With all the talk of “teaching moments” comes the supposition that we all should learn something from the Cambridge, Mass., arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
I’ve learned something, all right, but not what the self-appointed “teachers” had in mind.
Cambridge city officials are giddy about all the learning likely to spew from a review panel about to embark on a witch hunt clearly designed to paint this as what it was not.
The language of the city manager and mayor – platitudes about “getting through this stronger and more united” and “not letting Cambridge be judged by this” – suggest they are willing to throw a good cop under the bus to avoid the unforgivable sin of failing to follow the narrative adopted by Gates and, sadly, much of black America.
Every shred of evidence points to this as a police officer following the rules and a citizen blowing his top. But clarity is the first casualty when there are cheap points to be scored in the arena of racial correctness, where all of this “teaching moment” drivel was hatched.
President Barack Obama wants to get in on the “teaching” with an absurd chunk of White House political theater tomorrow, as the properly arrested professor joins him in double-teaming an honorable police sergeant who merely did his job.
In a feeble attempt to appear a racial healer, the president who created this disaster by prematurely taking sides will establish a pernicious and phony moral equivalency between Sgt. James Crowley and the presidential buddy he arrested, a race-baiting professional hothead who saw an opportunity to concoct racial profiling where none existed.
Yet there was profiling at the Gates home that day – police profiling, the unjust presumption that a white cop is up to no good.
Proper scoldings have been delivered for decades about the evils of police presuming that citizens of color inherently deserve additional suspicion. Message received. Racial profiling remains a problem, but like all of our racial strife, it is getting better, person by person, generation by generation – to the chagrin of those who built careers perpetuating it.
Gates is one such character who obliterated any respectable legacy of fighting real racial profiling by engaging in some poisonous racism of his own: profiling a white police sergeant with the purpose of creating a false image of misbehavior.
From the contrived martyrdom of “This is what happens to a black man in America!” to the thuggish “I’ll talk to your mama on the porch!” Gates launched a racist attack on an officer doing his job properly.
When will the panel convene to reach that conclusion? When is the White House meeting that focuses on that reality? In a nation that still cannot conduct a grownup conversation about race, the answer is never.
Knowing this, authorities dropped a valid arrest, a gift to those desperate to find some reason to believe Crowley was in error.
But amid this sickening parade, I find hope in the African-American Obama voters who have not allowed race or politics to obscure their clarity. If there is learning to be done, let it be from them.
Many are Cambridge cops themselves, like Sgt. Leon Lashley, who shared color-blind truth with reporters: that the mere existence of racial profiling does not justify asserting it falsely.
Kelly King, who also works for the department, cannot believe the president she supported was so willing to condemn her colleague. “I voted for him. I will not again,” she told CNN.
But the most valuable observation about all of this bogus “teaching” came from Juan Williams, amiable liberal panelist on Fox News Sunday : “You can’t have a teaching moment when it’s based on a lie.”
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