While watching the fiasco surrounding the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. unfold in the media, it became more and more apparent the some things in society would never change. There are those who would conjecture that this incident was racially motivated. But those politics don’t really warrant my immediate attention. What garners my immediate attention is the effect of arrogance and mediocrity that has made this incident extremely relevant in the minds of Americans, Blacks, White, Asians, and other critically thinking citizens of the world.
The arrest of Professor Gates brings something even more disturbing to light. His arrest provides evidence the majority population in this country, as in other countries, never wants to be seen as incorrect or wrong. More importantly, if they have to be called out as wrong, they definitely don’t want to be called out members of a minority population.
Let’s shed some light on Professor Gates’ arrest. He was identified as a burglary suspect in his own house. Despite presenting identification that he was a resident of the home, he was still questioned. The matter should have been ended with Gates’ positive identification. This observation is just based on logic of the facts provided.
Here are some more Rules of Home Invasion that the police, criminals, and the average citizen are pretty aware of:
1. When you break into a house, you’re supposed to take something of value out of it. You don’t stay in the house waiting for the value to appreciate.
2. When you break into a house, you want to stay the least amount of time necessary. You don’t stay so long that you leave with a mortgage.
3. If a home invasion is occurring in the home while you’re there with law enforcement, why wouldn’t you rule out the resident of the home as a suspect? This would be based on the question, “Why would Professor Gates break into his house to steal his own stuff?!”
The “B Story” here is something I call, “Think Black” logic. It becomes applicable when the police asked Professor Gates to step outside. The truth of the matter is that all minorities, especially Black people, know that when the police ask you to step outside, there is very little good to follow.
When Professor Gates stepped outside of his house, he lent credibility to being belligerent in “public.” Inside his home, he was no danger to anyone except the arrogance of law enforcement responding to the call. As much we watch cop shows, have you ever noticed how many people get arrested outside of their house as opposed to in their house? Hmm.
I believe Professor Gates’ rendition of the story, as I’ve found myself in the same position with law enforcement. I understand Barack Obama’s initial reaction of saying the police “acted stupidly.” It was a “Think Black” moment. Though not Presidential, it was even more important as it was honest and organic. I also understand that President Obama had to address the crisis as the President, and not an “enraged 50% black man.” He is now a part of the majority power structure and political advocacy system.
This system is based on the fact that no majority population in the world ever wants to be called out – or worse – held accountable by a minority population. Take this statement and apply it to the crisis of power throughout the world and you’ll get the same result. The Cambridge Police department is no different. Watching the show of unquestioned loyalty gave many people old flashbacks of Bull Conner issuing threats against Black demonstrators during the Civil Rights struggle. He got no meaningful reprimands but, instead, confirmation that he was correct as a part of a majority population.
Police departments work and function by means of consensus. I often thought that’s why the say a man in “uniform” is, by definition, the best of citizens. Let’s face the truth that law enforcement has a tough job and are always reacting to crisis rather than creative solutions, interpretation, or mediation.
For those who want some racial overtones – I know there’s a thirst for it – there’s the example of a case where a white person instigated a home invasion and the residents caught him. The perp never received scrutiny as a criminal and no formal charges were ever filed. You won’t find this case in the annals of police reports or reruns of COPS. If you want to read the full story go to the story of Goldilocks and The Three Bears.
Preacher Moss is a writer and comedian, who is part of the Allah Made Me Funny comedy troupe.