My conclusion, more explicit here, is that whites and blacks need to work together to keep cops from encountering black men at all any more than they encounter whites, and to help dispel stereotypes that are not entirely disconnected from fact -- for reasons that do not lend themselves to blame but are real nevertheless (on this, see again Glenn’s piece).
Loury's fair point:
I find laughable, and sad, Professor Gates’s declaration that he now plans to make a documentary film about racial profiling. Is that as far as his scholarship on the intersection of race and policing in America extends? Where has this eminent scholar of African-American affairs been these last 30 years, during which a historically unprecedented, politically popular, extraordinarily punitive and hugely racially disparate mobilization of resources for the policing, imprisonment and post-release supervision of those caught up in the criminal justice system has unfolded?
But MoDo is still right, I believe, in this summary:
No matter how odd or confrontational Henry Louis Gates Jr. was that afternoon, he should not have been arrested once Sergeant Crowley ascertained that the Harvard professor was in his own home. President Obama was right the first time, that the encounter had a stupid ending, and the second time, that both Gates and Crowley overreacted.
Maureen's dad was a cop and she knows people like James Crowley. I do too. And Obama is right that cops like Crowley are good men in general (although I can't pass a judgment on someone I don't know). I also believe in being respectful and polite to policemen as a rule, and do not recall any moment in my life when I haven't been. But I do think it's necessary to remember that policemen are our servants, not our masters. We pay their salary - and they'd better treat us right. And I find the many comments that we should always show deference to the man with the gun and the badge and never publicly criticize cops to be alarmingly authoritarian in its implications.
If a cop gives you trouble in your own home after it is perfectly clear that no crime has taken place, you have every right to tell him to get the hell out of your house; and he has no right to hang around. You also have every right to give him your opinion of his police work or his haircut if you so wish.