When Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States, some pointed to this as proof that racism in America no longer exists. Tell that to Harvard professor/author Henry Louis Gates, Jr. As you probably know, Gates was arrested in his Cambridge, MA home last week on charges of disorderly conduct. The charges have since been dropped. If you aren't familiar with the story, you can read it here.
I was surprised to see the man (President Obama) who caused some to say that racism ceased to exist in America be asked about the Henry Louis Gates incident during his press conference on Wednesday night. I give props to the president for not sidestepping our country's history of racial profiling when it comes to African-Americans and Latinos. He has already touched off a firestorm by saying during his answer to the question about the Gates incident that "the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home". Some of those pissed off about the comments don't need much reason to get riled up when it comes to President Obama. Just the fact that a black man is president is reason enough for them. The way I'm reading President Obama's comments, he wasn't saying that the police reacted based on race and that therefore their actions were stupid. He said they were stupid for arresting a man who showed ID in his own house. I feel he would have said the same thing regardless of Gates' race.
Whether race played a factor in the arrest of Henry Louis Gates is something that's up for debate. As unfortunate as this incident is, it has brought the subject of racial profiling back to the national spotlight. It's even caused Gates to announce his plans to make a PBS documentary about racial profiling.
What are your thoughts on the Henry Louis Gates incident and President Obama's comments about it?