Comments on Gates

Since there have been many entries on the Henry Louis Gates story, all comments on it are being posted in this entry. And here in chronological order are the entries on this subject:

David B. writes:

As I told you in a previous message, when police see a white man driving around in the black area of a large city, they assume he is there either to buy or sell drugs, or looking for a hooker. This is a form of racial profiling directed at whites. In other words, if a white man is somewhere he is not supposed to be, the police are suspicious. Liberals never recognize this.

LA replies:

Indeed, it was through such ethnic profiling, of police being suspicious of someone because he is where he’s not supposed to be or where he wouldn’t ordinarily be, that the Son of Sam serial murderer was arrested in 1977, as Ed Zigo, the Brooklyn homicide detective who broke the case, explained to a friend of mine in 2005, and is also recounted in a good movie on the case, Out of the Darkness:

After the latest Son of Sam murder takes place in Zigo’s own precinct in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, he and his fellow detectives get the idea of checking all parking summonses handed out within a 20 block radius of the murder site on the day of the murder. Zigo comes across a summons made out to a David Berkowitz of Yonkers. He says, “I know this neighborhood. Everyone here is Italian and Catholic. What is a Jew doing here?” A female detective says, “Jews and Italians date, you know,” but Zigo answers, “I want to check this out.” So he and his partner drive all the way up to Yonkers to Berkowitz’s apartment building. They find his car parked on the street, Zigo looks into it, and in the back seat he sees the butt of a rifle sticking out from a blanket; he enters the car and finds a mini arsenal in the back seat. He has his man. Though the movie doesn’t explain this, Berkowitz was planning a mass murder at the time he was arrested.

Ironically, Berkowitz was adopted, so he may not have been born of Jewish parents, but the point still holds. Long familiarity with Bay Ridge, an instinct, told Zigo there was something about a Jewish name here that didn’t fit (even though two million Jews live in New York), so he drove to the other end of the city to pursue his hunch.

In response to the Globe’s removing the police report, Howard Sutherland writes:

It really is thought control—or at least a strong attempt. Anyone who still believes that the federal government (both parties), the mainstream media (including, of course, the Boston Globe and its owner, the NYT Corporation) and “elite” academia (most emphatically including, indeed epitomized by, Gates’s Harvard) are not the three pillars supporting the anti-human edifice of the New Liberal Order, is deluding himself.

Being of a traditional bent myself, I used to hope that we were living through a phase, and that somehow all of these social institutions, including once-great newspapers and colleges and universities that once had some intellectual integrity and sense of obligation to America and the states they are in, might one day be recaptured for normal society. Given how rapidly alien immigration and relentless affirmative action are displacing traditional America within the ever less-United States, it gets ever harder to believe that can happen. We then need alternate institutions, with traditionalists in the odd position of advocating new institutions and turning their backs on the (now-perverted) traditional institutions. But how to build those new anti-liberal institutions in such a way that they might have any hope of competing with, say, Harvard, with its vast endowment, influence and prestige—which persists even as it is less and less deserved. Just look at Henry Louis Gates, of whom I’m sure Fair Harvard is terribly proud!

Quite a conundrum.

Anne A. writes:

If Gates were white, he would have been arrested much quicker.

If Gates wants police to stop responding to his home, let him say so.

If blacks had a lower crime rate, perhaps “profiling” wouldn’t be so necessary.

Harvard got rid of one troublemaking black, Cornel West, but it retains a sufficient quota of others.

Give me a true black scholar, like Thomas Sowell, instead of the phony, angry, racist, Jesse-Jackson-type agitators which the “elite” schools collect as evidence of their “diversity.”

James P. writes:

You write:

“His career has been at the top, at Harvard, the head of the Black Studies Department, with his own TV documentaries, the works. At the same time, as a representative of black America, he has also conveyed the message that blacks are still being grievously oppressed by whites.”

These sentences are not inconsistent, inasmuch as the entire purpose of a “Black Studies Department” at Harvard is to convey and reinforce the message that whites are still grievously oppressing blacks. If the basic premise that whites are still oppressing blacks was no longer accepted, then intellectual frauds like Gates and all the other Black Studies professors would have to go away and get real jobs, and Black Studies Departments would lose their raison d’etre.

Howard Sutherland writes:

Good job finding it. The entire incident is very odd. From the police report, one might get the impression that Gates was drunk—with his yelling loud enough to draw a crowd and then saying “ya, I’ll speak with your mama outside.” Even for a Harvard professor who thinks he is pigmentationally bulletproof, that is an unusual way to be speaking to a cop. But then the incident took place around one in the afternoon on a Thursday, which isn’t cocktail time for most people. And why wasn’t Gates on campus doing his job? The life of the tenured professor isn’t so bad.

There must be more to this story. I wonder if we’ll ever hear it.

Gintas writes:

What is this with everyone using Gates’s full name? Is it to lend an air of dignity to this schm_ck?

Bill Carpenter writes:

Let’s see how much the city pays to settle Gates’s civil rights claims.

WBZR writes:

This is just incredible! Jefferson was right. I believe this is the quotation from him on the matter. He could see it then.

“Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free. Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them.”

We can see it now. How did it happen that so many whites cannot see it at all? We live in a time of a mass racial mental illness. These blind truly have a racial death wish.

Alex K. writes:

Did you see in the police report where Gates says his door can’t be secured due to a previous break-in attempt? I’m not sure how he was locked out this time if the door can’t be securely shut, but it’s amazing that there was a previous break-in attempt at his house and yet he is still angry about police investigating a break-in report at his house.

Philip M. writes from England:

LA wrote:

Gates’s instantaneous reaction was: “Now it’s happening to me!” And an entire lifetime of talking about the white oppression of blacks but never having experienced it himself, erupted inside him.

Maybe, having talked about black oppression but never having experienced it, he felt like “less of a black man” and jumped at the chance to experience some oppression to get more credibility amongst his fellow oppressed blacks. Now, in his lectures he can talk from first-hand experience about police racism. He is more authentically black.

Daniel H. writes:

There is a website,, run by and for some prominent liberal academics. They are all over this Gates arrest. Nothing surprising coming from them, but one revealing point, which should tell liberals who haven’t suspended all their critical license something important. In the comments to the third item down, entitled “Skip Gates Arrested,” amidst the usual stuff about how racist cops are and America is, two of the commenters bemoan the tenor of the comments coming from the Boston Globe site and the Huffington Post site devoted to a discussion of the incident. I believe one of the commenters refers to the comments section of the Huffington Post as “soul crushing.” Wow. I go to the sites. Expecting something explosive. Who knows, racial invective? Calls for Obama’s head? Well, I go over to the sites, and what do we get? Amidst comments by those who buy Gates’s line, a liberal sprinkling of comments expressing skepticism of Gates’s account and a tendency to believe the cops. Wow. This is surely soul crushing, to a liberal. Dissent, in their eyes, is the highest form of contempt for the liberal program. Time to elect … appoint … IMPORT a new people, I guess.

LA replies:

Thank you for checking this out, seeing what you saw.

But could you provide the Huffington link where the soul crushing comments were and also, please, the actual entry link at crooked timber, not just the main page, which is not useful once the specific entry is no longer on the main page.

Daniel H. replies:

Here is a link to the comments at crooked timber.

The “soul crushing” comment was made by one of the academics at crooked timber, referring to the tenor of the discussion at the Huffington Post, implying that because all the commentators were all not towing the Liberal Party line, there is something dismaying in this.

Here is the comment. Comment 42.


Michael Berube 07.21.09 at 2:55 am

Here’s hoping the comments here at CT don’t come to resemble anything approaching most of the reader responses on that Globe article, which are soul-crushingly unbelievable.

Check out the comments at the Huffington Post. Soul. Utterly. Crushed.

I thought Obama’s election proved that racism was killed dead.

And here is a comment in reference to the Boston Globe comments page,

Salient 07.20.09 at 10:13 pm

My bet—“difficulty opening door” = “drunk”.

At 1:00 in the afternoon?

Here’s hoping the comments here at CT don’t come to resemble anything approaching most of the reader responses on that Globe article, which are soul-crushingly unbelievable … even if many of them are insincerely provocative for the sake of getting a rise out of other readers …

And here is one more, such wilting flowers …

eric 07.20.09 at 10:43 pm

Holy crap, Salient isn’t kidding about the comments to the Globe story. I only skimmed a few, but they made me sick to my stomach.

Gintas writes:


Disorderly conduct charges dropped against Henry Louis Gates, black scholar at Harvard University

and the photo caption:

A bicyclist passes by the home of Harvard Scholar Henry Louis Gates in Cambridge, on Monday. Gates, the nation’s pre-eminent black scholar, is accusing Cambridge police of racism after he was arrested while trying to force open the locked front door of his home near Harvard University.

He’s not a run-of-the-mill professor. He’s a scholar. No, a black scholar. The nation’s pre-eminent black scholar. At Harvard! Just in case you didn’t know, or were a sucking racist white pig! Minitrue has spoken.

LA replies:

Yes, this terrible incident has already been officially added to the Saga of American Racism. Think of it! America is so racist, even after the election of Obama, that police arrested America’s pre-eminent black scholar. Oh, the shame, the disgrace, that hangs over this nation.

Steven Warshawsky writes:

The “city of Cambridge” described the officer’s actions as “regrettable and unfortunate”? Sounds like they are admitting there was no probable cause to arrest Gates. Unless they already have reached a settlement with Gates, I foresee a well-publicized civil lawsuit.

LA replies:

“Admitting”? Why give them so much? Why make it sound a though the truth that they are “admittng” is that the officer had no cause to arrest? Obviously they’re kneeling to the political realities, not “admitting” anything.

SW replies:

I mean “admitting” in a legal sense. Whatever the “truth” of the encounter may be (which, as a legal matter, depends on the judgment of the judge to whom the case is assigned), if the city offers an apology for the officer’s actions—as it appears to have done here—this is evidence that a “mistake” was made, i.e., that the officer lacked probable cause to arrest Gates. As a civil right attorney myself, I would jump on such a statement by a municipal authority. The city might as well get out its check book now. As good liberals, they appear to be leading themselves to the slaughter.

LA replies:

But its wussy language also, in a wussy way, says the officer was not at fault either:

The city of Cambridge issued a statement saying the arrest “was regrettable and unfortunate” and police and Gates agreed that dropping the charge was a just resolution.

“This incident should not be viewed as one that demeans the character and reputation of professor Gates or the character of the Cambridge Police Department,” the statement said.

Jim C. writes:

The news stories tell us:

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the nation’s pre-eminent African-American scholars, was arrested Thursday afternoon at his home by Cambridge police investigating a possible break-in. The incident raised concerns among some Harvard faculty that Gates was a victim of racial profiling.

The image: Brilliant scholar.

The reality: Overrated, untalented, and a sloppy writer. His so-called breakthrough book, The Signifying Monkey, was pure b.s.—pop anthropology for morons.

How stupid is Gates? He called another affirmative action dope, Cornel West, the most important black scholar in the country. Black studies departments are parasitical in nature, because the CONTENT of the material is unworthy of serious analysis. I mean, why would anyone want to study the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, or the so-called cinema of Spike Lee? I think Caucasians should stop funding overblown parasites like Gates.

James P. writes:

The more I think about this Gates story, the more I think he contrived the whole charade, like those black professors and black students who hang nooses on their doors and shriek “Racism!”

At the very least, when the police showed up, he took advantage of a golden opportunity to manufacture a “racist outrage.”

LA replies:

And what could be easier, when the entire organized society is ready, willing, and eager to help you carry it off?

The blogger Snouck Hurgronje writes from the Netherlands:

You wrote:

“Black America is at war with America—meaning white America. But the white American majority does not acknowledge the existence of this war and doesn’t defend itself and its institutions.”

In the Netherlands this is slowly changing. Especially with regards to the Muslim Moroccan minority, which is very violent. A manager of a supermarket chain sent out a mail a few weeks ago saying that no Moroccans should be hired. The supermarket is quietly reducing the number of Moroccans it employs. The government-funded anti-discrimination lobby is trying to use this incident to intimidate Dutchmen in complying with anti-discrimination legislation, but it is not working as well as it used to.

Perhaps at some point U.S. citizens will start to single out a minority for special loathing, in the way it can be seen with Moroccans in The Netherlands.

LA replies:

Certainly the Gateses, the Dysons, the Sharptons, and all the whites who help empower them are worthy of being loathed.

James N. writes:

Jim C. writes: “How stupid is Gates? He called another affirmative action dope, Cornel West, the most important black scholar in the country. ”

Jim, have you considered the possibility that Cornel West IS the most important black scholar in the country? I don’t mean the most important scholar with black skin, that’s obviously absurd.

But “black scholar,” meaning a scholar, whose skin is black, and whose “research” is blackness. Try reading Michelle Robinson’s senior thesis at Princeton—a paper which a white 8th grader would have trouble getting a D on—for a sense of what passes for “black scholarship.”

Cornel West, although absurd as a real or traditional scholar, might actually BE the “most important black scholar” in the country. Prof. Gates may have said more than he intended.

Jake Jacobsen writes:

I was just perusing his Wikipedia bio and this jumped out at me:

He has…”has written pieces in The New York Times that defend rap music.”


Gates’ prominence in this field led to him being tapped as a witness on behalf of the controversial Florida rap group 2 Live Crew in their obscenity case. He argued the material the government alleged was profane, actually had important roots in African-American vernacular, games, and literary traditions and should be protected.

It seems to me that defending that type of low savagery is the same as his approving it, so it would be a short step from approval to action, no?

Also, reading his curriculum vitae it appears he’s never done anything real, anything outside the fantasy camp that is the modern college campus, which I believe can also feed into this sort of acting out.

Christopher L. writes:

Robert VerBruggen has it all wrong. At my former residence we had a rental duplex next door with some real winners for neighbors (who by the way were white). The woman was single with a kid and a shack up boyfriend. One day I went outside to see what some commotion was about, and found a couple of guys yelling and banging on the front door for the boyfriend to come out. I went back inside for a couple of minutes, then heard a loud crash. When I went back out, I found the very big front window smashed and caught a glimpse of one of the two guys coming out the back of the duplex. With that, I went back in and called the police. By the time the police arrived, the two guys had left in their car and the neighbor had returned. I told the police what I knew, but since I had not seen the guys actually break the window, the police couldn’t do much. The neighbor though started yelling that she knew who did this and it was because her boyfriend had slept with one of the other guys’ girl. She then stomped into the house only to come out a couple of seconds later and start cursing at the cops. It didn’t take much for them to warn her to shut up or she would be taking a ride downtown. She just turned and stormed back into the duplex. The officer turned to me and said, “If she comes out that door again, I am arresting her.” You can not treat a police officer like that even if you were the victim of a crime.

LA replies:


Once when I was a longhair in my early 20s I gave a police officer in Aspen, Colorado a hard time, nothing terrible, but I was sassy and very disrespectful. He didn’t react or do anything, though he could have. I think he could have arrested or ticketed me or something for the way I spoke to him. He was not a contempoary, hip, policeman of the type that became common later in Aspen, but an older officer of the old school. Later I was ashamed of the way I had acted and I sought him out and apologized.

Ben W. writes:

From the picture in this AP article, it appears that there was a black police officer at the scene.

This article is incredible (written by Jesse Washington “AP national writer”—guess the race). It basically says that the incident, whoever is at fault, shows racist America as it is.

Paul Nachman writes:

“Later I was ashamed of the way I had acted and I sought him out and apologized.”

Interesting. I wonder how many people would do that. I think I would. Was the cop receptive?

LA replies:


Gintas writes:

Re “Gates’s, uh, narrative?”, here are lessons white folks should learn:

  1. Have a black neighbor and his house is being invaded? Don’t do anything, he’s probably just breaking into his own house, police action means trouble; have pity on a poor white policeman.

  2. See a black man in trouble? Don’t help; it’s racist to assume he needs help; if you do help, it will be turned into “you and your white racism.”


  4. The insidious, East Germany / Stasi lesson: the random white you meet probably hates your racist guts as much as Gates does.

On a side note, I was at the car shop getting my car worked on last week, and the TV was on a station with a bunch of women talking about Sotomayor. There was an older man sitting near me, he was watching. I decided to be a little bold, so I said, “do you really think those women are going to solve the world’s problems?” He just gave a small laugh. Not much later, as they were dealing with “racism” and the “white hegemony” I said, “they think you and I are the enemy.” He shook his head and said, “I can’t hear a thing they’re saying.” Hah, so much for that.

LA replies:

That’s white America for you. We wonder why there is not more reaction on the part of whites to what is being done to them and said about them, and the answer is, they don’t know what’s being done and said. They’re out to lunch.

Gintas writes:

Re “Gates demands apology from Officer Crowley”:

If Crowley doesn’t immediately grovel, will Gates call for riots?

LA replies:

No. A midnight candlelight march through Harvard Yard.

Paul Nachman writes:

Ben W. didn’t point out in that AP story the tag at the end about the reporter:

“Jesse Washington covers race and ethnicity for The Associated Press.”

You don’t say! Someone—perhaps D’Souza—pointed out the incredibly high percentage of black intellectuals whose focus is on the black experience. It would be good if someone were to tell them that the insides of their heads (as of most people’s heads) just aren’t that interesting.

Also, since there was some mention of Cornel West, I’ll remind you of the single stupidest thing that anybody has ever said (not merely “in the top ten”!):

“Larry Summers strikes me as the Ariel Sharon of American higher education,” Dr. West said today. “He struck me very much as a bull in a china shop, and as a bully, in a very delicate and dangerous situation.”

LA replies:

I’ll just repeat my mantra: When you turn on CSPAN and there happens to be a black person speaking on some panel, count how many seconds pass before he or she says the word “black.” I’l bet you it won’t be more than 15 seconds, more likely 7.5 seconds. Any time black “intellectuals” are speaking, they are speaking about blackness. There is nothing else they are interested in.

Vincent Chiarello writes:

In reading the blog entries about the recent kerfuffle about Gates, I am reminded that men in Gates’s position and mindset are convinced that they are beyond reproach, and that they respond to any effort to point to their weaknesses in the way that Officer Crowley was doing: call him a “racist” and you would be amazed how effective a weapon that is. Within academia, government and, don’t forget, much of private enterprise, what race hustlers like Gates et al. want, they get.

But Gates’s rise to infallibility is not unique, for he is the successor to the earlier black champion of such distinction, John Hope Franklin, who, by the time of his death in March of this year, had been canonized by blacks and many whites as a man of unalloyed virtue. The problem with that assessment is that much of it is nonsense, for I knew Franklin “back in the old days,” when at Brooklyn College he became the chairman of the History Department, replacing a well-known U.S. Civil War historian, and in so doing, passing over the logical successor to that position, a well-known expert in Russian history. It was my first encounter with what would later be called “affirmative action,” although Franklin, unlike his successors, did have credentials.

The faculty skirmish that attended Franklin’s ascendancy became, in his eyes, the paradigm that would occupy his mind until his death: that the roiling forces of racism were at work everywhere, and, despite his meteoric rise from Brooklyn College, to the University of Chicago, to his chair in history at Duke, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he never once criticized what he knew was race hustling, and the baleful effects of affirmative action on university education. In this way, Franklin and Gates are twins.

Gates knows that he has achieved a status that is similar to Franklin’s, and, as night follows day, you can bet that the Cambridge Police Department will apologize profusely for its apparent misdeed. Sgt. Crowley will be told to be ever more vigilant when arresting blacks who create public disturbances, further empowering the likes of Henry Lewis Gates, Jr. It is a sign of decay when society cannot be protected by the agents given that responsibility because of race. As to Gates, for those whites who believe this a transitory and unimportant incident, remember this: Moral indignation is a technique used to endow the idiot with dignity.

Steve writes:

A black scholar takes Gates to task for his behavior, in an essay entitled, “Consider this before crying ‘racial profiling.’ “

Ben W. writes:

Gates’ martyrdom has as much merit as Michael Jackson’s sainthood, McNair’s “untimely” death and Obama’s messianic presidency. At least we had a great weekend with Tom Watson.

Paul Nachman writes:

Adding to Vincent Chiarello’s point is this gem:

We call things racism just to get attention. We reduce complicated problems to racism, not because it is racism, but because it works.

——Alfredo Gutierrez, political consultant, as quoted by Richard de Uriarte, The Phoenix Gazette, March 14, 1992 (quoted in The ProEnglish Advocate, 1st quarter, 2002).

John B. writes:

Boy—it makes you wonder what kind of person is teaching Black Studies these days. (Joke.)

B. Smyth writes:

Hi, first-time commenter here. I’ve been reading your blog for some time.

After skimming the other comments in the many Gates-related entries, I didn’t notice any mention of something I picked up on. I went to the trouble of investigating Gates and found that his first wife was, as I suspected might be the case, white. This seems to be very common among many of these white-hating grievance-mongers. They outwardly hate the white race but aren’t too proud to bed our women. Not all of these women are supermodels, of course, but the ones who marry black celebrities tend to be this type.

I think we can all agree that elite black hatred of Whitey is thinly-veiled envy; with lower class blacks, the causes may be different. They consciously feel inferior because of the superior accomplishments of our civilization, and lash out in resentment. According to what I’ve read, Gates is percent 50 white, just like the Alien-in-Chief. I would assume his European ancestry is more dispersed than Obama’s, rather than coming from a single parent. Obama resented his white trash mother, and chose to identify with his African side, even though his father was a real sc*mb*g in his own right. I suspect Gates might secretly tilt the other way and wish his white ancestors hadn’t mated with Africans.

Both men appear to be conscious of their lightness and desperately wish to prove their black credentials, but the Obamanation is less hypocritical. At least he took a black wife, and one who is darker than he. Does it seem like lighter-skinned blacks have more of a chip on their shoulder, because they aren’t white (or light enough to pass), nor dark enough to feel unambiguously black?

I personally find mulattos and the like to be more of a menace to white society than darker skinned blacks because of the message their presence sends. Many of them probably decide that if they can’t have whiteness and all that comes with it, then no one can. They covet membership in a superior civilization, what comes to the same, membership in the race that created it. Since they can’t have it, they want to deface it, just as mediocre artists try to destroy high culture through vulgarity. They can quite profitably do this by pairing off with one of the embodiments of Western beauty, the white female. By miscegenating, they do their own small part to contribute to the extinction of whites.

Ron K. writes:

Would you say that Henry Louis Gates exhibits the “command presence” necessary to fight fires in New Haven?

(I’m sorry, that was Ruth-less…)

LA replies:

He’s certainly a bit of a precious prima donna, which became clearer to me reading his interview at The Root.

Gintas writes:

The whole thing is turning into an ideal case study of your Laws on Majority-Minority Relations in Liberal America.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 21, 2009 06:45 PM | Send

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