Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mr. Gates get off your high horse and get to know thy neighbors

Finally the Police report is listed online in regards to Henry Gates Jr. arrest. Take a look for yourself. The report does not paint Mr. Gates in a good light. According to the non-arresting officer Figueroa, “As I stepped in, I heard Sgt. Crowley ask for the gentleman’s information which he stated “NO I WILL NOT!”. The gentleman was shouting out to the Sgt that the Sgt was a racist and yelled that “This Is WHAT HAPPENS TO ALL BLACK MEN IN AMERICA!” As the Sgt was trying to calm the gentleman, the gentleman shouted “You don’t know who your messing with!”

Henry Gates Jr. is the Director of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African American Research and is the Alphonse Fletcher University professor at Harvard. Mr. Gates is still not happy about his arrest, even though justified, and stated in a phone interview with from Martha’s Vineyard, “I believe the police officer should apologize to me for what he knows he did that was wrong. If he apologizes sincerely, I am willing to forgive him. And if he admits his error, I am willing to educate him about the history of racism in America and the issue of racial profiling.” As an educate man, as Gates is, why feed into the racial profile by not complying with the officers request?

The officer was performing his job. A call came in, by a neighbor of Gates, which two black men were breaking in. The officer had no idea what to expect when he arrived on the scene. Mr. Gates created a scene that resulted in several people to gather around to see what all the commotion was about. That is what he was arrested for. Don’t be a moron when dealing with the police. Has anyone witnessed a positive outcome from yelling, screaming, and calling an officer a name? ANYONE?

Now Mr. Gates is demanding an apology. It is Mr. Gates that should be apologizing. The apology does not need to be made to the general public; rather to his neighbors for being a poor neighbor. Get to know your neighbors. Step outside of your home, get off your high horse, and meet your neighbors, Mr. Gates. By interacting with your neighbors one can break down stereotypes, mitigate situations of mistaken identity, and foster relations. We elected a community activist as President, why doesn’t Mr. Gates learn from that?

When I moved into my hamlet, the rumor was that a gay couple had moved into town.The rumored gay couple was me and my brother. As we interacted with our neighbors the relationship was quickly re-defined. Since that time my brother has moved out, although he does come back from time to time, I have remarried and added to the size of my clan. Just a few years ago we purchased a Rottweiler. Several neighbors became alarmed as ALL Rottweiler’s are aggressive and dangerous dogs. As neighbors, near and far, walked by our corner lot, we welcomed all to come meet our Rottweiler to debunk the myth.

If Mr. Gates really wants to improve race relations he needs to stop playing the race card, get out of the house and meet his neighbors. It is amazing how perceptions change when people exchange in dialogue. Don't be like Mr. Gates, get out of the house and interact with your neighbors.