I don't think I've ever seen Harold Ford this animated, and I think I know why. I want to go back to something I said yesterday--There are a class of black people who understand that this sort of thing happens, and believe race is an aggravating factor. They get pissed off about this sort of thing, but at the same time, position it within their expectations of cops.
And then there are a class of black people, who like other highly accomplished people, have higher expectations, for how the police treat all people, but specifically for how cops treat them. I think it's important to remember, when you hear Barack Obama doubling down on this, exactly what world of black people he's rolling with. It's worth understanding, specifically, the world of Valarie Jarrett. It's worth understanding that Harold Ford isn't just a black guy, he's the scion of a southern political dynasty. This isn't Good Times. Or the Coates family. (Though we are on our way up, Negroes. Hide your debutantes, and guard your grill.)
There's a way of doing this analysis as a criticism--i.e. they only care because it's Gates. Surely class plays a role, but I think seeing it that way is as reductive as a strict race analysis. I also don't want to slip into any lazy-ass bashing of the black upper-middle class. I've got no beef with Jack & Jill. Living in Harlem, I probably wouldn't do it. But if I lived in Colorado, I may well feel different.
Lastly, it's interesting that Mike Barnicle can't acknowledge that this guy made a stupid bust. The whole panel has basically given up the racial profiling theory. But Barnicle can't move an inch. That may be generational. Or ethnic. Or geographical. Or just human.