By Robert Harkins J.D.
Everyone knows by now Sgt Crowley’s story. He investigated a suspected burglary in progress at the home of Mr. Henry Gates. His neighbor saw two men attempting to “break and enter” his home. She called the police. She did not identify the men as black. No one engaged in racial profiling. Politicians well connected, powerful and black immediately pilloried Gate’s neighbor and Sgt. Crowley with the accusation that they are racists. Two back-up officers, one hispanic and the other black, corroborate Crowley’s statement that Gates engaged him with belligerent, abusive and disorderly conduct. Sgt. Crowley’s life and record of service is free of racial antipathies. He is a good man and a well disciplined police officer. Despite his good reputation thousands of people who listen to media demagogues now believe that he is a racist. That the accusation is false matters nothing.
Suddenly, Sgt Crowley found himself in a No Holds Barred struggle to save his career and reputation. The President of the United State, the Governor of Massachusetts and the Mayor of Cambridge, although ignorant of the facts, pronounced him racist and named the Cambridge police his racist confederates. Gates, a tenured Harvard professor, quickly lawyered up and demanded of Sgt. Crowley, a working man of modest means, that he apologize or be sued. He then told everyone who would listen to him that Sgt. Crowley is a racist.
The President sought again to reconcile ideas that are utterly irreconcilable. He claimed that all are grievously mistaken who say of the President that he intended to malign Cambridge police officers simply because he accused them of scandalous stupidity in the performance of their duty.
But what of Gates? Well, his character is mercurial. While Sgt. Crowley is innocent of the charge that he is a racist, it may well be that he is the victim of a racist Mr. Gates. In a video making its way across the internet Gates may be seen ragging the white establishment for its structural and therefore irremediable racism even as he celebrates the imposition of the racial quotas by which Gates was permitted to step in front of better qualified men, thereby to make his way to Yale, a Mellon scholarship to England, a year’s professorship at Duke University and tenure at Harvard.
In an article written July 27, 2009 for Human Events, Jack Thompson provides a close look into the mind of Mr. Gates. The recording company 2 LIVE CREW sold a DVD album in which young men rap dance as they gleefully sing the story of their savage beating and gang rape of a black woman. The lyrics are so vile they could not be posted in his article. Mr. Thompson writes however,
that when I appeared on Phil Donohue’s national television program with 2 Live Crew, one of the guests uttered just one line of the lyrics and the broadcast was immediately terminated all along the Eastern seaboard where it was airing live.
In 1990 Mr. Thompson participated in a lawsuit filed against 2 LIVE CREW to prohibit further sales of the gang rape album on grounds that its content and message are obscene. The defendant, 2 LIVE CREW, creator and marketer of the gang rape song, hired on as its expert witness, the same Mr. Gates, who presently contends that he is the black victim of Sgt. Crowley’s white racist profiling.
Gates testified passionately that a song describing in unspeakably vile words the gang rape, beating and humiliation of a black woman is not in the least obscene. Indeed, he declared the song and rap dance in praise of sadist violence against women a beauteous expression of Black Art. The very idea that the sale of the gang rape song should be forbidden to “kids and adults”, Bates testified, simply exposes another of the many insidious machinations of white racists.
Gates testified that white racists naturally intend the suppression of Black Art because they are white and therefore racist. Gates believes that whites do not have that grace of mind and heart, that aesthetic sensitivity, and poetic intuition necessary to appreciate the deeper dimensions of Black Art as that Black Art is expressed in syncopate rap beat, in the celebration of gang rape, in the savage and lyrical beating and humiliation of a defenseless black woman.
At the 2 Live Crew trial, Gates testified that the rap album which describes gleefully the raping and beating of black women was on a par with the art found in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales…. Gates explained to Judge Gonzalez that whites simply cannot comprehend the beauty and worth of such black art. He testified that the concerns about selling this pornographic album to adults and kids alike stemmed from white racism…. Judge Gonzalez found the race-centric testimony of Professor Gates to be utterly unbelievable and absurd, and he indicated just that in his 62-page opinion.
The President as he reacted to personal criticism did not try to assuage the damage he and his confederates have done to Sgt. Crowley and, indeed, to all police officers. Instead, he tried to shift the blame for what he said of Sgt. Crowley to the raw excesses of a frenzied press. He should have simply apologized. He should have repudiated the groundless accusations of Gates, the Governor of Massachusetts, and the Mayor of Cambridge. A plain apology would have deterred the pernicious destruction of Sgt. Crowley’s reputation.
Instead, he stated that he could have calibrated an answer that would have better avoided misunderstanding. But why such big words? And whatever does the President mean by the word calibration? How may a man in good faith and with a straight face calibrate an apology? He then suggested that he, Gates and Crowley meet for a beer and a teaching moment. But what will be the subject taught? Racial profiling? And who will be the teacher? Gates? But wait. Sgt. Crowley did not engage in racial profiling. He is innocent. It is the President and Mr. Gates that are sorely in need of a teaching moment.
How then does a man rebuild a reputation carefully built over the years of his life, a reputation that is damaged by the malicious flinging of incendiary falsehoods? The damage done to Sgt. Crowley’s reputation is not made whole by the plain truth. That the accusation against him is false matters nothing to the Gates of this world. To those possessed of Gates’ worldview and to those possessed of the sophist’s rhetorical power to reconcile ideas that cannot honestly be reconciled, Sgt. Crowley is still a racist.
Here is the crux of it. The defamation of Sgt. Crowley’s reputation is an event that will pass for the Governor of Massachusetts, the Mayor of Cambridge, the President and very shortly of course for his good friend Mr. Gates. But their defamation will not pass for Sgt Crowley. A merciless press captured him on his front lawn. He is wearing Bermuda shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. His arms are folded defensively across his chest. His face is stiff with anxiety. His forehead is deeply furrowed. His voice is civil but strained. He stands as if he were cut from stone. He does not even once unfold his arms or move from the place where he stands.
By the way, following the trial Mr. Thomson writes that he received a call from a teenaged black girl who thanked him for his success in prohibiting the sale of the 2 LIVE CREW rape video. She then shared with him a heart-breaking story. Her black teenaged girlfriend was brutally raped by a gang of young black men who played the 2 LIVE CREW rape song on their boom box as repeatedly, they beat, raped and humiliated her terrified girlfriend.
Tragically, it is not difficult to imagine that as these black artists waited their turn to engage a teenager in the expression of their black art, they rap danced joyfully to 2 LIVE CREW-- to the rap beat, to the savage degradation of a young woman, to a sadist crime that Mr. Gates has testified on his oath is beauteous Black Art.
This is the guy our post-racial President has invited over to the White House to sip a few beers and rap about race profiling.
What do you think ?