Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blood’s Thicker than Mud: It’s a Family Affair*

When it comes to Gatesgate—the mock “scandal” that, having persisted long past its acceptable expiration date, is beginning to emit an unhealthy odor—our sympathies, limited as they are, lie with the cop. Unlike in this closer-to-home incident, which, based on the available public record, appears to have been an actual, authentic case of RACIAL PROFILING, one with near-lethal consequences for the profilee, the Cambridge, Mass. officer was not out trolling the streets for innocent black men to arbitrarily stop and hassle but was instead dutifully responding to an emergency call—one in which the race/ethnicity of the allegedly, possibly, but possibly not suspicious "gentlemen" (suspicious, that is, to the neighbor who didn’t recognize her neighbor—goddamn, lady!) was not even clear to the caller.

The best take on L’Affaire Gates has been one we initially saw voiced by none other than Mika Brzezinski, the comely sidekick to cable TV’s Morning Joe (it's probably been articulated elsewhere, we dunno), who suggested that had it been two women at the house in Cambridge the confrontation would ended much differently, or wouldn’t have grown into much of a confrontation at all (to which we’d say: most likely, but of course it depends on which two women you’re talking about). To embellish Brzezinski's theory with further truthiness we’d note that the two men in this manly meeting of the minds—a tall Boston-Irish cop and a short Harvard professor—are doubtless conditioned to being constantly deferred to by other men during the course of a normal day (cue T. Petty’s Won’t Back Down). Still, we must wonder what sort of Harvard professor would tell a cop, “I’ll step outside with your mama,” as the cop claims Henry Louis Gates did. (Answer: One who knew he could get away with it.) It’s a shame that Red Foxx is no longer with us, for many reasons—one of them being that he will not be available to portray Gates in the upcoming straight-to-DVD movie “High Noon on Ware Street.”

Having had some first-hand experience in police-community relations as a young person (a young white person), we know damn well that had we, even at our advanced years, suggested that we’d like to pursue a sexual relationship with a police officer’s mother, we, too, would not have beaten the ride downtown. More than likely we’d find our self face-down on the concrete with a bony knee in our back.

It was, of course, unwise for our president to wade into the matter, and in such seemingly uninformed manner, but as part of his lifelong quest to establish his bona fides as an Authentic Black Man he must occasionally offer up a little something for the brothers and sisters. Still, his gracious recovery the following day—and his manning-up and calling the officer from the department he had accused of acting “stupidly”—was welcome, and of near-perfect pitch. As for those Republicans fanning the noxious odor by calling on Obama to apologize to the cop: Yes, Obama should apologize, right after Bush and Cheney stand up and apologize for Iraq.

*Truism once propounded by Sly and the Family Stone, a multiracial musical combo from the late 1960s that later disintegrated because of the bandleader’s taste for cocaine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Damn straight! Just damn straight, my friend