the President has retreated the moment people disapproved of his statements, even though he didn’t expressly apologize for his words about the Cambridge police department.
Some may deem this article as overly critical and opinionated, but since it is an “opinion” column, I’ll deal with the accusation of being overly critical. Underneath this whole mess lies an underlying problem: Our president, despite his claims of being fair and equal, still seems to be stoking the flames of racism by emphasizing his own ethnicity and commenting on misunderstandings such as the Gates/Crowley incident. If only Dr. King could see us now.
Jess Jones is a conservative political columnist for Rhombus.
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