It's not every day that yours truly reads something on the Internet that brings broad smiles to my handsome face. But the recent arrest of world-renowned Harvard University scholar and anti-African hatchet filmic documentarian, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., made me titter uncontrollably.
Sorry, the spectacle of a bespectacled near-sexagenarian having a fracas with law enforcement officers should evoke emotions of sympathy from us, but Professor Henry Gates is no ordinary mortal and he truly deserved what he got, as I shall soon explain.
Before I delve into that, some things are worth considering first. The arrest and the engulfing scandal is unfathomable to my (feeble) African mind. What type of society is America where neighbors do not know one another sufficiently enough to distinguish between a burglar and a long-resident neighbor?
In Africa, we make it our sacred duty to know our neighbors whether or not they like it. Even though many of my neighbors consider me to be a "hard-hat," we still know each other sufficiently enough to exchange not only pleasantries but also fruits and vegetables and foods on occasions. I have heard stories of how people die in their homes in the West without anyone noticing anything amiss until the odor from the rotten corpse starts assailing neighbors' noses. I pray that I do not live long enough to witness such scenes in my part of the world. Amen, amen!
And what type of society is America where a man like Professor Gates would be called a BLACK MAN? In Eastern Africa, the learned scholar would be greeted with shouts of "Jambo, Bwana!" (Greetings, white man). In Nigeria, children will call him "Oyinbo," and in Ghana, no one will mistake him for anything but "Obroni."
And what type of society is America where the over-hyped ARTICULATOR will speak so stupidly out of tune? In Africa a chief is expected to keep his head when others are losing theirs. That may explain why in many traditional societies of Africa, the chief hardly ever make public proclamations; he speaks through his linguist. President Obama brandishes considerable oratory skill and uncanny calmness. Why then did he so unnecessarily decide to stupidly jump into the dim-witted fray so much so that he committed a faux pas that called for his recant a few hours later?
And again what type of society is America where a young police officer will clamp handcuffs on a near-sexagenarian -- obviously the father and grandfather of someone? It is true that the law is no respecter of anybody, but then... Age, no matter one's station in life, is still very much revered in Africa, thank you very much. Very few police officers in Ghana or even in Nigeria will subject an elderly man to such public ridicule!
But that's American and Western civilization for you!
Back to our story proper.
As the story goes, Professor Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct after a neighbor called the police when they saw him and a black taxi driver attempting to force the jammed front door of his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
An elderly white woman was said to have espied the professor and a taxi driver struggling with the door and had, logically, concluded that a burglary was taking place and had, also very logically and very responsibly, called the police. We do not know whether or not the elderly woman was brought up on diet of racism, but her action was very commonsensical; I'd do the same thing. We live in a dangerous world and Cambridge, I'm informed, is among the most exclusive (read WHITE) of exclusive (read very upper-class WHITE) neighborhoods in America.
What transpired is disputed but after producing identification to show that he was at his own house, a row ensued in which Gates demanded the officer's name and badge number and accused him of racial profiling. The police sergeant then arrested him for disorderly conduct.
Professor Gates cocooned himself in an exclusive patch of white America and believes that it was the reality of modern America. From his elite perch he occasionally lobbed lethal scholarly assaults on fellow scholars, most especially black scholars, who try to point out the inadequacies of the American society. He and other so-called black conservatives specialized in assailing other black scholars, especially black historians. According to Gates and Co. these black scholars are nothing but bunch of ignoramuses who are bent on rewriting history according to their shallow afro-centric view. According to them, black people never contributed anything to human civilization and progress. Gates presented a very silly BBC hatchet of a docudrama that sought to absolve Europe and America from the African Holocaust euphemistically called the Slave Trade (I dealt with this in my article, "ON SLAVERY," - http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/30/013.html) Pardon my shameless plug).
On Monday, July 20, 1992, Professor Gates Jr. wrote an Op Ed in The New York Times titled, "Black Demagogues and Pseudo-Scholars." The article was so vehement in his castigation of fellow black scholars and it irked the late great historian and Egyptologist, Professor Henrik Clarke, so much that he wrote a rebuttal that began like this:
I am raising the following questions: At once, I questioned the title of Professor Gates's article. He should never refer to anyone as a demagogue unless he's ready to call the names of the demagogues, singular or plural, and point out the nature of their demagoguery. He should never refer to any scholar as being pseudo, unless he is ready to name the scholar and prove the pseudo nature of his or her work. To disagree with a scholar does not make the scholar a demagogue.
The spectacle of Professor Henry Gates, an avid black-basher and an unrepentant apologist of white racism, bellowing angrily at the arresting white officer is very hilarious indeed. Gates was said to have yelled to a crowd outside his house as he was handcuffed, "This is what happens to black men in America!" Ouch! When did our erudite professor finally realize this?
It's also funny that Gates was quoted as saying that the arrest made him aware of how minorities are vulnerable "to capricious forces like a rogue policeman."
"I thought the whole idea that America was post-racial and post-black was laughable from the beginning. There is no more important event in the history of black people in America than the election of Barack Obama ... but that does not change the percentage of black men in prison, the percentage of black men harassed by racial profiling," he reportedly told the New America Foundation.
So, the chicken has finally come home to roost. Professor Gates spent the better part of his productive years living an illusion. He spent his industrious years supporting the system and the establishment that consciously sought to keep its minority in ignorance and poverty. It is sad, very sad, that the blinders were finally and very rudely removed from professor Gates's face at the twilight of his years. And that is his greatest tragedy for which he earns zero sympathy from me.
And for the man who was the symbol of black conservative, who was the toast of the establishment and its fawning media, to be reduced to crying that: "There haven't been fundamental structural changes in America. There's been a very important symbolic change and that is the election of Barack Obama. But the only black people who truly live in a post-racial world in America all live in a very nice house on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue [the White House]," is a tragedy of epic proportions. It is lamentable.