Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Race vs Class

He forced the door open with the help of his cab driver, Professor Ogletree said, and had been inside for a few minutes when Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department appeared at his door and asked him to step outside.

Professor Gates, 58, refused to do so, Professor Ogletree said. From that point, the account of the professor and the police began to differ.
Bourgeois black man pulls rank on a white police officer, a humiliation the cop might take from a white man of Gates' rank even though he'd be in his rights to demand he prove his status as the homeowner. He might or he might not, I don't know what happened. Maybe the cop is by the book in which case it's all on Gates.

Gates has made a career explaining black people to whites. He's a self-made man of liberal racial politics with the arrogant thoughtfulness of certain self-consciously earnest zionist intellectuals: he's worked hard to gain the title Sage and he's not going to let you forget it. I don't know anything one way or the other about Gates vis-a-vis Israel, but the petty-bourgeois striver's romanticism of the shtetl or the little town in Virginia, it's the same thing. I'm only somewhat less suspicious of easy claims of racism than I am of easy claims of anti-semitism.
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Update: Gates' statement
The police report
The more I read about this the more Gates comes off as an asshole.

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