Case teaching moment about our own biases
Each of us took sides (if only privately) when hearing about the Gates v. Crowley incident. For countless reasons, our sympathies were primarily based upon whom we most respect: policemen facing unknown danger, university professors who garner respect, whites in general out of habit, black men for knowing how long racism has been the norm in this country.
President Barack Obama's comment about "stupidity" seemed less than cogent when he admittedly didn't know all the facts. However, I think he wisely opened up long overdue dialogue which we all must embrace to move forward.
I don't think anyone is convinced that the issue has ever been faced directly, honestly and with no hidden agenda. That must happen among all of us, if progress in race relations is ever going to come about. There are deeply ingrained and centuries-old biases we may not even recognize or be able or willing to acknowledge.
No-holds-barred give and take — with all the warts and wounds and inherited feelings on the table — may be possible at this juncture. We may adamantly profess our tolerance for diversity, our broad-minded selves and our abhorrence of racism.
Nevertheless, our knee-jerk reactions still buried in our consciousness will propel us to take sides, even as we may regret appearing unthinking. That's the point— it has little to do with thinking; it has everything to do with personal history and ingrained societal convention. This is the teachable moment. Don't let it get away.
Susan V. Bonner
Obama showed true self
President Barack Obama's remarks concerning the Cambridge imbroglio unmasked his true feelings concerning race relations in this country.
His knee-jerk reaction was to side with the unruly professor Henry Louis Gates without asking about the provocations that led to his arrest.
The president's longtime relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright was downplayed by a very obsequious media during the presidential campaign.
The president has been very careful to keep his inner-most feelings from the public. Such racist feelings would tarnish his saintly persona fostered and nurtured by his politically correct public-relations staff.
Now that this skeleton is out of the closet when will the next faux pas reveal another of his character flaws?
In Gates' place
We don't know what kind of day Sgt. James Crowley was having July 20, the day of professor Henry Louis Gates' arrest. What we do know is that Gates just got back from a jet-lagging trip from China only to find his key jammed in the door. He finally gets in his home and just as he drops his bags, he is met by Cambridge police. They check everything but his underwear size. He is cleared. At that point, I don't think Gates was in any mood to be taught manners in his own living room.
Unwise word play
Did the writer of the headline on Page 4 of July 25 edition, regarding racial issues and the Gates case, have tongue-in-cheek? The headline: "Personal experiences with police color people's reactions."
Media inflame events
Consider recent events: professor Henry Louis Gates' arrest and President Barack Obama's unwarranted national news comments; and the country club pool snub of an African-American summer camp alleged by a 14-year-old boy.
The mainstream news media jumped in to elevate these events to national attention and spun them into another racist attack against African-Americans.
The horror story on the historical Chicago black cemetery was big news for about a day until it was revealed that the offenders in the crime were African-Americans themselves.
There is no denial that racial tensions and prejudices still exist in this country, but fanning the flames with every story of alleged violations without all of the true details of the events is irresponsible and damaging to progress.