Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Gates Affair

The Professor Henry Gates situation is a wild one.. I figure I'll weigh in with some thoughts, opinions, common experience and uncommon ground... First thing that came to mind when hearing about this was my own recent encounter, which wasn't at all like the good professor. Actually, my experience was a positive one... Maybe it was positive because I didn't over-react. I didn't display the higher than thou or invading my space posture. The police were recently called to my place, responding to an alarm that had gone off a little while before I arrived home. I had no clue. The alarm was functioning normal. When the police arrived, the lead officer asked for my ID and I like the good professor I had to go into another room to get it. The police didn't follow me but he asked for my name before I went to get my ID. I imagine he could see from my demeanor and non-threatening posture that I was cool. I made a joke that I was happy to see the alarm actually worked. Police laughed. Incident over. Police gone. Hmmm.. where's my invite to the White House now? *smile*

From what I can see with the Gates thing, it was a lot of overreacting going on from a lot of folks; Gates, the Prez, the media, and even the news conference holding police folk. And the media(the worse) has truly gone overboard with the coverage though at the same time, it's a good thing that the situation got folks talking. The only thing is, when race gets involved, people lose that part of the brain that holds tight to common sense. I was watching Rick Sanchez today on CNN. He's not one of my favorites but I do check him out from time to time. I think he half reads stuff and sensationalizes the most trivial things, mostly because it's his show and he likes to be in charge of the conversation. Don't upstage or look like you know more than him... Rowan Martin was on the show. He's funny. Makes good sense and has good common sense. There was also Bey Buchanon(probably spelling it wrong-yawn) who I totally can't stand and another guy who didn't really speak loud enough to get in between the semi-heated moments between the other three. After the segment was over, I could only shake my head and think how much of a waste of time that was. No one really providing any enlightenment upon the big issue because the issue is so much bigger than many are comprehending if they only focus on Gates and his moment in the police spotlight. It took this to get him to understand the vulnerable feeling that others beneath his blessed status in the world experience everyday... His first time, it appears...

I've had a few encounters/experiences throughout my life and know of others who've had it a lot worse. For me, most of my experiences in hindsight make me laugh or smile because the memory has lived with me for so long. Moments like when my mother was driving and in the back seat was myself and my uncle, both young teenagers at the time with afros. The police pulled my mother over and immediately asked if she was alright. My mother being such a light-skinned woman; she was mistaken at that moment for a white person. The officer had one of those classic egg on the face looks when my mother said we were her son and youngest brother.... Me and my uncle looked at each other in confusion like saying "uh, what did you do?" "Huh? Nuttin... what you do?" "Nuttin.."

Then another time during my Junior Highschool years, I was stopped by the police while walking home. It happened twice on the same day within a five block radius on the same street; Palms Blvd. At the time, this neighborhood was predominantly white. There were maybe three black families in that area. The first police said I fit the description of a liquor store robbery suspect. I shrugged. I was clueless and wanted to continue on home. They got in their car and drove off. No thanks, goodbye, apology or anything... A second police car pulled up a couple blocks later, questioned me and said I fit the description of a gas station robbery suspect. And I wonder what was the description? *smile* yep, my complexion was in demand that day. I shrugged again... And from that point on, I had loads of encounters, especially later on once I started driving and even though the encounters have ceased in one way, I still get the suspicious looks, stares and glares that's meant to let you know whose in charge... All that good stuff that Professor Gates has now discovered... So when I get my invite, tell the President I prefer Mountain Dew over beer. And if there's food being served then yeah, I'm like Magic Johnson; I'll have some grilled chicken.. *smile* I hope the hoopla is over...

1 comment:

Blah Blah Blah said...

I personally think there are more than one issue with the Gates incident...too many to try and focus on in one newscast, radio show or live debate...or even for Mr. Prez to address. the end of the day...those of color have always had problems with those in uniform. It's a given, an unwritten footnote in our lifes handbook. And although I am more than "over it"...I think it needs to be addressed...but pick it apart for what it is and don't make sweeping statements about class and color.
...and am pretty sure that Prez coulda left his spoon out of this particular bowl. I am pretty sure that he has more important things on his plate than what happens for a split second in time up in Cambridge, Mass.
I could be wrong...but looks like that healthcare proposal, the war, poverty in the nation, failing economy and any number of things just might be a TAD bit more news-worthy. Just sayin'.