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Professor or pedestrian - racial profiling is an on going problem

Hadassa Simmons | 4/12/2011, 4:35 p.m.

Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was recently arrested for alleged disorderly conduct at his Cambridge home. Gates, returning from a trip to China, discovered he was unable to open his door. Accompanied by his cab driver, he attempted to enter his home. After receiving a call about two Black males forcing entry into a home, the police arrived. At this point Gates was already inside and later displayed his ID upon request. After accusing the officer of racial profiling he was arrested by the Cambrigde police for exhibiting "loud and tumultuous behavior".

President Barack Obama weighed in on the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. "I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home." President Obama admitted that he might be "a little biased" about the situation because Gates is a friend of his. Even so, Obama is not the only person suggesting that the arrest was unjust.

Brooklyn City Council candidate Tulani Kinard also believed the Cambridge police were at fault for arresting Gates. "Historically the criminalization of Black men by white law enforcement officers is the first assessment in any situation. Prof. Gates is lucky he was not shot in his own home." Like many other Black Americans, Kinard expressed her hopes for the future. "I hope that it will begin a long overdue discussion and actions to address the egregious systemic racial profiling of Black men in America."

As of Tuesday the charges against Henry Louis Gates Jr. were dropped. Even so, the outrage echoes throughout our communities. "This is goes to show that no matter how high up you think you have climbed, to the police departments across the nation you will always be just a black man from the hood," Councilmember Charles Barron commented. "This is what happens everyday to Black and Latino men... racial profiling knows no class distinction.