Tim McMullen's Missives and Tomes

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Don't try to justify the unjustifiable! An answer to "Who are the real racists?

On the Party builder blog of the Democratic Party, a blogger called "Democrat in San Francisco" wrote the following post:

In regards to the recent arrest of Professor Gates by Officer Crowley,
Officer Crowley said:

"He was cautioned in the house, meaning 'calm down, lower your voice.'" Once we got outside in front of the general public and the police officers that were assembled there, two warnings, the second warning with me holding a set of handcuffs in my hand. It was something I really didn't want to do, but the professor at any point in time could have resolved the issue by quieting down and/or going back in his house."

Who are the real racists here? Would anyone venture to say it is the African Americans? Crowley, a white police officer was racially profiled by Professor Gates. He assumed that Crowley was a racist merely by the color of his skin.

When the professor raised his voice and failed to cooperate, the officer had not other recourse than to do his duty, regardless of the man's color.

African Americans need to realize that racism is alive and well in their own community before pointing the finger and screaming "racist" at the drop of a hat.

The professor was wrong. Anyone who raises his or her voice and is uncooperative with police authorities is subject to the same discipline regardless of status, race, or color. Professor Gates was overreacting and brought this on himself. It is he that should apologize to Officer Crowley for turning this incident into a race issue.

The blogger then goes on to basically reiterate the same points (although throwing in the OJ Simpson case as an example that blacks can be racists???) see the full post here

What follows is my answer.

Dear Democrat in San Francisco—

Racism is real, and it can be found in all races, but the facts in no way bear out your assumptions. Professor Gates was not accused of disturbing the peace. Police officers had come into his home erroneously; they had verified that he was rightfully there, then they "cautioned" him (which, according to your explanation, the officer then "translates for himself" to mean "calm down, lower your voice"). Are you saying that officers can come into your home, ascertain that you have done absolutely nothing wrong, and then arrest you because you are not calm enough or quiet enough to suit them.

You say that the professor was overreacting? This is simply absurd in the extreme. Again, by his own testimony, the officer made it clear that his so-called warnings were overt threats of arrest. He made them while waving his hand-cuffs and "warning" the professor. The president's use of "stupidity" was probably an ill-chosen epithet, but it was not wrong. It was a grotesque abuse of authority. Disorderly conduct because he was wrongfully accused of being in his own house and then threatened because he was upset by this flagrant error? The instant that the officer found that they had committed the error, a simple, "I'm sorry, sir," and an immediate exit would have ended the situation. I don't care how loud he was yelling (but from what I've read of the professor, I'll bet it wasn't even that loud), his arrest was an absolute miscarriage of justice and an abuse of authority, and simply dropping the case is in no way an adequate recompense for the officer's crime. Yes, crime. False arrest and false imprisonment are crimes!

I have great sympathy for police officers, and I understand your wanting to be an apologist for the officer. It is an incredibly difficult job that we ask them to do, and the burden of good judgment is incredibly hard to maintain, but to suggest that the Professor was being a racist for being angry or that the officer was "just doing his job" is an egregious misreading of the facts in this particular case, even as you have outlined them.

To suggest that this was merely the case of an overreacting black man getting his just desserts is a good indication of just how far we still have to go before race does not color our perceptions. (By the way, lest you leap to any other racial assumptions, I am a somewhat pinkish, slightly tannish person, yet despite the obvious distinction between my flesh and the crayola color, I am nevertheless categorized by others as WHITE, a rather humorous misnomer, I might add, as are all our other "racial" colors).

Tim McMullen

I have included my song, "The Governed's Mental Getcha'" which was written when Ronald Reagan was elected, but it seems as relevant as ever.


  1. Tim,
    Well written my friend as well as being right on the money. It is hard not to wonder what the point was on the party builder blog though. I was relieved after reading it that it wasn't you and then delighted when I read your response. The video is also well suited for this write.

    Your friend and follower, Bobby

  2. Thanks again, Bobby. I always appreciate your comments and the fact that you take the time to read this little blog.