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Thread: Black scholar's arrest raises profiling questions

  1. #91
    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    I know personally I would be pissed if someone told me they were looking into me breaking into my own house. Not cool.
    On the flip, it's not a good idea to lip off to a cop.
    Add to that nothing was filmed and I don't get how his own neighbors didn't know who he was and called the cops.

  2. #92
    Bronze Member Banshee's Avatar
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    I actually did have to break into my own house once at night (my roommate put the chain on and then passed out) and one of my neighbors did call the cops and I'm glad- if anyone is sticking a coat hanger in my mailbox to slip the chain off the door, then I would hope the cops get called. It took me a couple minutes to get out of hot water and then all was well. But, I had my ID out as soon as I saw the cop car pull up.

  3. #93
    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by visitor42 View Post
    It's not relevant, but it leads me to think that the cop really is racist.
    I don't know if it makes him racist or not, but it was just irrelevant. Especially when you follow it up with, 'I support the president 110%.'

    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    I definitely wasn't comparing my experience to that of a black man. I grew up in a big city, I know what goes on. I know the score.

    But though I know the cop is wrong, it's still smarter to just be polite and not raise the issue of the cop being out of line. I may be right, be he has the gun and the badge, and the power to haul my ass to jail- even if he can't charge me with something that will stick, he sure can ruin my day by hauling me in. So I act polite, because it makes things easier.
    I didn't think you were comparing the situations. I was just pointing out that the dynamics would be different.

    And I agree with you. When dealing with the cops it's ALWAYS a good idea to keep your cool. Losing your temper just creates bigger problems. But on the other side of the issue, too many cops these days are on power trips and seem to think that they have unfettered power.

    Quote Originally Posted by HWBL View Post
    Exactly. As I understand it, he offered to show his ID which was inside
    the house, the cop followed him inside, saw the ID and still it wasn't
    enough for him? He still wanted an explanation on why Gates had trouble
    entering his own home? And then you arrest a guy because that kind of
    questioning after providing evidence of home ownership is pissing him off?



    Hear, hear. Unfortunately that's still a fact in many states, not just the
    stereotypical prejudiced Southern states. AC 360 had a series a few
    months ago, how in - I believe - some Texas towns, police was instructed
    to stop minority drivers and charge them with anything. The series was
    called highway robbery. Now, that's probably, hopefully, an extreme.
    But when you're colored/black and just happen to be driving or walking in
    the wrong (white) neighborhood (like, trying to find an address that you
    DO have an appointment to go to), you'd better be able to back up your
    story, or else......

    I do believe it was inappropriate of Obama to address this incident at length
    during a press conference on the health care issue, regardless of any specific
    question being asked about it. He should have just said that this was not the
    time or the place for that subject and that he would respond at a later time
    when he felt he had all the facts.
    I think Obama would've caught more grief if he hadn't addressed it. He caught grief from people about not addressing Prop 8, the Iran protests, MJ's death, etc. So, I think whether he addressed it or not, he would've caught grief. He was doing okay, until the comment about the cops, and that's when it all went to shit.

    The cops did act stupidly in that situation, but that's not something the President of the United States should EVER say, especially during a primetime press conference.

  4. #94
    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Steven Colbert gave his take on the Gates situation on his show.

    ThreatDown - Henry Louis Gates Jr., Bill Gates & Wilford Brimley | July 23, 2009 | ColbertNation.com

  5. #95
    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Funny..
    Baltimore O's ​Fan!

    I don''t know if she really fucked the board though. Maybe just put the tip in. -Mrs. Dark

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    Gold Member mamaste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Being abusive to cops who accuse you of breaking into your own home isn't a reason to be arrested. Unless he hit one of the cops, or threatened them, they had no reason to arrest him.
    Which is why he wasn't arrested in the house. They couldn't.

    No matter how non-racist you think you are, unless you have made a conscious decision to unlearn racism, it will creep in from time to time. Understanding how you view people different from you is an important part of that process. Understanding how you view your race is an important part, too. Understanding how that changes the perception of those not like you is very important. If you don't unlearn racism, you'll spend your time looking for ways to make racist situations about anything other than race, which belittles the experience of those that are on the receiving end.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamaste View Post
    Which is why he wasn't arrested in the house. They couldn't.

    No matter how non-racist you think you are, unless you have made a conscious decision to unlearn racism, it will creep in from time to time. Understanding how you view people different from you is an important part of that process. Understanding how you view your race is an important part, too. Understanding how that changes the perception of those not like you is very important. If you don't unlearn racism, you'll spend your time looking for ways to make racist situations about anything other than race, which belittles the experience of those that are on the receiving end.
    Exactly. Everyone, regardless of race, has prejudices. Some people may see racism where there is none, and others may ignore racism when it's present. Either way, it does diminish the experience of those who actually have gone through it.

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    Naturally. Racial leech.

    Anyway, the guy was trying to break into a house near Harward and then got belligerent with police?

    Uh, they'll arrest anybody doing that, retard.
    Point is cops wouldn't have even cared if it were a white man. Who wouldn't be pissed that you get accused of breaking into your OWN house.

    Some people have a great distrust of cops, for example my boyfriend has watched people bleed to death cuz the cops wouldn't come and the ambulance took too long. His grandparents called the police because people broke into their house when they were home NO ONE came. Shoot out no one comes. Great trusting relationship that's been built there huh?

  9. #99
    Silver Member gardenofeve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamaste View Post
    Which is why he wasn't arrested in the house. They couldn't.

    No matter how non-racist you think you are, unless you have made a conscious decision to unlearn racism, it will creep in from time to time. Understanding how you view people different from you is an important part of that process. Understanding how you view your race is an important part, too. Understanding how that changes the perception of those not like you is very important. If you don't unlearn racism, you'll spend your time looking for ways to make racist situations about anything other than race, which belittles the experience of those that are on the receiving end.
    Wow, I have read a lot about racism in my time, but this is probably one of the best statements and most accessible to JQP I have come across.

  10. #100
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maryk View Post
    Point is cops wouldn't have even cared if it were a white man. Who wouldn't be pissed that you get accused of breaking into your OWN house.

    Some people have a great distrust of cops, for example my boyfriend has watched people bleed to death cuz the cops wouldn't come and the ambulance took too long. His grandparents called the police because people broke into their house when they were home NO ONE came. Shoot out no one comes. Great trusting relationship that's been built there huh?
    if i was breaking into my own house, i'd damn well hope a neighbor calls the police to be sure instead of just ignoring it
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  11. #101
    Elite Member Penny Lane's Avatar
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    A few different perspectives on the whole situation.

    Henry Louis Gates Jr., a prominent Harvard scholar of African-American history, was arrested at his home in Cambridge, Mass., last week by an officer investigating a report of a burglary in progress. Although charges for disorderly conduct were dropped, the incident has caused a stir over the issue of racial profiling.

    We asked some experts, if this is an example of racial profiling, how far have we progressed in reducing that problem (through federal monitoring of law enforcement agencies and the like), and what more might be done?

    Complicated Dynamics
    Ralph Richard Banks, the Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, has written extensively about race, crime and policing, and is currently working on a book about the decline in marriage among African-Americans.

    The arrest of Professor Gates by a Cambridge police officer has been viewed by many as simply the latest incident in a long history of racial profiling by law enforcement officers. But rendering this episode as a case of racial profiling obscures more than it illuminates.

    This is not a classic instance of racial profiling, in which a police officer assumed that Professor Gates was breaking into a home simply because he is black. Rather, Officer James Crowley was summoned by a woman who observed two black men on the porch trying to force open the door.

    The officer approached Professor Gates not as a result of a racial profile, but based on a witness’s account of a specific suspect engaged in suspicious behavior, just as we should expect him to.

    What happened next illustrates the complicated dynamics of race, crime and policing. Professor Gates would not have been arrested had he been a white Harvard professor, but for reasons that have as much to do with him as with the officer.

    Did Professor Gates exhausted after his long flight from China and perhaps irritable after being unable to gain entry to his own home, become outraged when he was questioned by Officer Crowley and ordered to step outside? Maybe. Did the police officer overreact to the professor’s outburst? Certainly. Did race shape their responses? Most likely.

    The officer, rather than treat Professor Gates as a respected member of the Harvard faculty, probably expected more deference from him because he was black. Professor Gates, in turn, probably offered more defiance because the officer was white. Just as the officer may have presumed that Professor Gates did not belong in the upscale neighborhood, Professor Gates may have presumed that Crowley was a racist, intent on harassing him.

    There is no question that the officer overreacted. Professor Gates should never have been handcuffed and taken to jail. But if we are to understand not only this disturbing incident but more tragic interactions as well, we need to look beyond the question of racial profiling. We need to appreciate the myriad historical and contemporary factors that too often poison relations between African Americans and law enforcement agencies.

    We would all benefit if law enforcement officers were better trained to de-escalate such volatile encounters and defuse the understandable anger of those citizens whom they are pledged to serve.

    More Ways of Looking at a Black Man
    Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor, is an associate dean and professor of law at George Washington University. His new book is “Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice.”

    In a 1995 New Yorker magazine article, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man,” Henry Louis Gates lamented the profound distrust between African-Americans and the cops. “Blacks — in particular, black men — swap their experiences of police encounters like war stories,” he wrote, “and there are few who don’t have more than one story to tell.”

    Here’s mine: In 1990, after graduating from Harvard Law School, I joined the U.S. Department of Justice, where I was assigned a high-profile case, the prosecution of a senator for public corruption. Shortly before the trial date, I was arrested outside my home for a crime I didn’t commit.

    It was a silly little misdemeanor, a Fred-and-Barney dispute about a parking space, but my real crime, like Professor Gates’, was being an uppity black man in front of a cop. When the police falsely accused me, I too got loud. One gets that way when he’s a black man who’s always tried to do the right thing and still ends up treated like a you-know-what by the police.

    I made the mistake of showing my arresting officer my Justice department badge. He smirked and said “You probably know this already: You have the right to remain silent ….” Then he put me in handcuffs and whisked me off to jail.

    I insisted on going to trial; I wanted an official declaration of my innocence, which a jury took less than 15 minutes to provide. Years later, I joke that the experience made a man out of me — a black man. The joke still gets stuck in my throat.

    It is 2009 and yes, an African-American is president of the United States. Few police officers are racists, and the Cambridge police were right to investigate the reported crime.

    Professor Gates might not have been arrested if he’d been more submissive — let the cop win the masculinity contest. Every brotha has played that game as well: you don’t look the popo in the eye, you do say “sir” a lot, and maybe you won’t get locked up. Then you go home and stew in the stuff that gives African-American men low life expectancy in America.

    Still it doesn’t take diversity training for the police to understand that some people — especially black folks — will get very angry when a cop enters their home and asks for proof they live there. After seeing the identification, the officer should have just left. Whatever Professor Gates said, the sad truth is that a cop hears worse things shouted at his squad car any random day in the inner city.

    The real tragedy is this: Professor Gates and I, with our excellent lawyers and middle-class privilege, will be just fine. That’s not true with many of our young brothers.

    A black man born in the 1990’s can expect, statistically, that he will be arrested at some point in his life. For many, it’s the start of a downward cycle that includes unemployment and a broken family. None of this is the fault of the police, but cops don’t encourage respect for the law when they treat even law-abiding citizens like criminals.

    And it’s fine for President to go to the N.A.A.C.P. and scold black parents about their kids playing too much Nintendo. I agree. But I also hope that the brother with the biggest soapbox in the world seizes this as a teachable moment for white folks. Racism still matters. It’s okay for the president to talk about that too.

    Overcoming Implicit Bias
    Lorie Fridell is an associate professor of criminology at the University of South Florida. She consults with police departments and provides command-level training on racial profiling. Her most recent article is entitled, “Racially Biased Policing: The Law Enforcement Response to the Implicit Black-Crime Association.”

    Many of the stakeholders around the country have declared that racial profiling — or what I call “racially biased policing” — is the result of “widespread racism in policing.”

    Yes, there are bad police; yes, there are racist police. But, that said, I think this cause-and-effect declaration is overly narrow, inappropriately tarnishes the overwhelming number of officers in this country who want to practice fair and good policing, and thwarts constructive discussion and change.

    While some of the bias in policing is caused by intentional discrimination against people of color and other groups, the social-psychological research points to another mechanism producing biased behavior.

    Social psychologists have shown that “implicit” or “unconscious” bias can affect what people perceive and do, even in people who consciously hold non-prejudiced attitudes. These associations or mental shortcuts include automatic or implicit associations between minorities, particularly African Americans, and crime. (just a note: here's a video on the whole implicit/hidden racism thing YouTube - Dateline NBC: Psychological Dispositions in Black & White and a study on weapon bias/assessment of danger with respect to race http://www.psych.uncc.edu/pagoolka/cdps287.pdf )

    Implicit bias might lead the officer to automatically perceive crime in the making when she observes two young Hispanic males driving in an all-white neighborhood or lead an officer to be “under-vigilant” with a female subject because he associates crime and violence with males.

    It may manifest itself among law enforcement agency commanders who decide (without crime-relevant evidence) that a planned gathering of African-American college students bodes trouble, while a planned gathering of white undergraduates does not.

    Though it cannot easily undo the implicit associations that took a lifetime to develop, training that makes officers aware of their unconscious biases so they counteract them can help. Social psychologists have shown that, with information and motivation, people can carry out controlled (unbiased) behavioral responses that override automatic (bias-promoting) associations.

    With funding from the Department of Justice, I’m working with other experts to develop two training curricula — one for law enforcement academy recruits and one for first-line supervisors. These curricula are based on the social psychological research on human biases. Even the best law enforcement officers may manifest bias because they are human, and even the best agencies will have biased policing because they hire humans to do the work.

    Race Influences Perception
    Samuel R. Sommers is an associate professor of psychology at Tufts University.

    When it comes to matters of race, the problem with asking how much progress we’ve made is not that there isn’t a right answer. It’s that there are two. Ask white Americans about race relations, and most focus on how far we’ve come. Ask black Americans, and you’re more likely to hear how far we still have to go.

    Have we made strides when it comes to racial profiling? Sure. The practice now has a well-known name, jurisdictions keep statistics to track it, and commissions have been established to eradicate it. But what the arrest of Dr. Gates crystallizes is that we still have a ways to go.

    Whether the person who called the police or the officer who arrived on the scene consciously considered race is beside the point. What we know from scores of studies is that race influences our mental calculus — sometimes when we aren’t aware of it, when we don’t want it to, and even on the police force.

    In psychological research, participants exposed to subliminal photos of black men are quicker to identify ambiguous images as weapons. Respondents in police simulation studies — including actual officers — are more likely to mistake innocuous items for guns when held by a black man. These are basic human tendencies to which many of us fall victim, yet they aren’t inevitable with proper vigilance or training.

    That’s what makes knee-jerk denials that race played a role in Dr. Gates’s arrest so disappointing. I’m not arguing that race was the only reason things went down as they did. I wasn’t there; details remain fuzzy. But let’s be honest: white Harvard professors just don’t get charged with disorderly conduct in their own homes. And when black men of less renown are arrested under similar circumstances, we don’t hear about it on the news.

    No Easy Answer
    Peter Moskos is an assistant professor of law, police science and criminal justice administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the City University of New York’s doctoral program in sociology. A former Baltimore City police officer, he is the author of “Cop in the Hood.”

    As long as race matters in America, racial profiling will exist. But counter intuitively, police need to have more discretion, not less, to lessen profiling.

    Police, at least in theory, are trained to avoid profiling. The same can’t be said for the public. If a citizen calls to report a suspicious person, police are suddenly forced into a situation that could very well stem from the ignorance or racism of some anonymous caller. And ignorance, which comes from all races, does not lend itself to effective community policing. Unfortunately, the age of the knowledgeable local foot officer is over.

    There is a small segment of the population — street-corner young male high-school drop-out drug dealers come to mind — that should be profiled. Police attention will and should focus on high-crime corners. If these corners are black, well, reality often isn’t politically correct. In New York City, there are about 40 white and 330 black homicide victims per year.

    While on patrol, police often disparage the criminals they see. When patrolling an active and violent drug corner in an African-American section of Baltimore, I half-jokingly accused my partner of not liking black people. He took offense and responded passionately, “I got nothing against black people. I just don’t like these black people. I don’t care what color they are. If they were white people acting this way, I wouldn’t like them any better.”

    Race often combines with more substantive issues of class and culture. As class and culture affect behavior, race becomes entangled in the mix and the issue of racial profiling becomes even more complicated.

    Certainly some police, especially some white police officers, could do a better job of making class distinctions within African-American neighborhoods. But even if police were race-blind, as long as whites and blacks have different levels of violent crime, it is as inevitable as it is unfortunate that some innocent blacks will suffer from greater police presence.

    There will always be some overlap between racism and profiling and between profiling and policing. How to limit this is a tough question without an easy answer.

    A Zero-Tolerance Policy
    Frank Askin is a distinguished professor of law at Rutgers Law School-Newark, and the founding director of the law school’s Constitutional Litigation Clinic. He is a general counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union.

    Combating profiling requires eternal vigilance by law-enforcement agencies. Unless an agency enforces a zero-tolerance policy, police officers will inevitably pick on those they perceive to be the most vulnerable members of society in the hope of finding wrongdoers and winning commendation and promotion.

    In 1970, I brought the first police profiling case in the country on behalf of the New Jersey A.C.L.U. against the New Jersey State Police for stopping and searching hippies on the state’s highways. We alleged that the troopers viewed the practice as a no-lose situation. If they occasionally made a drug bust, they would win rewards; and they were never punished for unconstitutional searches. We sought a federal injunction to require the State Police officials to train their officers in proper patrol practices and to institute a system of punishments for those who violated constitutional rights.

    After a 6-month trial in a federal court in Newark, we proved what the U.S. Court of Appeals described as the “callous indifference by the New Jersey State Police for the rights of citizens using the roads.” However, the United States Supreme Court in a related case against the Philadelphia Police Department had prohibited the federal courts from issuing injunctions against state and local police for a pattern or practice of unconstitutional behavior.

    It was another quarter century before the New Jersey State Police came under a court order to prevent racial profiling on the state’s roads. And more recent reports suggest that the New Jersey police may again be slipping back into their old ways.

    These reports and the news this week about the arrest of Professor Gates are proof that only constant vigilance and vigorous enforcement can protect against police profiling.

    A Good Victim Helps the Cause
    Phillip Atiba Goff is an assistant professor of psychology at U.C.L.A. and the co-founder of the Consortium for Police Leadership in Equity which promotes racial and gender equity in law enforcement through research.

    Dr. Gates makes for a good victim. He is a superstar intellectual of erudition, status and influence. Moreover, no one is accusing Dr. Gates of illegal behavior in his recent altercation with a Cambridge police officer. He was, by his account, simply too tired after a long flight to tolerate what he perceived to be racially biased policing. That such a distinguished scholar received such undignified treatment is what makes the incident newsworthy. But what makes it important is something else: good victims make good movements possible.

    This nation has often needed good victims to gird our moral resolve. I am reminded particularly of Rosa Parks, who was not the NAACP’s first choice for the Montgomery bus boycott. That honor belonged to Claudette Colvin, a 15 year-old NAACP volunteer. Ms. Colvin was chosen in part because of her age and seeming innocence. However, shortly after she was arrested for refusing to move to the back of a bus, she became pregnant by an older, married man.

    Despite being victimized by an unjust law and abused and humiliated by police officers, Ms. Colvin’s case ended quietly. Rosa Parks became an icon while Ms. Colvin, whose pregnancy meant she was no longer a good victim, was largely forgotten.

    The young black and Latino men and women who routinely face the kind of treatment Professor Gates endured are largely not good victims. They are young and poor, like Claudette Colvin, and are often involved in crime. When these people are targeted for humiliating and unfair treatment, it is difficult for some of us to muster much outrage — even if the outcome is that 1 in 9 black males between the ages of 20 and 34 are incarcerated. That apathy should be our shame and not theirs.

    As someone who works with law enforcement, I see both how eager many police chiefs are to make racial progress, and how much progress there is still to make (they need better research and better training to name the most pressing areas). But what law enforcement agencies need most of all is popular attention and the political will to help them improve. Professor Gates has already stated he intends to make a documentary chronicling racial bias in the criminal justice system. I hope that his focus on the issue will lead cultural and political leaders to turn their energies to a problem that has been ignored for too long.

    Claudette Colvin ultimately enjoyed some vindication as one of the prevailing plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, the case that legally ended segregated transportation in Montgomery. One can only hope that the “bad victims” of this generation may see a similar victory one day — and that Professor Gates’s ordeal may move us toward it.
    The Gates Case and Racial Profiling - Room for Debate Blog - NYTimes.com

  12. #102
    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    if i was breaking into my own house, i'd damn well hope a neighbor calls the police to be sure instead of just ignoring it
    The neighbor did do the right thing calling the cops if she thought she saw a burglary in progress. But she should've made sure she had more details first than 'just two black men.' Had she done that she could've spared everyone involved a lot of aggravation.

    Gates had just come home from a trip, and the second man was his driver. So, he had to have luggage with him. What criminal breaks into a house with luggage? And the driver had left after he helped Gates get into the house, but the woman told the cops when they arrived that 'both' men were still inside even though that wasn't the case.

    Both Gates and the cops didn't handle the situation well, but neither did the woman who started it all.

  13. #103
    Elite Member TheONe's Avatar
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    BTW it wasn't a neighbor who called the police it was a woman who worked down the street from where he lived. She was walking on her lunch break and noticed two men with what she thought was back packs attempting to force entry...or so she says...
    Last edited by TheONe; July 24th, 2009 at 03:26 PM.
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  14. #104
    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    ^^Some random woman on her lunch break started this whole mess? That's even worse.

  15. #105
    Elite Member TheONe's Avatar
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    ^^Apparently, I just heard it on the radio during my lunch break.
    "My style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable and I'm just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat your children. Praise be to Allah." TEAM MILEY!!

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