Gates' Real Offense? 'Speaking Truth to Power'

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2009 7:44 PM CDT
Gates' Real Offense? 'Speaking Truth to Power'
In this photo taken by a neighbor Thursday, Henry Louis Gates Jr. is arrested.   (AP Photo/Demotix Images, B. Carter)

So much for our post-racial society, writes Carol Rose in the Boston Globe. If we needed any evidence that "racism is alive and well," look no further than the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. The Harvard professor was charged with disorderly conduct not because police mistook him for a burglar but because he had the nerve to accuse police of racism. "That’s not disorderly conduct; that’s speaking truth to power—which still isn’t a crime in America."

Massachusetts has a black governor, and the US has a black president. Big deal. These kinds of incidents happen every day, refuting the notion that "race no longer matters," writes Rose. What to do? Here's a start, at least in Massachusetts: Require police to follow the the law themselves and track the race and gender of all people stopped for traffic offenses. About half of the state's police departments "have simply disregarded" that requirement. It's a start toward ending the long practice of considering all black men "suspicious."
(Read more Henry Louis Gates Jr stories.)

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