On my way home from work this evening I heard Ms. (Janet ?) Babbin talking about the Gates issue and asked her listeners to weigh in on how we thought race relations were going in this country.
First of all, I want to point out how shameful I think it is that the media, being biased as it is, shapes listener's views in an attempt to influence the answers to the very questions they ask. Ms. Babbin prefaced her request by incorrectly stating that Professor Gates was arrested for breaking into his own home. Anyone who has even remotely followed this story knows that that statement is untrue. Ms. Babbin is either misinformed or lying to her listeners. Why?
Racism does still exist in this country and it would be ignorant to imply otherwise. The Gates issue however, is a classic example of someone, "crying wolf." Professor Gates has done an injustice to the very cause that he is apparently an expert on.
A few years ago, my brother and several of his college friends were driving home from Philadelphia when they were pulled over by a state trooper for no apparent reason other than they looked suspicious. Ultimately, they were allowed to go on their way. Last Saturday night, my 18-year-old son was pulled over while driving home from his girlfriend's by two local police officers at 1:30 am. They asked if he had been drinking and when he replied that he had not, they conducted a sobriety test. All the while, another officer looked through his car with a flashlight. Ultimately, he too was, "released."
I guess I should mention that my brother and my son are both white, of Irish decent. I'm not going to try and make a case that police officers are prejudiced against the Irish. What I told both of them is that in the officer's eyes, they must have somehow, looked suspicious. Had either my brother or son started shouting at the officers, I can imagine the outcome could have been different. Making reference to officer's mother? Are you serious?
Professor Gates is an intelligent man. I'm sure he regrets his actions that night. I believe he would do more to help race relations by coming clean and admitting that he made a mistake. After all, making mistakes is something that all people do, regardless of our race.
Wake Forest, NC
Aug 3 2009 - 8:26pm