The Skip Gates arrest: Is this the national conversation on race we were meant to have?

I still think the Skip Gates incident is an example of the kind of racism we have now in America. If Gates wasn’t black, the officer in question would have been a lot more courteous to a man such as Gates. But Gates doesn’t look like a distinguished professor. Take away his Harvard ID and would he look like a crackhead looking to lift a TV in some expensive home?

That’s how far we have come on race in America.

I do want to be fair to the cop. So let’s take color out of the equation.

Then what do you have?

A pure battle of egos. The police officer and the distinguished professor, each of whom was pulling a little one-upmanship on the other.

A prominent black scholar gets asked to come out of his house by an officer. He knows the history of race in America and gets irritated as hell. He calls the chief of police on his cell phone.

Meanwhile, the officer at the scene reacts to said prominent professor pulling rank with the only thing he can do to show his authority and preserve his alpha maleness.  He makes a meaningless arrest, and thus documents his abuse of power.

At the core, it’s all ego, more than race, though race was there for sure, like tossing gasoline in a field of straw.

Get rid of race, and you still have an ego problem. And isn’t that the center of all our problems, especially when it comes to power and the exertion of power in unfair ways over those with less power (who more often than not are people of color)?

So  now that the Senate isn’t going to pass health care by August, maybe we’ve just been given something to chew on as a nation on vacation.

When Eric Holder called for honest frank discussions on race during Black History month, all he needed was something like the Gates arrest to kick things off. It’s actually quite fitting for those summer discussions at the beach house.  Over mojitos or a few brews, go ahead ask your friends who they think was right: Gates? The cop?

Hot enough for you?