Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Brown Man's Burden

Racial profiling has long been a problem in this nation. What happens when it occurs with a very prominent African-American? Outrage.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. is a leading historian and scholar who was arrested at his Cambridge home for what was described as "loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space."
The officers responded to a call by a white woman about a potential break in. The officers came to the home of Gates and found him in the foyer. Of course, he became upset when officers implied that it wasn't his home and asked him for identification. He refused and became irate.

I can't believe that things like these are still happening. Wait...yes I can. After reading the story about the segregated prom, being profiled myself by officers, and the controversy surrounding the ethnocentric attitudes toward Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation hearings, it is clear that this nation still has a lot of healing to do in terms of race.
The Barack Obama campaign for presidency also unearthed many skeletons in our closet.
Model/Actor Boris Kodjoe commented on the Gates situation, citing incidents in which delivery men had asked him for the man of the house at his own home, implying that he was the help.
The fact that Gates isn't a rapper, athlete, or other high profile celeb who could have been seen as the typical "threatening" image makes matters worse. He's a scholar. An author. A HARVARD professor! He couldn't have possibly been seen as a real threat. He was arrested solely for being a brown man outside of a big house.
During the ordeal, Gates questioned the officers and their motives.
'Why, because I'm a black man in America?', he asked.
When will we learn?

[Read the full CNN Article HERE]