Harvard Professor Arrested
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 20 (UPI) -- A prominent black Harvard professor is facing disorderly conduct charges after his arrest while trying to get into his own home in Cambridge, Mass., police say. Continued…
Well-known black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. locked himself out of his own house one fine afternoon a few days ago and was trying to get back in. A neighbor saw him trying to open the door and called the police. By the time they arrived, he was already inside his house and was able to provide ID corroborating who he was. The Cambridge police then arrested him, apparently because he was being “loud and tumultuous!”
Can you imagine? You lock yourself out of your house. It’s around lunchtime. You’re hungry, maybe you need to go to the bathroom, maybe you left some crucial notes inside the house and you need to get going to a class or a presentation. You are frustrated. You go around the house trying to figure out a way in. While you are in the midst of this process, you become increasingly frustrated. Perhaps you curse a little bit, bang your fist against the door, slam your body against the door.
Have you ever been locked out? I have, and that’s pretty much my reaction.
But wait, somehow you actually get inside the house. What a relief! Pour yourself a cool drink, make your way down the hall to use the toilet and – suddenly, you are confronted by the police. In your house! What the hell? You are a prominent Harvard scholar, nearly 60, and you happen to be African-American. The police tell you they had a report of a breaking and entering and they ask for your identification. You are in your own home! This reignites your frustration, which spills over into a belligerent attitude toward the cops, which is not well-received. You are thinking to yourself, all my fucking accomplishments and people still just see a n---er.
Whoo, the fury.
I don’t know if at that point he knew that a neighbor had called it in. But that could only make it worse. I mean, someone is watching your house closely enough that they think someone is breaking in, but apparently in your daily comings and goings, year in and year out, they haven’t looked at you closely enough that as a neighbor, they realize it’s your own house you’re trying to get into?
You know, I realize Los Angeles is not the bastion of racial equality, but stories like this sure make me glad I don’t live in the Boston area anymore.
Interested to hear more on this as it develops…