Gates Revisited

If you want an interesting take on the Professor Gates hullabaloo, read Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson’s piece this week. In it, he argues that Cambridge, Mass., locals should be used to interacting with proud macaronis like Harvard professors because, well, they’re smart and doggone it, they know it. But I don’t buy that “Big Cheese” line of reasoning. Just because Ivy League professors teach students to question authority doesn’t mean they now have license to flaunt it.

Robinson then ignorantly presumes to place himself on the doorstep of Gates’s home that evening. He opines, “Apparently, there was something about the power relationship involved — uppity, jet-setting black professor vs. regular-guy, working-class white cop — that Crowley couldn't abide. Judging by the overheated commentary that followed, that same something, whatever it might be, also makes conservatives forget that they believe in individual rights and oppose intrusive state power.”

Why was the onus on Crowley, a “regular-guy, working-class cop” (read: not too bright) and not Gates? After all, if you take Robinson’s argument to its logical conclusion, Gates was clearly the intellectual alpha male, capable of lucid reasoning, no? In fact, he should have predicted the Robinson-implied Neanderthal response by Crowley, and adjusted his attitude to defuse the situation.

This is the problem I have when social liberals write from their ivory towers. They casually wring their hands while sighing to say, “We shouldn’t suffer these fools! They are our intellectual inferiors. Anyone can see that.”

That’s it? That’s the justification for someone to lay into an officer of the law, and with even more hyperbole because one happens to be black and the other white? I’m sorry, but to agree with Robinson’s argument is to cheapen, not enrich, the accomplishments of race in this country.

In fact, I think we would all agree race was abruptly and awkwardly injected into this vignette, first by Gates himself, but surely perpetuated by us in the media. For me, it comes down to human decency and respect for your fellow man. Isn’t that what Dr. King would have first asked and expected?


Mr. Williams will appear on Saturday, Aug. 1 on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. EST to discuss race in America.


Visit www.armstrongwilliams.com .

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