Race Relations in America

08.04.09 | Dr. Stephen Coleman | Comments[0]

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Over the years, African-Americans have been unfairly singled out and profiled by the police in a disturbing number of cases. There is no excuse for police racism and it should never be tolerated. Racist cops should be held accountable. They disgrace their profession, give a bad name to other cops, and make a mockery of what it is to be an officer of the law.

With that said, every interaction between an African-American and a cop is not racially motivated or racist. That was the case with Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard University. When Gates -- who is black -- was recently arrested at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts for disorderly conduct.

The arrest came only after he verbally abused Sergeant James Crowley -- who is white -- by calling him a racist, shouting, making disrespectful remarks, and refusing to calm down. If a white man had been in that situation, he also would have been arrested.

It is not unusual for police officers to charge disrespectful, out-of-control citizens -- black or white -- with disorderly conduct. It is interesting to note that Sergeant Crowley -- with eleven years on the Cambridge Police Department -- is a model officer who has trained other police officers on how to avoid racial profiling.

In my view, Professor Gates owes Sergeant Crowley a public apology. So does President Obama for saying -- without knowing all of the facts -- that the Cambridge Police Department acted "stupidly."

Recently, the sergeant, the professor, and the president got together at the White House. I hope when the three of them sat down for a beer, President Obama ate some crow.

cc-wetm - tv- Dr. Coleman also airs commentaries and a public affairs program on WETM 18 Elmira. For more information on these programs, go to wetmtv.com.


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