Sunday, July 26, 2009

Good ol' Harvard

Everybody sure is having fun though, huh? Dozens of articles, and I imagine the TV talkers are going at it too. You can tell who each author voted for, by their take on the story. What's the important thing though Dave?

A black academic arrested for disturbing the peace in Cambridge, MA. Charges later dropped. Hmmmm, what's really important?

Is it important President Obama looked very un-presidential in commenting on it? Naw, not really.

Is it important that Harvard has a department devoted to African-American studies? Naw. It's hilarious, but not important.

Professor Gates, would you like to see your behavior copied in the very worst parts of Memphis? Cause that's what's really important. Many things that look fine to Harvard develop very badly in the real world, and your reaction to a policeman is one of them. If you're taken as an example, it's going to get some people killed.

In Memphis, where we have shootings every weekend, police arrive in a very tense situation. Adrenaline is high and things can escalate quickly. My advice to people at the crime scene is be cooperative.

No sir, you're mistaken. You are giving people advice about how they should behave at crime scenes. Your "private citizen" gambit just gets so far with me. I'd argue that a Harvard faculty member is always on the clock. With privilege comes responsibility, and you live a very privileged life sir. So you've never really been a "private citizen" in Cambridge, MA. Beyond that though, you're out on stage now and national spotlight has caught you in its glare.

It's morally incumbent on you now to feel the full responsibility. Your actions now will contribute in some way to defining cultural norms for those of your ethnicity. Here in the real world, we deal with lots of blowback that can be traced back to places like Harvard. For instance? Back in the 60's what did it really matter if a bunch of trust fund babies smoked grass? It matters because it helped define a cultural norm of self-medication. Now we have meth, crack and who knows what else?

So I say your behavior surrounding police officers responding to what they thought was a crime, well? I don't want that behavior copied in the worst neighborhoods of Memphis. It'll eventually lead to some people getting killed. Even if not, it'll make police work more difficult. You should act now, mindful of your moral responsibility.

Call a news conference and apologize for being un-cooperative with the police. Explain you were upset, frustrated, but you understand in retrospect the lads were just trying to do their job.

Professor, it doesn't matter if you feel entirely justified in your indignation. Maybe you were, I've no idea. I'm thinking of a Memphis crime scene, some Saturday night in the future. It could get bad if everybody wants to give the police a bunch of sass. Lots of things that look cool at Harvard, well they go very badly in the worst parts of Memphis.

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