Monday, July 27

Words from the Woman Who Lives Down the Street

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I was slight unnerved by the long silence from the woman who made the call into 911 after seeing Henry Louis Gates Jr. and his cab driver struggling with Gates' front door. However, she has finally voiced her reaction to the situation and thoughts on what has turned into a virulent debate on racial profiling in what many wish to be a post-racial America. Unfortunately this whole situation may reveal that the only people living in a post-racial America reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Sunday, July 26

Racial Profiling in a Post Racial America

Last week Henry Louis Gates Jr., a distinguished African American scholar who heads the W.E.B Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, returned from a trip in China working on his documentary. When he got home his door had jammed and he asked his cab driver, an African American, to help him with the door. A white woman who lived down the street saw two men struggling with the door and, thinking that they were trying to break in, called the police. When Sgt. James Crowley had arrived Gates was already in his home. Sgt. Crowley requested that Gates show identification and Gates grudingly obliged, after an initial exchange of heated words. However Gates was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

Since Obama commented on the situation, calling the arrest "stupid" (he has since apoligized for maligning the Cambridge police and said that he should have waited to hear all the facts before commenting; he also extended an invitation to both parties to come to the White House and resolve the situation over a beer), this situation has exploded into a debate on racial profiling in America and whether it's possible that America has not become the Post-racial America that Obama dreams about. I believe that the situation was escalated due to a misunderstanding between the two parties, created by generations of hatred between the Black community and law enforcement. Moreoever, I've been a little disturbed by the fact that no one has commented on the fact that this White woman who saw the two Black men struggling with the door assumed that it was a break in. Perhaps that is a different debate, as to the movement of Blacks into White communities and how they deal with that demographical phenomenon.

When Gates saw the police officer approach him the first thing that went through his mind wasn't "Shit, I'm a Black man and that police officer is going to tear my Black ass up and get away with it." He was thinking, "I'm an educated intellectual and a major faculty member at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. This man can't say shit to me. And if he does, Imma call him a racist." There is a sense of entitlement that I believe he feels in that he doesn't have to deal with law enforcement in the way that every day citizens have to. He believes that because he has accomplished so much, that should be his bail. And his sense of entitlement may be even more so by virtue of the fact that he is an African American who has climbed to such a high status in academia. I feel that this experience humbled him and his ego, because while it is impossible to ignore the racial undertones of the situation, much of it was precipitated by a clash of ego and authority.

Here is a great opinion piece in the Kansas City Star that does a better job at iterating the idea of classism as the main cause of the conflict between Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley.

Summary of my views on the situation (typed to mike over skype)
[2:44:14 PM] Cortne Edmonds: because I think the issue of racism is moreso concetrated in the part of the story in which the white woman down the street saw two black men on the doorstoop and assumed it was a breakin
[2:45:08 PM] Cortne Edmonds: I think he was offended in that he felt he was entitled to better treatment as a scholar, and he was able to just apply a thin veneer of racism to hide that sense of entitlement

Wednesday, July 15

A Recent Lapse In Blogging

I know it's been a while since I've posted and I'm sure it pains my faithful readers so. Last monday I started a full time job in NY and have dived head first into my preparations for leaving for China in August. I can't promise that I'll be blogging more from now on but I can promise that when I leave for China it will get better. And, frankly speaking, blogging may be the only way that I can keep my English up to par.

So keep checking. I promise I will post soon!

Friday, July 3

Sarah Palin, Future Former Governor

This afternoon Sarah Palin announced that she would be resigning from her position as the Governor of the State of Alaska on July 26, 2009. One of her excuses choosing to resign was the fact that she did not wish to assume "conventional lame duck status" now that her term was coming to an end (it ends in 2010), as this was one of the many things that constitutes "politics as usual," something that apparently the McCain-Palin campaign fought against last year. I'm assuming she ignored the fact that by excusing herself from completing the job that the Alaskan people elected her to do undermines the decision of the people and the capacity that they have to ensure that their chosen leaders lead. And also she would just be replaced with a "lame duck" lieutenant governor who would have to finish the rest of her term.

It could just be that she is wary of the nosedive that her popularity figures in Alaska have taken since the particularly partisan presidential elections last year. Last July, before the nomination, she has an approval rating of 80%. The latest poll numbers have her at 59.8%. And many speculate that she'll use her new-found free time to begin formulating a possible run for the presidency in 2012. My guess is this isn't the last we've heard of Sarah Palin.

BTW: Did anyone read the profile they did of her in Runners' World? You know, the one where she talks about being able to run circles around Obama?


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