Friday, July 24, 2009

Skip Got Knocked


Like a lot of people this week, I heard about Henry Louis "Skip" Gates being arrested in his own home by police, who were mistakenly told that a man was trying to break in the home. Many of you are probably expecting me to write a scathing condemnation of racism and pontificate on the serious matter of driving while black, breaking into your own home while black or gee, living while black... any of which can get you arrested and/or killed. Ask Sean Bell, who was at his bachelor party while black and was gunned down in New York two years ago.

Yeah, I could pontificate on all of that but, I wont. Actually, if I can be me, if I can be for real here, I thought the whole thing with Henry Louis Gates was kind of funny when I heard about it. Don't get me wrong here... not funny because of what happened... I feel the man's pain and embarrassment, I do. I just thought it was funny because this is the type of thing that happens to poor desperate types like me... not a man of his education, class, and stature. I was naive enough to think that a man like Skip Gates, who probably lives in a much nicer neighborhood that I can even dream about, would not be subject to such. Well, I thought wrong and I really have to shake my head and laugh because in "Post-Racial America" nowadays, it seems like there are more and more reminders that (in the words of the Notorious B.I.G.) "Ain't nothin' changed."

When I was about 13 years old, my uncle and I got locked out of my grandparents' house and neither of them was home. I was thin, light, and could climb good so, he gave me a boost. I jumped and climbed the rest of the way to the top window (one story up), which I was just about to raise up, when Philly's finest appeared and had my poor uncle surrounded within minutes. We explained that we lived in the house but, of course, that wasn't good enough. What saved us was a neighbor who came by and explained to the police that we indeed did live there... and, with that said, the police quietly left. No harm, no foul.

This happened to me again many years later when I was in the Air Force and at Robbins Air Force Base, in Georgia. I left my keys back at the room I was staying in, walked back to my barracks, and was trying to use a debit card to open the door of my room. I admit..I had been out drinking and was slightly buzzed but, not drunk. I almost had the door opened when I heard...

"Son, what in the hell do you think you're doin'?" Smart aleck that I was, I replied... "I'm waitin' for a bus. What the hell does it look like I'm doing?" I didn't realize that I was talking to Air Force Security at the time because my back was turned. Well, two things saved me... (1) The guy I was talking to was the same rank as me (a Staff Sargeant at the time). (2) Once I turned around, we realized we knew each other. He allowed me to enter my room and promptly pass out on my bed. "You might want to get undressed Sargeant... you'll sleep a lot more comfortable that way." He said in parting. I thanked him and fell on the floor. He probably walked away thinking, "Silly Negro."

Henry Lewis Gates wasn't so lucky... he got arrested, got his mug shot taken, and probably had to do the perp walk, which is not as cool as doing the camel walk or the moonwalk. I'm sure this has caused him international embarassment as well. It was quite obvious that once inside the house, those cops realized that he lived there. An argument ensued, and face had to be saved, and Mr. Gates was "knocked", as we say in Philly.

No, I thought that black people of his education and stature was spared that kinda thing... but, I see that's not the case. In all the hue and cry, this might not have even been about race. It could have been a case of two men and pride and one man with handcuffs and a gun being a sore loser and having to exert his "authority" over another man. Nah... it was about race.

26 comments:

LadyLee said...

It shocked me too, Keith, that a man of his stature was arrested. In his own house.

The police are doing better.

At least they didn't shoot and kill him. That would've REALLY been a problem.

(And I am sure they are thinking that right now.)

Jazzy said...

The Perp Walk as oppossed to the Camel Walk??-LMBAO @ you...You are off the hinges man!

James Perkins said...

What do you know about the Camel Walk Keith? lolololol...Great post and great points made.

Vanessa said...

ROFLMBAO- You stupid......but at the same time you make perfectly good sense...That's called genius too!

Toni said...

Hillarious, yet timely post...Just the right amount of humor mixed with dead seriousness to spark my Friday.

Angie B. said...

You are crazy Keith,Crazy like a fox! ROFLMBAO!

Sunflower said...

Yes Keith, a Black manof his stature can be arrested and man handled in his own home...Still think this is "Post Racial America"?? Think Again.

Simon Bastion said...

As usual, a thoughtful ,enlightening and humorously good post.

Grover Tha Playboy said...

Post Racial America Keith? Since When?? I just don't see it.

Lisa said...

I loved this post keith..I laughed a little bit, but I certainly understood the points you were trying to make.

Halo said...

While I understand what you're trying to say here...There was the fact that just like in your personal experiences..a lot of what happened could have been avoided with a simple explanation and a lot less male posturing and indignation.

Cheryl said...

I wasn't shocked that a man of "his staure" got treated that way. It doesn't make a difference who you are or what you do to certain people.

Brenda said...

Great Post Keith...Laughed my ass off at that Perp Walk vs Camel walk
reference.

Sean said...

You educate and entertain brother.
Everybody can't do that.

Captain Jack said...

Hillarious ,yet true Keith.

Swaggie said...

I agree with Ladylee...At least they didn't kill him...It could have been worse.

Tate2 said...

I think the cops knew who he was and that he lived there... the oficer just didn't like being yelled at and not obeyed.

(Mr. Gates was asked and did refuse to produce his I.D.)

I think, just as you eluded..that it was simply a pissing contest between two men...One had gun and cuffs and the other didn't...
Guess who won?

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

I was shocked too but then again I wasn't. From my understanding Gates did refuse to show his ID at first when the police knocked on his door. But he did proceed to go in his house to get his ID and the police walked in without being asked. Once he showed his ID, apparently the police didn't believe him so Gates asked for his name and badge number. That's when things got heated. All of this could have been avoided after the cop saw his ID.

Mizrepresent said...

it was about your entire last paragraph, verbatim.

The Dreamy One said...

I don't understand why we as black people are quick with the race card!

All the man had to do was show the officer his I.D.

All this other bullshyss could have been avoided!

Obama shouldn't have opened his mouth either. Now they are gonna talk about him like they talking about Michael!

This whole situation could have been avoided by all parties if ego's were put aside!

This really urkes my nerve!

Sean said...

@Dreamy-actually, Professor gates was already in his house when the police arrived and he did show them his I.D. -Two peices of ID..Since it was obvious that he lived there,(not to mention he's an old man who uses a cane) what need was there for him to still be questioned? Why should he have to step outside??

Angel said...

Thanks for cheering up my friday!!

12kyle said...

i was surprised but not shocked that this happened. only in america will a black man get arrested in his own damn house. people are surprised that this happened at harvard. what would have happened if skip gates was at howard university? he might have gotten shot!

this is what it's like being in america. i'm glad that obama spoke out against it. a few yrs ago, this could have happened to him. at the end of the day, those cops see a color...not a man.

memo to bill cosby...shut the eff up

The Second Sixty-Eight said...

Yep. Yep. Yep. Yep...

cheapofraud1 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Assistant.to.Daniel.B said...

New essay "The Gates Affair:Why We Care" yours to publish
Dear readers and webmasters,

Author Daniel Bruno Sanz has written an essay about Gatesgate. We encourage its publication and distribution.

Regards,

Navas S.


"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

- 4th Amendment to the The Constitution of the United States of America




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