Monday, July 27, 2009

A Forty And A Bl*nt, That's All They Really Want.

Does anyone else realize just how absurd this Gates/Obama/Crowley nonsense has become? The clock is ticking on Obama's deadline for a workable healthcare plan before Congress leaves on its August recess. Yet here we are, as a nation, focused on what's essentially a pissing match between two grown assed men, both of whom might have exercised a bit more self control, and a bit less bravado. The non-story is still leading off news broadcasts, and seems likely to culminate in a planned visit of all involved parties to the White House to shoot the breeze, drank some brews, issue some canned "let's all just get along" statements, and of course, pose for the obligatory Rose Garden photo op. I can already see the three cheesy, forced smiles right now.

So trivial is the coverage of this story that semi-reputable news outlets are busy pontificating about what kinda beer the three men should drink, and what the symbolic message conveyed in that brand of beer might be.
- Samuel Adams Boston Lager - It's the hometown brew for Gates and Crowley. Sam Adams is served at the Harvard Faculty Club and the Boston cop bar J.J. Foleys.

- Guinness - The quintessential Irish beer. Crowley is an Irish name, and Gates has some Irish blood. The professor had his DNA traced to learn his lineage and found out he's a descendant of an Irish king.

- Goose Island Honkers Ale - Known as "Chicago's craft beer," it was the President's local brew during his years in Chi-Town.

- Pabst Blue Ribbon - They can't drink Budweiser because it's no longer an American-owned company. They can't drink Coors or Miller, because they're owned by staunch Republicans. PBR is the next best thing for an all-American beer.

- Blue Moon Belgian White - Sgt. Crowley was drinking a Blue Moon when Obama called him on Friday. The President told Crowley that he, too, likes Blue Moon.

- Forget beer - "I think a guy like Prof. Gates would like cognac," said Sam Mitchell, who was drinking a Guinness Saturday at d.b.a., an East Village bar.
No malt liquor, huh? You know someone's gonna mess around and say something silly to this effect. My money is on Fox News. I can already hear the "c'mon, we were just joking, we're not racist, we love John Legend!" apology coming.

Upon further review of the police report, and after watching the two other black cops who were onsite at the arrest give their sides of the story, I'm convinced more than ever that this wasn't about race. I know a Bojangling Negro who's been forced by his employer to make a statement when I see one. This, my friends, is no Bojangling Negro.

This was about two men with egos, both of whom got a bit in over their heads when a crowd assembled outside to observe. Unfortunately for Gates, he didn't have cuffs and arrest power. Now, predictably, the Professor is saying he "wants to move on".
Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates says too much attention has been taken away from Pres. Barack Obama's health care initiative and placed on his arrest last week. Gates says he is ready to move on and has accepted the president's invitation to have a beer at the White House with Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley.

Meanwhile, the debate generated by Gtes' arrest, and the president's initial reaction to it, continued Saturday. Signs left anonymously outside Professor Gates' home call him shameful and a racist and reveal just how divisive the incident is.

Gates said in a statement that he'd be happy to oblige President Obama's invitation to share a beer with Sergeant Crowley at the White House, a sign that the president's outreach may be having a calming effect. It's a 180-degree turn from the tensions of just days ago when Gates told Sirius radio that Crowley had mistreated him because he is black.
If you think I'm crazy, ask yourself this question: if you'd been legitimately violated, would you be ready to "move on" so quickly? Wasn't Gates still posturing about a lawsuit just days ago?

If anyone's guilty of racial profiling, it's Gates' neighbor, but even so, Gates' home had recently been broken into (thus the jammed door). So what's to say this neighbor wasn't just being concerned, or merely just nosey, rather than racist?

Sadly, when you toss the topic of race out there, you're gonna put white folks on the defense (because some of them think that admitting any other white person is racist makes them racist proxy). You're also gonna put black folks on an angry offense (because, damnit you White Folks, why can't you admit that there just might be some racism? we aint' all paranoid!) which in the end accomplishes little. Were this a legitimate case of racial profiling (and I still contend that it's not), Gates could have handled the situation far better by keeping a cool head in the house, letting Crowley leave, then using his name, clout, connections, and title to make a far better public case for why and how we need to eradicate this issue.

Instead, by essentially crying wolf, he's merely made it difficult for the surviving family of the next Negro that legitimately catches a bullet to the dome to get a fair trial. Not that that helped Nicole Paultre-Bell.

Then again, just like those old ABC After School Specials, this whole uncomfortable episode will conclude shortly with cake and ice cream a couple of Heinekens, some hand holding, and a singing of Kumbaya. Crowley will become a walking martyr, although he really seems like a d*ck, and needs some more training in basic communication. Gates will go back to academia with his hard-earned reputation sullied, through the doing of none other than himself. Obama will still be scratching his head, watching his approval numbers tank, wondering why he stupidly chose the word "stupidly", when all he needed to do was tell that reporter "no comment, this is a f*ckin' healthcare forum you idiot!".

And somewhere in West Memphis, a black man in a black car will be pulled over for reasons beyond his comprehension. I pray for his wife and kids that he gets home safely.

Thanks a lot, Skip.

Question: Did Skip Gates possibly set back the issue of racial profiling by lumping his trivial case in with the legitimate racial bias that effects people of color everyday in America? What beer should Obama, Gates, and Crowley drink? How happy will you be when this story is dead?

What beer should President Obama with Harvard Prof. Henry Gates and Cambridge cop James Crowley? [NY Daily News]

[1] Props to the first person to tell me where this post's title was cribbed from.

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