Gates to Black People: 'Don't Step Onto That Porch!'

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2009 12:30 PM CDT
Gates to Black People: 'Don't Step Onto That Porch!'
Henry Louis Gates Jr. center, the director of Harvard University's W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research, is arrested at his home in Cambridge, Mass.   (AP Photo)

Henry Louis Gates is upset about his arrest, in which he sees wide implications and a potential "teachable moment." The Harvard professor talks it over with the Daily Beast in the person of Elizabeth Gates, who happens to be his daughter:

  • On the police: "I’m glad that this lady called 911. I hope right now if someone is breaking into my house she’s calling 911 and the police will come! I just don’t want to be arrested for being black at home!"

  • On the racial issue: "If I had been white this incident never would have happened. He would have asked at the door, 'Excuse me, are you OK? Because there are two black men around here try’na rob you.'"
  • On racial profiling: "I was cast by him in a narrative and he didn't know how to get out of it, and then when I demanded—which I did—his name and badge number, I think he just got really angry."
  • On lessons learned: "I think it's incumbent upon me to not let it drop—not to sweep it under the carpet—but to use this as a teaching event for the Cambridge police and police in general and for black people—don't step out of your house. Don't step onto that porch! You're vulnerable."
(More Henry Louis Gates Jr stories.)

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