Friday, July 31, 2009



I tried to post a comment on your entry about Glen Beck the other day, but it would not take.

There was a response that a woman left I believe, to the effect of the officer was only doing his job and had Prof. Gates been more co-operative ...

... yeah, she REALLY read your entry. Because I am sure that your cousin was as 'cooperative' as his situation called for.

That was a very appropriate story for you to have shared. As a minority, the distance between 'normal' (or as normal as such as thing can be) and tragedy is a not as far, but the problem of the Gates incident was one of what happens when an asshole (yes, there is an 'language advisory' for this issue of 'Stars ..."!) has an outsized sense of importance and authority.

Campus Police. To me, it was the equivalent of the 'weekend warriors' coming to do their annual training. I have a better understanding now, but I think that the everyday soldiers have a little bit of resentment for the 'sorta in, sorta out' Reserves and Guard. Something about greater commitment, sense of duty and responsiblity. Besides, living it every day, you have more experience in your two years than a Reservist or Guardsman has in their four.

As a campus police officer, the responsiblities aren't the same as that of an actual officer of the law. He has some powers, and they elevate him above that of citizen. He can do things that you, gentle reader, and I can't do.

One, is walk around with a gun. Two, is place me in handcuffs and deny me my freedom.

Imagine, if you will, an elementary school or middle school child. What kind of authority does an adult represent to them? What kind of powers do they have over them. Schopanuer says, 'lest law and compulsion bind them', some folks are just going to be son's of bitches, no matter what.

Like the cat that hassled Professor Gates. Who, by his demeanor wasn't so big a threat. He was dressed for the environment, had KEYS TO HIS HOUSE, and did not LOOK like a burgular. The officer may have been called for one thing, but where in the world was his freakin' discretion? Do you treat playing with matches the same as sneaking some ice cream before dinner with your child? Hell, there are even degrees to that ... you treat matches like ice cream if your kid is a diabetic, wouldn't you? Still, you would like to think that the officer would know the difference between a threat to the neighborhood and someone trying to get into his own home. After all, isn't he paid to know the difference? Someone with police powers, also inherit the 'protect and serve' responsiblity that comes with being a part of law enforcement.

Who the hell was this cat serving?


Another journal that I read, is VERY black. I won't link it, for fear that it would offend some of your sensibilities. But I am going to try to help readers understand what the incident said to unspoken concerns about this new 'post racial' society.

First, I want to use Glen Beck as an example. Now that we are 'past racism', it is okay to throw that word out for use willy-nilly. It is not. We should not become desensitized to certain words and phrases. The Holocaust will always evoke THE HOLOCAUST, and same goes for Racism. There are some things that will always mean what they mean. In fact, his ramble and this incident pushed me over into the 'hate crime' attachment side of that discussion.

The factor that did it, was the dispatcher's INSISTENCE that someone of color, in this case Hispanic, be the reason for the caller's suspicions. There was the first sign of the potential damage of INSTITUTIONALIZED RACISM that minorities feel, and was possibly present in this case.

The danger of cats like Glen Beck spouting off with thoughtless comments, like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, is that they fan the flames of hate and fear, and because it doesn't serve any constructive purpose, you have to think it is just to maintain and grow THEIR influence. The more they hate, the more you buy, and the more money and power they have.

Glen Beck doesn't give a fuck about you, this country or quite possibly his Mother. Yeah, I said it. Would walk on the set and take the beat down that would come after to say it to his face. What a fuck.

But within the black community ... if you THINK I am upset now, man, if the fellas on the blog that I spoke of was at a bar or a Denny's with this conversation, my head might explode!

Black people have such a problem with their own identity WITHIN their own group. Are you black enough?? To be honest, the genetic differences BETWEEN those in a group are of a greater measure than the difference OUTSIDE of a group ... talk about irony!

Many blacks argue that is what Prof. Gates deserves, marrying a white girl and moving out where we know they don't like black people (the Mass. Gov and the mayor nonwithstanding ... so do you get an understanding of the insecurity 'we' feel?), and instead of helping out 'your brothers' by taking your intellect to Howard, you go to lilly-white Harvard and get all that 'prestige' rubbed in your face.

Having been to an HBCU, that is soo much bullshit. Spike Lee came as close as anyone to the fake confusion of black college life with the movie 'School Daze'. The phrase, 'you can't win for losing' fits here.

It isn't that Dr. Gates should feel any particular allegiance to the black experience. He doesn't owe anyone anything for maxiumizing his opportunity at life and what door's life held open for him. To say that he got his 'just desserts' racially, is as wrong headed as the practice that blacks seem to revel in, in resenting those who dare to embrace a different culture. As if being drunk, high, having babies, and wearing our pants to show are shit-stained underwear is something to embrace. Oh, let's not forget the hyper sexualization of our women, making them modern day 'Hottentots' and the disrespect for anything that approaches fitting into a balance.

I could go on, because I KNOW I left something out. But if you don't get the point, then I can't help you. Maybe if I say that blacks have a LOT of self loathing to over come as a collective consciousness... One of the problems of intergration, is that it took things like Idlewild, and instantly made them inferior. The fine businesses and schools that were developed for blacks during Jim Crow, didn't just become out of step with the time ... white folks didn't get the chance to come and frequent them, because WE TORE THEM DOWN!!

We starved our own service industry. We abandoned our own neighborhoods, and when you say that something is bad long enough ...

My darling brother had problems in school. Mainly, it was due to the socialization, but the result was that he stopped 'learning'. He wasn't 'dumb', despite what the teachers and his test said. And if you ever called him 'dumb' or 'stupid', you got an ass kicking.

My Mom believed, like many people claim to do, that if you call something by a negative name or word long enough, it will eventually take on that negative characteristic.

Black people need to look in that collective mirror, and admit that in the freakin' end, we are doing it to ourselves ... "We have met the enemy, and it is us." - Pogo.

"Don't hate," as the kids say, that Prof. Gates made a life and espouses a different thinking than the 'sleep 'n eat' culture that I think is pervasive in our social consciouness. He has earned his freakin' stature ... go work and get some of your own!!


I like the word 'overarching'. It is a device I wanted to use for a different kind of entry, as my life morphs into whatever it is going to morph into. But this is as good as a place as any for its debut.

The rent a cop made a fuck up. Period. You DON'T arrest someone who LOOKS like he belongs in the environment. Aplogists for the officer can suck a pickle. Beth's example lets you in on what happens when someone who walks around with the ablity to decide someone's life on an impulse, has a higher responsiblity for HIS decorum.

Oh, that he tried to save Reggie Leiws life when he collapsed? Look, next time you go to work, don't do what you are qualified for, that you were either trained in and hired based on that training, or instructed on and PUT IN YOUR PERSONNEL FILE and see what it get you? Days off, perhaps?? Or will the Turk bring you a box and walk you down to Human Resources for an interview?

That is why he did CPR on Reggie Lewis. Not that he isn't a resentful, small brained, racially biased cat. HE HAD NO FREAKIN' CHOICE ... IT WAS HIS JOB!!

I don't think I would have gotten so amped, had I not read that incident about your cousin, Beth. The entire situation is that it could have been avoided if the officer actually did his job, by finding out how to resolve the situation. HE HAD THE POWER. And he misused it.

I find that there was a racist culture present, because the dispatch badgered the caller who CLEARLY STATED what she saw ... which didn't in my mind, jibe with her ideal of who would be struggling to get into a house in that neigborhood.

Apologies again for the language, because it may have offended some. It did fit, and I couldn't find anything else to convey the appropriate emotional heft for this entry.


Beth said...

Whew. You must have been riled because I've never seen you drop an F-bomb. :)

Thank you for your perspective on this. As I was trying to get across, I can never know how it feels to be in that position. I just can't. Keep in mind, too, that Gates saw the Civil Rights movement and what was done to "uppity blacks" back then. Who's to say he didn't flashback to things he saw 40 years ago?

If any good can come from this mess, I hope it's that people do try to see others' viewpoints, and realize that things aren't always black and white (pun intended). A badge and a uniform do not confer some sort of magical moral superiority, and we know that all too well in my family. Do we hate all cops? Of course not. But to say that the cop is always right merely because he's a cop--or that the person arrested must have been doing something wrong or he wouldn't have been arrested--is foolish, naive, and dangerous.

Thanks for this entry, Mark. It meant a lot to me. Love, Beth

miss alaineus said...

this needs to be published mark.


a corgi said...

I sort of skimmed this, Mark; I don't know all the details of what happened between the Professor and the cop so I'm not going to comment on it at all.

Its interesting though, my only thought, profiling goes on a lot not just with people of color, but white boys who drive older Cadillacs. its not fair wherever/whoever it happens to


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

My step-father is an ex-cop, and dispite his failings and limitations, he would never have stooped to what happened to Beth's cousin or to Dr. Gates.

I know how upset Beth and I are by this whole episode, so cannot even begin to understand how you and Sheria feel.

Thank you for sharing.