Tag Archives: Henry Louis Gates

Obama, Gates & Crowley | By Kevin Alexander Gray

The ProgressiveCitizens have the right to talk back to the police

President Barack Obama reached the wrong conclusion on the controversy between the police officer and the professor.

He said both people overreacted, and by bringing them to the White House for beers, he sought to make the controversy go away.

Instead, as someone who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, he should have taken an unequivocal stand for free speech.

Citizens in this United States have the right to talk back to the police. The cops are not the Gestapo. We should not conclude from this incident that we need to be more servile. Instead, we should conclude that police abuse their authority when they slap a “disturbing the peace” or “disorderly conduct” charge on someone who is standing up for his rights.

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Stand in Solidarity with Prof. Gates! Say NO to Racism!

Bail Out The People Movement

Stop Racial Profiling and Police Brutality!

Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Was Right!

The Cambridge Cops Must Apologize!

Youth Need Jobs & Schools – Not Jails!
Demand a Justice Department Investigation of Racial Profiling Across the US!

Sign the Online Petition.
http://www.bailoutpeople.org/gatespetition.shtml  (text of online petition)

Let President Obama, Attorney General Holder, Massachusetts Governor Patrick, Cambridge Mayor Simmons, the Cambridge City Council, Cambridge Police Commissioner Haas, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, Congressional Leaders and members of the media know you stand against racism with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and you want the Obama administration to launch a national investigation into racial profiling and police brutality NOW!

The arrest of Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. by a Cambridge police officer after showing two forms of identification after he, along with a Black limo driver, had unjammed the lock to the front door of Gates’ own house in a predominantly white, upscale neighborhood known as “Harvard Square” has brought the struggle against racism to the front pages of newspapers throughout the US and around the world.

The Cambridge Police Department and their racist allies have worked overtime to slander and vilify Prof. Gates. But his only crime was in fact to resist the racist arrogance of the Cambridge Police and not acquiesce to their racist and unjust treatment of him. The torrent of racist vitriol targeting Prof. Gates as well as the absolute racist arrogance displayed by the Cambridge Police Department in demanding that Pres. Obama and Gov. Patrick apologize for expressing support for Prof. Gates, cannot go unanswered!  It is time for all poor and working people, and particularly whites, to come out against these racist attacks and stand foursquare in 100% solidarity with Professor Gates and against racial profiling and police brutality.

Cambridge, Harvard University and Boston are seen around the world as bastions of liberalism, hotbeds of progressive ideas and prestigious places from which cutting-edge research emanates. But the racial profiling and arrest of Prof. Gates have re-raised the question of how much has changed since the 1970s when, in the wake of court-ordered busing for desegregation, white racist mobs were stoning buses carrying Black school children and attacking Black people on the streets and in their homes.

Gates was Right! The Cambridge Police Department was Wrong!

Racial profiling is another expression of institutionalized racism. In the U.S., racial profiling and police brutality have become an unfortunate reality of life for people of color, especially youth. It doesn’t matter whether it occurs in the inner city, a small town, or an upper-middle class suburb.

In a 2004 report entitled “Threat and Humiliation: Racial Profiling, Domestic Security and Human Rights in the United States,” Amnesty International documented that in a year-long investigation, an estimated 32 million people had been racially profiled–the vast majority of them from nationally oppressed groups. One can only imagine how much these numbers have increased over the last five years, not only for those born in the U.S. but also for immigrants.  Since 9/11 there has been a corresponding increase in racial profiling targeting the Arab and Muslim communities.

The police have been, by far, the most feared perpetrators of racial profiling, and understandably so. Police harassment and brutality is an epidemic.  According to a 2008 report by the Washington, D.C. based Campaign for Youth Justice entitled ”Critical Condition: African American Youth in the Justice System” African American youth make up 30 percent of youth arrested while they represent only 17 percent of the overall youth population. Additionally, African American youth are 62 percent of the total number of youth prosecuted in the adult criminal system and are nine times more likely than white youth to receive an adult prison sentence.

One only needs to remember how the Somerville 5 (5 Black youth from Somerville who were arrested on racist frame up charges by the Medford Police)  or the Jena 6 were treated.  Not to mention the racism that followed the devastation of the 9th Ward in New Orleans as a result of hurricane Katrina.

As the economic crisis deepens the ruling class will use all means at its disposal to foster artificial divisions between white workers and Black, Latina/o, and immigrant workers.  It is our responsibility to build a movement based on anti-racist, class-wide solidarity–as workers of all nationalities are losing their jobs, homes, health care and pensions in rapid numbers; and as the economic crisis becomes even more severe. Continue reading

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GRITtv | Henry Louis Gates’ Arrest: A Teachable Moment?




There’s been an endless cycle of commentary on the Henry Louis Gates affair since the Harvard Professor was arrested in his home and President Obama made the off script remark that the Cambridge police had “acted stupidly.” Both men are now saying it is time to move on and that what happened was a teachable moment. But what, if anything, have we learned? Bill Fletcher, Jr., Executive Editor of Black Commentator, Ron Kuby a Civil Rights Attorney and the host of Doing Time with Ron Kuby on Air America, Dennis Parker, Director of the Racial Justice Program at the American Civil Liberties Union, and Rev. Irene Monroe, a Ford Fellow and Doctoral Candidate at Harvard Divinity School on race, class, and law enforcement in America. The ACLU has recently published a report on racial profiling that you can find here.

AlternetACLU: Racial Profiling “Widespread and Pervasive”

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Ishmael Reed on Henry Louis Gates


How Henry Louis Gates Got Ordained as the Nation’s “Leading Black Intellectual”

Post-Race Scholar Yells Racism


Now that Henry Louis Gates’ Jr. has gotten a tiny taste of what “the underclass” undergo each day, do you think that he will go easier on them? Lighten up on the tough love lectures? Even during his encounter with the police, he was given some slack. If a black man in an inner city neighborhood had hesitated to identify himself, or given the police some lip, the police would have called SWAT. When Oscar Grant, an apprentice butcher, talked back to a BART policeman in Oakland, he was shot!

Given the position that Gates has pronounced since the late eighties, if I had been the arresting officer and post-race spokesperson Gates accused me of racism, I would have given him a sample of his own medicine. I would have replied that “race is a social construct”–the line that he and his friends have been pushing over the last couple of decades.

After this experience, will Gates stop attributing the problems of those inner city dwellers to the behavior of “thirty five-year-old grandmothers living in the projects?” (Gates says that when he became a tough lover he was following the example of his mentor Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka as though his and Soyinka’s situations were the same. As a result of Soyinka’s criticisms of a Nigerian dictator, he was jailed and his life constantly threatened.)

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