Thursday, July 23, 2009

I beg to differ Mr. President

President Obama,

You were asked last night about a black Harvard Professor who was arrested for disorderly conduct after breaking into his own home. The police responded to a call of two men breaking in to the home, asked to see his ID, and he defiantly refused and accused the officers of racism. Eventually he shows proof of ownership, but continues to be agitated. You said that "I think it's fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry,"

Apparently you and I are different. I would not be upset to see the police showing to prevent what looked like a burglary of my property. I would be grateful and happily show them my ID. I would be left thinking I live in a safe neighborhood with a good neighborhood watch. Hopefully I would know my neighbors so they would have recognized me in the first place, but that's beside the point.

And then you had the boldness to say "No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home." I still can't believe called the police officers stupid for doing their job and responding to a robbery. Sure, now you are claiming that you were calling the incident stupid. But clearly you said the police acted stupidly, which implies you called the police officers stupid. The professor was not arrested at that point for breaking into his home, he was arrested for disorderly conduct.

You then said "And No. 3 — what I think we know separate and apart from this incident — is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionally and that’s just a fact." Whether or not you not you said it was apart from this incident, your words in fact imply you are calling the officers racists. I think its obvious this wasn't a case of racism. Perhaps the man shouldn't have been arrested, but if you're being yelled at and called a racist for doing your job you aren't going to be sympathetic. There was a black officer present. Additionally, the arresting officer has taught a diversity class to other officers for the past five years. I don't think a racist would do that. The police officer shouldn't be apologizing, you and the professor you should be apologizing for calling him racist.

It wouldn't surprise me if your friend Professor Gates wanted to be arrested. I'm not saying he came thinking he would get arrested. But now that he was arrested he is on cable news. Next thing you know he will be announcing his book deal.

Sincerely,

Greg

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