An example of racism or law enforcement?
The controversy over the Cambridge police arrest of Henry Louis Gates shows that the conversation about race in America remains fraught with pitfalls and a difficult topic.
It appears that even the woman who phoned in the 911 call is having to defend herself from criticism which is very disappointing.
President Obama wading into the topic with strong language raised the temperature on the story. To President Obama's credit, he has recognized his words were unfortunate and has proposed that he, Prof. Gates and Officer Crowley meet at the White House for a beer to talk.
Was the confrontation at the home of Prof. Gates racism or law enforcement?
I don't know.
But what I do know is that though America has come a long way in regards to race, the tempest over this case shows we still have a ways to go.
President Obama's "beer diplomacy" in this case is something we could learn from.
I often hear the phrase, "racial reconciliation" and I think one place that can happen is to simply listen and talk with someone who is different from one's self. In that setting, it becomes possible to see the other person as a fellow human being and that skin color is just a part of who we are and not all of what we are.
Update: CNN interviews some of the police officers of Cambridge.
Update: Thoughts from Brazile on the situation. Excerpt:
Therefore, I was not surprised by the findings of a recent WSJ/NBC poll. It found that just 4 percent of African-Americans think Gates was more at fault compared to 30 percent who pointed to the officer. Among whites, 32 percent said Gates was more at fault while 7 percent identified Crowley.I suppose the day we truly "get past" race is when there isn't such a divergence in the response.
Update: Lucia Whalen who made the 911 phone call speaks out to clear her name.