The Emperor Really Is Wearing No Clothes

Before delving into the true topic of today’s post, I want to point out some things about me personally.

I am different.

I am not black or white, but both… as are my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions and experiences.

I am a smorgasbord of things…

… I am half white, a quarter black and a quarter Native American.

I am a walking contradiction.

I am a person of color, raised by a white family.

I married a black man, and had two daughters by him.

I have lived a life of priviledge.

I have lived a life of pain.

I have lived a life of prejudice.

I have lived a life of contempt.

I have been victimized.

I have victimized others.

All of these things make me who I am.

They, like my own skin tone, muddy my views, color the waters of what I see in the world around me.

I cry out when I see real injustice.

I get angry when people claim to be victims of said injustice, but are really perpetrators, finding reasons to make excuses for own their unreasonable behavior.

I have no sympathy for a black man who does not take responsibility for his destiny, instead finding himself wallowing in self-pity and poverty.

I have no love for a white man who believes that by virtue of his skin color, he has inherited the keys to the world, and is entitled to keep his black brothers from having them too.

My views clash with those of my white friends and black ones.

I do not always see injustice where they do.

Sometimes, a white police officer is doing the unforgivable when targeting a black man simply because of the color of the man’s skin.

Other times, black men are taking advantage of tumultuous times, exploiting growing racial discomfort, highlighting racial tensions and using it all as an excuse not to have to take personal responsibility for their own actions.

I am sick of it.

I hear stories like the fiasco that occured in Cambridge, MA, and I am filled with shame.

A white police officer responded to a call of a buglary in progress at a residence in his jurisdiction. Sargeant James Crowley had no way of knowing, upon arriving at the residence, whether the man inside the home was the legal occupant or the same burglar a neighbor woman had called 911 about, claiming to have witnessed two men attempting to break into the home.

The man, it turns out, is Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. He is a prominent African American, but none of that matters to me. What is important is not Professor Gates’ prominence, but rather, his behavior on the night in question.

There is no doubt that Gates is the lawful resident of the home, nor is there any doubt that Professor Gates came home that evening, after a period of time overseas, to a house with a jammed front door. With the assistance of his driver, the door had to be man-handled, but was finally opened. It was the image of Gates, at night, accompanied by his driver, ramming his body repeatedly into the door that caused a neighbor to become alarmed. She called the police and reported what she was witnessing- two black males attempting to break into a residence.

Initially, upon responding Officer Crowley’s arrival, the professor refused to open his door. He accused the officer of simply targeting him as a black man in America. The officer, not to be swayed, refused to leave the premises until Professor Gates could prove that he was, in fact, the occupant of the house.

Gates, at this point, opened the door, told the officer to stay where he was, and went into the kitchen to obtain the requested identification.

The officer, not listening to Gates request to stay put instead followed him into the home.

I wonder why there was so much public outrage at this single act.

The officer did not, at this point, know that Gates was the resident of the home. Gates had yet to produce ID, and was overly defensive over the officer’s very presence. How was Crowley to know that Gates was not an intruder? How was he to know that Gates would not go into another room and produce a weapon? How was he to know that Gates was not claiming to leave the room for his identification, while actually planning to flee the scene through a back door?

It seems Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and (dare I say it) even President Barack Obama have lost sight of the fact that this was the investigation of a burglary in progress.

The professor, it is now obvious, did not like the fact that Officer Crowley inserted himself into the residence, and immediately became beligerent. While he did ultimately produce his identification, he began threatening the officer. Not with physical violence, but with such things as, “You have no idea who you’re messing with” and “You haven’t heard the last of me!”. He demanded the officer’s name and badge number, and followed the officer outside, continuing to scream at him.

Ultimately, deciding that he’d had enough, Officer Crowley arrested Professor Gates, charging him with disorderly conduct, though the charges were dropped the next morning.

Obama has spoken publicly, during a prime-time news conference, claiming Officer Crowley acted “stupidly”.

The Civil Rights icons are coming out of the wood-work, crying foul… screaming that this is yet another example of white-cop-on-black-man abuse.

Professor Gates’ attorney is making the rounds in a full-fledged media blitz, defending his client’s honor the best he can.

The mayor of Cambridge, MA is meeting with the professor over lunch to apologize on behalf of the city.

The Cambridge Police Department has called the incident “unfortunate”, but stands behind its Sargeant’s actions.

Sargeant Crowley himself refuses to apologize.

Personally, I don’t believe Obama should have inserted himself into this issue to begin with. As he stated during the press conference, he was not capable of giving an unbiased response, as Gates is his friend, and even admitted to not having all the facts available to him.

In short, the President had no idea what had occured on the night in question, was not capable of reacting to the facts, once available, in an unbiased fashion… so what he did was simply stand up for a friend…

He vouched for Gates simply because they have a personal history, not because there is any evidence to support the professor’s blown-up allegations.

How irresponsible indeed.

Now we have police officers the entire country over claiming Obama is a disgrace to them.

Perhaps, had he waited for all the facts to come out, he would have learned of Gates’ completely ridiculous, childish, temper tantrum-like behavior. Or of Officer Crowley’s distinguished career within the police department. Perhaps he would have learned that Crowley himself has taught Cambridge’s well-respected racial profiling course for the past five years.

He would have understood that there is no evidence of any sort of racism on the part of Officer Crowley… not when analyzing his behavior during this incident, or in reviewing his record on any other issue.

I was raised (by my white family) that if one chooses to act like a complete idiot having a mental breakdown in the presence of (and most espeically while being investigated by) a police officer, the crazy-acting guy pretty much deserves whatever the heck it is he gets.

This was not a case of racism.

This was the unfortunate result of a pissing contest between two men of considerable stature.

Period.

I have lost friends over my views on the Cambridge matter.

I have been accused, as a “woman of color”, of denying my “true” heritage in siding with the police officer in this case.

It hurts… I have never claimed racism is dead in America. I have blogged- multiple times- on this very site about its existence.

I refuse to bow down and call an ugly situation that could have been altogether avoided racism simply because the black man involved wants me to believe that’s what occured.

The Emperor really, truly, is wearing no clothes.

I will not pretend otherwise.

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5 thoughts on “The Emperor Really Is Wearing No Clothes

  1. Allow me to introduce myself: I am a man who has devoted his life to upholding a few values, loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. Put these values together and you will get an acronym LDRSHIP. Run a simple search for that acronym and you will have an idea as to my identity and what I stand for. Many will make an assumption of my race based on the words I choose or those values I listed which are important to me. If I was to come out right away and say I think Professor Gates was wrong, many reading this will assume I am white or I am forgetting where I came from. You folks out there need to look into your hearts. If you see anger then something is wrong. Now that I said that, you are saying to yourself, hell yea I feel anger and I should. But should you really? Let us look at the first value I listed, loyalty. Who is your loyalty to? Is it to your self? Or is it to your race? We know President Obama’s loyalty was to his friend Gates. Look where that got him, now the most powerful man in the world is back tracking on his own words. The thing everybody has to remember is right is right and wrong is wrong. If you align your loyalty to something that is wrong, you will ultimately pay for it. It does not matter who you are or how powerful you are. Aligning your loyalty to Civil Rights is a true and just cause. It is a cause that still needs to be fought today. No one is saying that racial profiling is gone. That is not what this is about. Gates kept saying that you don’t know who I am. Well, he also didn’t know how Officer Crowley. Now why are we trying to destroy someone who has spent a large portion of his career fighting the very same thing Gates was?

    If you think that he is a racist white guy, let us look at his character. Loyalty, he bears true faith and allegiance to the law and his men regardless of race. Duty, he fulfilled his duty by upholding the law. Respect, he treats people as they should be treated and educates new police officers on cultural differences and why you shouldn’t racially profile. Selfless Service, he has dedicated his life to protecting and serving society. Honor, he lives up to all these values. Integrity, he did what’s right, legally and morally. Personal Courage, he faces fear, danger, or adversity [physical or moral]. He knew that arresting Gates for Disorderly Conduct was going to cause a storm. Gates was berating him outside with multiple witnesses. He was well within the law to arrest him. They dropped the charges because they knew all the crap that was going to come of it. I am sure that Crowley would not have dropped the charges if he had a say because he is a man of principle. I have no doubt he will take it to his grave if need be.

    Compared to Professor Gates, Officer Crowley is nobody. Well he used too be. Professor Gates in his hatred of white people attacked Officer Crowley and now others have joined in a mob. This will ultimately result in disaster. Think about it, please really think about it. People are going to stand by him because he is a man of character and everyone knows it. You may not agree with me about Crowley but, you know dang well that Gates was acting out that night and you can’t just do that to the Police. The Professor thought that because of his influence, he could run all over this little man who was nothing to him. Crowley was risking his life to protect Gates property when he was gone. Not to mention there was a previous break in at Gates residence. So was it wise for Crowley to arrest this man who was berating him? That depends on what your convictions are. Crowley gave him plenty of time to stop his tirade and he wouldn’t. He was completely within the law to take him in at that point and he did. This was not about race for Crowley, it was all about race for Gates.

    What is going to happen with all of this? Are the racist white people going to send threatening messages to other white people to get in line? Are racist black people going to send threatening messages to other black people to get in line? Are we all going to get on line now and kill each other? How disgusting are we now? It all sounds pretty damm stupid. We are not going to succeed as a people by attacking each other and trying to bring each other down. We sure as hell are not going to succeed by destroying good people. There are differences and injustices in the world but, destroying good people is not going to level the playing field. In fact, it will make things worse. Do not think that any good will come from throwing Crowley under the bus. Do not think that any good will come from throwing fellow champions of Civil Right under the bus because they may not always step in line with you. No good will come of this whole issue, our hearts are poisoned and our minds are clouded. How do you think this is going to affect all other cops out there who see what is happening to Officer Crowley? They are going to turn away from what he taught about treating people equally. God has given us this test and we have failed miserably.

    I encourage you; let us figure this out together. It is not figuring out what happen that night, it is figuring out what happen in us. Search inside yourself and even if you hate Crowley for who he is, tell me why you hate him. I am willing to bet it is not Officer Crowley that you hate, it is what he represents. You may view him as something bad because your heart is poisoned and your eyes are clouded. Throw him under the bus and you are throwing your cause under with it. Only God can help us if we fail this test.

  2. You and I have already talked at length about what is not said during all of this.

    But to just touch on a few key issues:

    Our nation is still far from being able to handle and intelligent thought provoking and honest conversation about race. What you say about your own issues of identity between two colors is evidence alone in that fact. We both know that “race” is something made up anyway. Made up on lies at that.

    We have to start there and then work our way to what we are dealing with – understanding that since race is a made up issue based on lies and sustained by too often a willing ignorance – most of this is kicking against the pricks. In other words, we have to separate the difference between real talk between real individuals and the b.s. talk that we hear on the news media as folks merely draw sides. you can’t mix the two or else that will only add to your frustrations. your words are from the mouth of one who wants to see the best for nation.

    now though we disagree about some key issues, i can offer real talk back to you which is what we need to push the convo forward. you have this case – and then the big picture. this case and some of the keys within what went down that night are to me an opportunity for real talk that i can see the williningly ignorant are about to once again pass up.

    to your points specifically:

    wondering why gates would be pissed about a stranger walking in behind him. it’s invasive. not to some, but to many who happen to be black – black men specifically.

    my experiences have been both positive and negative with police. i remember one picking me up and taking me for gas after my car ran out of it on the highway on the coldest night of the year. i caught a break on a ticket or two as well. i have friends who are police and have hung with them in their element of a yearly new year’s eve party – all police except me. my positive experiences have been with black and white officers. certainly if some stuff jumps off that i can’t handle you know who i’m calling!

    equally relevant is that i have had my car tossed by white police for no reason – and had a glock pointed to my head by white police also for no reason other than to be harassed. to give more details. i was a a QT gas station getting gas and talking on a pay phone. i noticed said officer looking at me and noticed his unusual hair style – reminded me of the archies. anyway though done with my call i waited and held the phone till he takes off cause i’m uncomfortable. feeling the coast is clear – i pull out and head home with my boy in the passenger seat. a few minutes later i notice police behind me on the highway – i get out of his lane so he can pass, he jumps behing me again – later down the road he waits till we are by the airport exit where there are no lights and pulls me over. i roll down the window and he say’s… “you see my partner over there.”..(second police car i didn’t even notice… car hidden in the grass so i could only see him cause i was directed to look in the direction. – it was complete darkness) ….”he’s gonna blow your f’ing head off if you make one false move.” he was aiming straight at me. i recognized the officer talking to me from the QT. he tosses the car, asking where the drugs and guns are. all the while i am thinking about my family and shit cause I know I am a “gonna”. i resolve myself to be at peace when they do their dirt and end my life.

    finally after 55 minutes of waiting on them to finish their jollies, i ask the officer why i was stopped. he said “we got a report that someone fitting your description stole some ding dongs from the QT. yep you heard me – some hostess ding dongs. my life in his words were not as valuable as and was reason for putting a glock to my dome over some ding dongs.

    still, I knew he was a damn lie – what steal ding dongs, pump gas AND use the pay phone all in the same stop? i knew the deal. kept silent and lived another day. thought about going to internal affairs and even made an initial call. this was on a sunday night – on the following tuesday the men who beat the hell outta rodney king were found innocent in criminal court. it was a wrap. no one was gonna listen to me.

    now all that being said – i know that those officers names whom I still remember till this day are not ALL officers – i do know that there are many… and in spite of good experiences its something about being innocent and having a glock pointed to your dome and then being lied to about it that sticks with you. when i see police behind me – i am not thinking “gee my friendly neighborhood officers” i am thinking “shit!” and let’s be real – because of the racism in this nation and the way the face of crime is the black face, no matter how many crimes whites commit – that is what they think of me too in many cases – THIS is why gates didn’t want ole boy walking up on him like that. that isn’t a red blooded american in the great u.s. of a that don’t feel their pad is sacred – first amendment blow your head off type of shit if you cross.

    i question the officer cause if there was a conflict with whether he walked behind gates – he has the right to say, “no sir, i will walk with you to get your ID.” he didn’t. why? was gates presumed guilty on site? was he not worthy of dialogue? good police while being called to a possible buglary involving two black men may also notice the men ended up being middle aged, one guy being a driver of what kind of a car? a 72 nova or an upscale model? now i’m not saying that there couldn’t have been two black middle aged men with preppy or suit clothing and a luxury car buglarizing some professor’s home – but you get my drift its not likely

    i honestly think the police figured gates to be telling the truth but didn’t like his attitutude, didn’t like his words. but this is what i mean about the race argument. i know white folks who have admitted to me they cussed a cop out after being pulled over. hell i guess we want to have the same rights to tell one off too! LOL but not really – again you get my drift. we mostly know better. this is the side most don’t want to talk about. people of class throw the “do you know who i am” card all the time – athletes are notorious for it in the news… but politicians do it too.

    in terms of this case i stand behind what i said – the officer did not have to arrest dude because of words that did not include bodily harm. talk is talk – does he arrest every mope that talks back to him? there is a reason charges were dropped – it’s because they were bogus. gates broke an unwritten law dating back decades – black men don’t talk back to white authority – that is why he ultimatley ended up in bracelets in my view. you cannot say for sure that race did not play a part in the officer arresting the guy for again TALKING!

    have you ever and i mean EVER saw a black officer accused of unjustly shooting or killing a white person, or a black officer shooting an undercover white officer while he chased down a guy trying to steal his car? it doesn’t happen cause black officers KNOW better. think of it – in all your years of watching the news. you can’t think of one.. and if someone did – it’s probably ONE. i can’t think of any at all. I can’t imagine the job is harder or more dangerous for white officers and yet black officers just don’t get themselves in that position unless its against other people of color – cause even they know black life does not hold the same value in america as white.

    that being said – this particular case is such a small thing in the whole scheme of the discussion. the reason that folks like gates get pissed is because still in this country blacks are pulled over and searched disproportantely more than whites- google any police stat on that… we are obviously locked up more – put to death more – so the nation hasn’t dealt with that yet. the reason this is so big now is cause many white folks just want gates and obama to be wrong about THIS particular case and thereby dismiss the next time a young man is gunned down by police or tossed in jail or prevented from his vote counting etc. guys like me tune them out and say defiantely don’t look for me to pile on gates with you even specific to this case when these same folks have never and will never acknowledge or be outraged when we are done wrong. until you can swing the gavel both ways i ain’t hearing it – not one bit!

    as far as you losing friends over this – I tend to think you gained a sense of freedom. a friend will lovingly and vigorously disagree with you in a heated debate. i have debated some harsh and critical matters with “friends” and even if we yelled and screamed about it – hung up the phone etc. a friend is a freind. if anything anyone who you “lost” over your well thought out intelligent and heartfelt views was never a friend at all.

    a freind should know the kind of person you are which is what counts. views are views…. mine don’t make me right and yours don’t make you wrong. no one has a right to question your ethnic authenticity or stake in humanity because of your views as long as they are based in love.

    race is made up for the sake of ignorance and power – and yet it is a reality that we live with and intelligent folks know that it is a necessary evil to navigate and try to sort out for all of our sakes. too bad from a mainstream perspective too many won’t.

    1. Hi bbgcmac-

      Your points are well taken, though as we’ve discussed at length, we don’t necessarily see eye to eye.

      One thing that struck me is this- you say race is made up for the sake of ignorance and power. I believe that to be true for the most part.

      My question, not just to you, but to all my fellow people of color is this-

      For the sake of progress, are YOU willing to give up your race? Are you willing, if given the opportunity, to identify yourself not as a black man living in America, but as an AMERICAN?

      Too many white people are unwilling to give up their views of YOU as a black man in America, and too many black men in America are unwilling to give up their identification as such.

      We can’t solely blame whites people.

      Not anymore. That is the gift of the civil rights movement, and all those American heroes that came before us. It is the gift of opening minds.

      Not everyone’s mind has been opened… but many more are today than ever were before.

      Progress.

      Let’s not undo that which we accomplished as a society so far.

      We owe it to ourselves, our children and each other to evaluate each of these situations on a case-by-case basis.

      It’s tempting to say, “as a black man I’ve been harrassed by white cops in my life… therefore, EVERY time a black man must deal with a white cop, the cop is racially profiling.”

      While understandable, especially after learning of some of your personal experiences… that mentality is not conducive to progress.

      We all have to do better, and I truly believe that starts with acknowledging those steps forward that we have already taken.

      Gone are the days in which every white person is racist. Similarly, gone are the days when black people are unable to succeed in our society.

      While understandable on a personal level, for the greater good, this constant suspicion of each other- blacks of whites, whites of black- must stop.

  3. My answer to you is two fold – in terms of race i don’t know that it’s that simple as the question is posed. all and all I am fine with it for my “race” is neither her nor there – I can have it nor not have it. As far as giving up being recognized as a black man absolutely NOT! my color is a fact, a reality, something that my Creator gave me. I am not the least bit ashamed of it nor am I trying to make it neutral. I have never been interested in a color blind society – to the contrary I think its wonderful to recognize the differing colors that we all have.. i think its beautiful. the problem is not color or trying to become neutral politically – the issue is when someone feels that one color merits advantage or superiority.

    my solution is for all of us to celebrate the diversity we have within our nation and our world – and simply do not discriminate in terms of treating one color with advantages and disadvanteges for the sake of the color.

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