Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed a suggestion that the backlash from police groups could be distressing to the White House, given that Obama has enjoyed a positive relationship with the law enforcement community.
"I think the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed McCain," Gibbs fired back, referring to Obama's Republican opponent in the 2008 election. "If I'm not mistaken."
Hmmm, does Obama think this is, in the end, all about him?
Did Obama throw Crowley and the Police Department under the bus because they didn't back him in the election? Is Gibbs telling us that Obama doesn't care that the Fraternal Order of Police are backing Crowley because they backed McCain? And what the Governor and Mayor that supported Obama, and believe that Crowley was in the wrong?
From all I have read about this arrest, it seems if you are a Democrat you hate cops and think they are all racist idiots. And if you support the cop you are a racist psycho right wing loon...?
Just look at this insult directed towards Crowley, from John Ridley: "Why all this interest -- besides the curiosity as to whether or not the arresting officer had ever once in his life previously used the word "tumultuous" in a sentence?" Are you kidding me? What an elitist ass.
And this diary was hilarious - Daily Kos: The cop lied because Gates couldn't yell - he had laryngitis!
"Now, if this is the case, Gates has a doctor's report, as well as many witnesses who would have heard him over the course of the last few days, having difficulty speaking, much less yelling. So it isn't something he is likely to just make up. This is especially true after talking to his lawyer, who would not have signed on to using this storyline, if it were not true, considering how easily it would be refuted if it were false. So I'm convinced that this is the case, that he couldn't have yelled. This makes the police report false.
You may want to see more evidence that the things in the report are wrong, but keep in mind that the yelling key to the officer's story. It's the only thing that could justify an arrest (for "loud and tumultuous" behavior) in this situation. And though this is only one piece of evidence, I think the police report being wrong is the more likely situation, than Gates and his legal team stupidly clinging to a easily-refutable story about bronchitis."
It's too bad that this Dick Tracy didn't research the facts before calling Sgt. Crowley a liar.
Bill Carter, the man who snapped a photograph of Gates being led away in handcuffs, said police officers were calm and that Gates was "slightly out of control" and "agitated" when he was arrested.
"The officers around kind of calmed him down," Carter said. "I heard him yelling -- Mr. Gates yelling. I didn't hear anything that he was saying so I couldn't say that he was belligerent."
Officer Figueroa heard Gates yelling which he stated in the police report. Sgt. Leon Lashley heard him yelling as well. If you haven't seen this yet, here is the African American officer that was visible in the photo of Gates in handcuffs.
A 55-year-old neighbor said he witnessed the entire episode - from the squeal of police brakes in the initial response to Gates' uproar. "The police did their job. He should be thanking them, but they shouldn't have arrested the guy," the neighbor added.
He also apparently wasn't aware of the audio tapes.
There might be witnesses that Gates had laryngitis, but those would be from the day after the arrest. Who wouldn't lose their voice from all that yelling!
Some of the Kos Kids believe that because Crowley didn't vote for Obama he is in fact racist. "When Crowley said he didn't vote for Obama that's all I needed to hear right there." Well, that certainly fits with the crap they have been spewing for two years now.
Tapper pondered whether Obama had ever been profiled. Turns out he was *GASP* mistaken for an hostess once.
As the country discusses and dissects the controversy surrounding the arrest of Prof. Henry Louis Gates, and President Obama's comments about the arrest, some might wonder: was the president ever a victim of racial profiling?
Not in any major way, say those close to him, but he certainly feels there have been times he was treated differently because of his race. One small, as-yet-unreported example: in the Fall of 2004, then-state sen. Barack Obama was his party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate seat and an emerging national figure because of his rousing speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. But there he stood, at a country buffet in Western Illinois, fielding a question from a white customer as if he worked there. As recalled by a campaign staffer from that time, Obama was standing with three staffers, waiting for their table, when a white man came in and asked for a table for him and his three friends.
“The woman is about to seat me and my party of four, so I imagine you’ll be next,” the President said, trying to defuse any embarrassment by playing it off. The man who’d assumed Obama worked at the country buffet seemed embarrassed, the former campaign aide recalled, who emphasized that this was not a big deal by any stretch.
Perhaps the guy wasn't used to seeing people dressed up at Country Buffet, maybe Obama looked like a Host because he was in a tie? Maybe the guy was a frequent buffet diner and the regular Host resembled Obama? Maybe Obama was holding a menu? It can happen.
Do you know how many times I have been mistaken for a sales clerk or a waitress? I can think of about 20 times - whether in clothing stores, grocery stores, or restaurants. It happens a lot, and when it does, I usually end up helping the person.
I was accused of shoplifting once when I was returning something to Nordstrom without a receipt. I was dressed like a slob because I had been working in the garden, and I made a quick run to Home Depot, and swung into Nordies. The salesperson, surrounded by five other clerks, eying me strangely, gave me a *receipt* instead of my money back ($600) and told me the *check was in the mail*. I thought it odd, and went home and told my brother what happened. He called his friend who worked there, and explained my story. We found out that is what they do when they think the item was stolen.
I have had many sales clerks treat me crappy while shopping dressed less than stellar - trust me, looks make a big difference white or black. Beverly Hills/Rodeo Drive is the worst. (I'm no Julia Roberts, and I wasn't dressed like a hooker, but the attitudes exist.)
And yes, I've even handed my car keys off to a guy I thought was a valet (although, he was white). And I have even been pulled over six times.
From Just One Minute:
Patterico is excellent with "The Officer Didn’t Stereotype Henry Louis Gates — Henry Louis Gates Stereotyped the Officer", emphasizing the same point made earlier by Mickey Kaus. A snippet:And in apologizing for Gates, black firebrands and white liberals patronizingly excuse techniques of stereotyping that they would condemn in a racist.
Form an image of a racist in your mind: someone who watches a TV report about a crime committed by a black person, and says: “I’m not surprised. That’s how black people are: they’re all criminals.” Is this racist attitude justified if the racist says:
I’m sorry I have this bad attitude about black people, but I have seen and heard bad things about black people all my life. I know they commit a lot of crimes, and in fact, I have been robbed by three separate black people in my life.
Now, form an image in your mind of a black person who watches a TV report about police brutality, and says: “I’m not surprised. That’s how those white cops are: they’re all racists.” Is this attitude justified if the black person says:
I’m sorry I have this bad attitude about white cops, but I have seen and heard bad things about white cops all my life. I know they hassle black people, and in fact, I have been mistreated by three separate white cops in my life.
For some reason, people who would never accept the racist’s justification of his racist attitudes, will nod their heads in approval as black people expound on why they believe all white cops are racists based upon their own personal experiences.
Interesting. Yet that line of argumentation is so common, and so commonly accepted, that I feel obliged to take a stab at defending it. One tack - people don't choose their race but they do choose their vocation - a person who chooses to become a police officer probably does have a set of attitudes that differ from the general population in various ways (More authoritarian? More controlling?).
And why would that justify having an attitude only about white cops? I don't know. Gates seems to believe that cops hassle blacks men that mouth off; I think cops hassle everyone who mouths off, but where is my street cred? The Times front-paged a story on this.
ONE MORE TIME: Gates claims he produced a driver's license with the address of the house in question, thereby establishing his right to be there. Should that have been the end of the story? Husbands and wives sometimes have nasty separations in which the husband gets kicked out the wife changes the locks; sometimes that can even escalate to the point where the wife takes out a Temporary Restraining Order. I have no idea what sort of probable cause threshold would be appropriate, but shouldn't the police make a modest effort to take the emotional temperature of the household before leaving? Gates was seemingly angry and uncooperative from the outset; per Crowley's version, Gates would not even respond when asked if anyone was in the house with him (In the Gates version, he does not describe the question but does refuse to answer).
So - do feminists and domestic violence experts agree that if the man of the house shouts at the cops that everything is cool so get out, the cops should simply leave?
This was an excellent point that I have seen made on a few sites. Domestic squabbles, and less than cordial divorces are a big issue. If a man, no matter how educated or old he is, is breaking into a home, the officer needs to establish that the guy has a right to be there. And not only that, but as Crowley said, he needs to make sure that Gates is one of the guys that was breaking in and that there aren't two real burglars hiding in the home somewhere. (Especially considering Gates' homes had been robbed in the past month, and daytime break ins are currently exceptionally high in that neighborhood.)
And the craziest thing about Gates getting so mad that a cop showed up at his door is that Gates KNOWS he was breaking in the front door. It's not like the notion was out of the blue.
One of our readers tried to get me to answer an hypothetical about the statistics on African American profiling, and whether, knowing those statistics, I would have reacted the way Gates did.
"Be serious… if a cop showed up at your door, demanded ID and continued to be suspicious when you provided it, you wouldn’t be aggravated?
Hypothetical: what if you were in, say, Italy. And what if you knew that 70% of the time Italian cops investigated someone for potential criminal behavior, they investigated an American Woman. Let’s say they had been doing this for years and years. And let’s say you knew that only 15% of the people in the land of Italy were American Women. Let’s say you also knew that American Women committed nowhere near 75% of the crimes in Italy.
So then an Italian cop responds to a B&E at your house, and thinks you’re the one breaking in. Let’s say you show this Italian cop documentation proving that it’s your house, but he keeps on questioning you.
This wouldn’t make you angry? Really? Really??"
Firstly, I have a hard time applying this hypothetical to Gates, since, as a 58 year old man, this is, according to Gates, the first time this has happened to him. (For a man who studies and teaches about racism, I find it odd that he "now understands what it's like to be a black man in America". What's he been teaching all those years?) So, evidently he knew about the statistics but never experienced them - so they are about as relevant to him as they are to me. Secondly, Gates didn't immediately show his ID, and he was hostile. Thirdly, as was pointed out above, just because you show ID it doesn't automatically guarantee that you have a right to be in that home. And lastly, the officer was also making sure there weren't two robbers hidden in the home.
(How many of the 70% investigated were found guilty of something? What are the stop to conviction ratios? I couldn't find that info.)
So, anyway, I proposed this hypothetical:
Let’s say I am a woman, and I have been raped, and I know about all of these statistics:
Every 9 seconds, a woman is battered in the U.S. 95% of all victims of domestic violence are women. Domestic Violence is the single major cause of injury to women, more than muggings and car accidents combined. Domestic Violence is the cause of 30% of physical disabilities in women. 50% of all women murdered in the United States are killed by a spouse or an acquaintance. Domestic Violence occurs in 60% of marriages and is the most under reported crime. 90% of battered women reported that their children were present when they were beaten. etc….
I don’t live in fear and paranoia, and I don’t profile and assume that every man I encounter is going to attack me, abuse me, or beat me. I don't avoid getting married, and I don't yell at every man that approaches my front door.
So, what lesson do I hope is learned from this ugly situation? That not everything is black and white. Yes, racism still exists. So does sexism, ageism, classism, ableism, and fatism. (fatism...obesityism... chunkyism?)
Everybody defending Gates assumes that he was profiled, and the victim of a racist white cop. Did any of those defending him stop to consider that perhaps he was disorderly, rude, out of control, in the wrong, and deserved to be arrested? (Because I certainly cringed when I heard Gates' claims of racism, but I looked at the facts, and discovered the truth.) People are still defending him, arguing that he should not have been arrested, that he has a right to behave how he wants, that it is not illegal to yell at police, etc. etc. Their position is that because Gates was in his home, and he showed his ID that it is obviously racism because he is black and the cop is white. Had he been white, they say, he would not have been arrested.
That is just not true. Have you ever watched Cops? Geez, I see white people who mouth off (in their own homes) get taken down all the time.
Not only do white people get arrested, they are stereotyped. Everyone is. Women, blonds, obese people, disabled people, poor people, poor dressers, the elderly, young people, Asian people, Jewish people, Muslims....
It happens to everyone, and everyone is guilty of stereotyping. Are state university students really dumber than Ivy Leaguers? (Hmm think about the attitudes towards Sarah Palin). Are obese people lazy? Do thin people starve themselves? Are blonde women dumb? Are smart, successful women bitchy ball breakers? Is it true Asian people can't drive? Is a woman in a short skirt at fault for getting raped? Liberals think Conservatives are racist Jesus freaks. Are all white people racist? Are all Muslims terrorists? And on and on and on... It happens every day.
That's why we all just need to "cool that shit out. And that's the double truth, Ruth."
It isn't always black and white. So, instead of jumping on Sgt. Crowley, a good officer, doing his job, perhaps the teachable moment is don't always assume the white guy is the racist.
And the bigger lesson - don't assume the worst of people!
Racism is terrible, but accusing innocent people of being racist is terrible too. We have some along way. If we are ever going to truly move past racism and it's ugly history, we have to meet somewhere in the middle, don't we? We have to stop pointing fingers all the time.
And I really don't think we need a resolution to force Obama to apologize. That is something he, and Gates, should do willingly. Congress has more important things to focus on.