Thursday, August 6, 2009

Gates, Guns & Goons


I know I don't usually do this. In fact, I haven't done this ever in the history of this blog. But after almost a year of blogcasts, freestyles and Throwbacks, I decided to actually write this time around. I was too lazy to record anything this week, which is ironic, because my original reasoning behind blogcasting instead of blogging was because it was easier for me to get my thoughts out verbally. Oh well...

First off, let's touch on this Henry Louis Gates thing. I won't pretend like I know all the details, and I'm much too lazy to actually do the research. But from what I understand, this black professor couldn't get his front door open and was forced to break into his own house. His neighbor saw what was going on and called the cops on him. The cops showed up, he spazzed out, they arrested him for disorderly conduct. Now a bunch of black people are up in arms because they feel like he was a victim of racial prejudice.

Here's the thing, though... He wasn't arrested for breaking and entering. He was arrested for disorderly conduct. Which means two things: Number one, he saw cops come to his house to ask him about why he had to break in, and he lost it. We don't know what the conversation between him and the officers was. All we know is that he was arrested, and subsequently released. Numero dos, if his neighbor saw him trying to break into the house, should they not have called the cops? Furthermore, should the cops not have arrested him if he was truly out of line?

I, unlike other black folk, don't believe in using the race card to explain everything. Sometimes bad things happen to black people. And a lot of times it's on account of them acting ignorant. A part of me feels like as soon as he saw the cops show up to his house, he probably went all Malcolm X on them and felt like he was being a victim. When, in fact, they were simply responding to a domestic call. I don't know if the arrest was racially motivated. Not saying that it wasn't, but why is everyone so quick to assume that it was? We as black people need to look at all the facts instead of always assuming race is the deciding factor. Can we smarten up, please?

As a New York native, I know as much as anyone else that police brutality exists. And I also understand that a lot of cops make judgment calls on the basis of race. I'd even go so far as to say that I don't trust most police officers. But I don't think that every time a black person gets arrested, it's simply because they're black.

You know, the whole topic actually reminds me of the whole "Free (insert rapper's name)" movement that started a few years ago. From Gucci Mane to Pimp C to Tony Yayo, we always seem so concerned with making sure our rap brethren are released from prison. However, most of these rappers deserve to be in jail for doing stupid things. Take T.I. for example, who had Army guns in his basement like he was getting ready to go to Iraq. Or the aforementioned Pimp C, who actually pulled a gun on a woman in the middle of a shopping mall. Why would we wear t-shirts saying that we should free these people? Is it simply because they're black that we assume they can do no wrong?

Racial politics is a touchy subject that needs to be approached with caution. We need to look at the facts of a situation objectively without first asking, "Wait...Was he black?" That's unhealthy, and above all, it gives a lot of idiots the line of thinking that no matter what they do, it's always the white man's fault. A lot of people think that having a black President gives us the right to act however we want, because "now white people have to respect us." In actuality, Obama's inauguration has done nothing more than give us added responsibility. We have to understand that because of the President's position, everything we as a people do will be further scrutinized. Obama's presidency isn't a free pass; it's really a challenge.

4 comments:

annie384 said...

Sooooo.... how do you feel about Obama's comment that the police "acted stupidly"? I personally think that he should have remained diplomatic and should not have made such a statement because he was adding fuel to the fire. BTW here is the actual police report of the incident in case you're interested. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0723092gates1.html

Esther said...

I'm with you on pulling the race card too often Joel... like yes bad stuff does happen to black people simply because they are black - but not EVERYTHING is racist... sometimes you really just deserve it.

As far as the Gates controversy specifically I can't really call it from a distance. A) I do feel like "disorderly conduct" is a bs charge in almost ANY case... cops just like it to stroke their ego. B) Annie384 I'm with you... a man with that many degrees shouldn't use the term "stupidly" in a national address. C) What ever happened to the days when you actually knew who your neighbors were and would either be able to tell that that man lived there, or left Gates in a situation where he was comfortable enough to use their phone to call a locksmith or something? but I digress...

Another card that gets thrown out in the black community too much is the topic of slavery. Yes it happened, yes the whole world was affected by American slavery but it's been over for about 400 years now. Not to say it should be 4gotten or ignored but it CAN'T be an excuse for everything wrong in the black community.

Mr. First said...

@ Esther...

I thought about the same thing in reference to the neighbor. But that's the world we live in today. I don't know my neighbors, and truth be told, I never hung out with any of my neighbors growing up, either. Might sound bad, but it's perfectly believable that his neighbor had no idea who he was.

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