John McWhorter wonders what we will take away from the latest Teachable Moment:

Any lesson we were supposed to learn from Gates-gate directly is, at this point, too thin to register meaningfully as details have come out. [...] Officer Justin Barrett tossing off messages calling Gates a “banana-eating jungle monkey” – you couldn’t write this thing better -- could be seen as teaching us something: that casual racism is still with us. But didn’t we already know that? The racism of interest is that which deprives people of their rights. To seek a society where there is no racism whatsoever of the parochial barstool sort is to seek a society where no one passes gas. I apologize for the vulgarity, but I consider the analogy precisely correct. There will be no society of Homo sapiens where occasional eruptions of the Barrett sort are unknown: we are animals.

McWhorter then gets to what he says is the real culprit of racial injustice in America: a War On Drugs that disproportionately targets minorities.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.