I'm back from the Land of Facebook & Twitter, and boy is that a tale to tell. But it'll have to wait, 'cause there's something else on my mind.
Can we stop having hysterics over the Cambridge Police vs. Professor Gates brouhaha already?
I lived in Cambridge for 5 years- it's as far from a racist city as I can imagine, but on the other hand it does have a large, lower-income population of minorities of various races, and there are tensions between the police and some of the neighborhoods. It's a city, and stuff happens.
But enough already with the Blame Game from both sides. What do we really have here? We have a veteran cop, a man who grew up in a poor, mixed Cambridge neighborhood with friends of all races and who was chosen by his African-American superior to teach advanced courses against racial profiling, and we have a distinguished scholar who is known for being humble and soft-spoken.
But the scholar had just moments before the incident returned home from an all-night flight from China, and the officer was in the middle of a long undercover shift. The scholar walked out of his kitchen to be unexpectedly confronted in his own living room by a policeman who demanded to know who he was and what he was doing there. The policeman was confronted by an upset homeowner who was, by all accounts, rather pissed off a being asked for i.d. in his own house.
You can recite all the "just cooperate with the police and they'll cooperate with you" mantras you want, and I've read many of those in the last few days, but I'd really ask anyone to honestly ask themselves what their reaction would be if they walked from their kitchen to their living room and were confronted by a cop asking them what right they had to be there. Add some jet lag and exhaustion to the mix and BOOM!
And, you know, it's not against the law to be rude to an uninvited police officer in your living room. It might be stupid, and it might be silly, but it's not illegal. Sure, perhaps Professor Gates should have reacted by thanking the police officer for checking out a breaking & entering call -I certainly hope that is how I'd react. But it's not illegal to yell at him instead. And let's face it- the officer took out his handcuffs and arrested the professor, suggesting a law was broken.
I don't see the broken law.
But I also don't see racism. I see two tired men losing some of their judgment and escalating a situation. Perhaps it's just best left there. Stuff happens.
Time for some Audrey Tatou.