washingtonpost.com
The Root: The Education of Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Jimi Izrael
Moderator of TheRoot.com's Hardline blog
Tuesday, July 21, 2009 2:00 PM

"If a mild-mannered, bespectacled Ivy League professor who walks with a cane can be pulled from his own home and arrested on a minor charge, the rest of us don't stand a chance," writes Jimi Izrael, a blogger for TheRoot.com.

Izrael was online Tuesday, July 21 at 2 p.m. ET to discuss what the arrest of Harvard professor and TheRoot.com founder Henry Louis Gates says about police perception of African-Americans.

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Minneapolis, Minn.: My father and I (both white) got locked out of my parents' house a few weeks ago in Omaha, Neb. A cop happened to be driving by and saw us trying to "break in" through a window by the front door. The cop stopped, came over, and showed us how to break the lock on the front door. It was never asked, but there was clearly an assumption that this was our home.

Jimi Izrael: Well now, you have at least one other marketable skill. Mazeltov.

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Washington, D.C.: Will Professor Gates's recent arrest change any of the recent nonsensical comments about how the election of President Obama proves that we are in a "post-racial" society? Obama's election is undeniably a watershed, but it doesn't mean that race is not still an important factor in American life. Or are people who make this absurd claim simply impervious to facts like this?

Jimi Izrael: I think race is a hard concept for white people to grasp. It's so much different than not being able to get a good table at the Olive Garden. Ever. I think race relations often ask for an empathy not all of us can muster.

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Medford, Oregon: We are always reading about police overreacting in minor incidents, including the one with Dr. Gates. It seems they should be tested and trained to react in a neutral and restrained manner to perceived insults. What can be done to instill some humanistic traits into police officers, or are those who have bullying tendencies and hair-trigger tempers attracted to police work in the first place? Again and again I see these minor incidents turn into police rage thanks to dash-mounted cameras. Do police think we, the public, are the enemies?

Jimi Izrael: I think the police have a tough job to to do, and I'm not convinced that this is the best example of police misconduct I've seen come down the pike.

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Washington, D.C.: Here's the lesson from the Gates arrest.... cooperate with the police.

Forcing a door open looks suspicious. It's not a big surprise the police were called.

But just explain your story to the cops and get over yourself. If Gates hadn't lost his cool this wouldn't even be a story.

Jimi Izrael: I agree, but I don't agree it is as simple as that. I think just boiling the incident down to his (over?)reaction would be a mistake.

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Washington, D.C.: Please, please, please! Stop using poor Oprah being unable to take over Hermes after hours to buy a watch for Tina Turner as her "Crash" moment! (exhale) Thank you!

Jimi Izrael: LOL. I think that's about as hard as she is likely to crash, y'dig? But I take your point.

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Utah: Okay, I'd like to say first of all that I worked for the police department of a small college town for seven years. So usually I'm on the side of the cops against the arrogant "Do you know who I am?" types of professors.

But this is absolutely unacceptable under any possible explanation of police conduct. Dr. Gates has the right to tell the cops not to come into his home, and to leave his home. He has the right to ask the officer for his name and his badge number, his supervisor's name, and the police department's phone number. He even has the right to say, "I pay your salary!" although I wouldn't recommend it. Once he's shown his ID to the officer, the officer should apologize, do the PR song-and-dance, and get out. No other course of action is acceptable. Arresting Dr. Gates or anyone else on disorderly conduct charges when all that's happened is that he's expressed displeasure with police behavior and wanted to make a complaint -- well, that's so out of line, I can hardly believe it.

Just because Gates calls racism out a lot doesn't mean that the people he calls out aren't racist. I hope he sues the police department and costs that officer his job. I know it must suck to be embarrassed at one's home, to have a huge stink made in the papers, and all the rest. But I'm glad that this officer chose to pick on someone with the resources to make it never happen again, instead of spending a career happily harassing the powerless because he can.

The majority of cops are good, non-biased people. But frankly, none of them would have done this.

Jimi Izrael: Thanks for commenting.

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Washington, D.C.: I read the initial news article, the police report, and the statement from Dr. Gates. What struck me about the incident was that the police officer, having determined that Dr. Gates lived in the home, was in the process of leaving when Dr. Gates continued to berate him for investigating a neighbor's report of a break-in. Now while the officer was clearly in error for arresting Dr. Gates and probably should have instead left the scene, shouldn't some of the blame be placed on Dr. Gates for following the officer outside and yelling at him? By all accounts a neighbor called in a report of a break-in -- should the police not verify the identify of the person found in the house? If so, how was this an incident of racial profiling?

Jimi Izrael: I think it's about perception: how and why did this incident escalate? Was race a factor? I know that miscommunication between the public and the police happens, but if you ask a black person, it may seem to them that when the all people involved are white, it ends where it started. But when the people are black, people end up tazed, unconscious or in jail. So this isn't, in my view, a cut and dry incident of racial profiling, but knowing what I know and having been black a long time, it would be hard to discount race as a factor.

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PG County, Md.: I've read Izrael's column, including where he writes "cops love donuts." Such juvenile antipathy for law enforcement discredits his views and reminds neutral observers of the default setting of those defending Dr. Gates's behavior.

My question is this: why is hostility and disorder toward police the default setting of so many African Americans, even at Harvard, and even for otherwise law-abiding folks who could stay out of jail if they merely muster the discipline to bite their tongue and comply promptly when confronted by stressed police officers doing a dangerous job?

If officers are behaving in a way that suggests they hold inappropriate assumptions, then why not just file a complaint later? Gates wasn't arrested for burglary; he was arrested for hectoring an officer in a sustained and needless fashion in front of a slew of bystanders, despite repeated warnings to calm down.

Charges dropped? Yup: what elected prosecutor in liberal Cambridge wants to become the target for an implacable swarm of activists hell-bent on making larger political points, whatever the facts? But I suspect that in his heart of hearts, even Dr. Gates regrets his behavior.

Jimi Izrael: My best friend's a cop. He loves donuts. So bite me, right?

I'm not defending Skip's behavior. If you read what I wrote carefully, you'd know that.

I think when you live your life knowing that the police don't need a reason to harass you, and that they can kill you at will and make up any cover story they like, it's gonna taint your relationship with these under-paid public servants. I can't speak for all Black folks. I can just speak for me. And I know cops don't mind socking it to a brother on a humble. For every reason or no reason at all. Whereas a white person might get the benefit of the doubt, you have no such benefit coming your way.

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washingtonpost.com: The Education of Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. (The Root, July 21)

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Washington, D.C.: This is just a simple misunderstanding that got blown WAY out of proportion.

There are a few dynamics here that determined this unfortunate outcome: 1) The officer obviously wasn't wearing his badge in plain view per protocol 2) Gates lost his cool 3) The officer then lost HIS cool

To claim racism as the dominant factor is ludicrous.

Why do you think the race card is used so much in race relations when it doesn't need to be?

Jimi Izrael: I don't know what the "race card" is. I know white people think it is the insertion of race seemingly apropos of nothing. My question then becomes, if you have been white all your life, how do you know when race is a factor and when it isn't? What is your point of reference?

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Tampa, Fla.: What can we do as African Americans to stop police brutality(especially for men and young men of color)? If any information is available please forward it to me. Through experience, I have watched tearfully how people with badges mainly of another race target and falsely accuse African-American men, as well as young men. I would like to see something done about this it is unjust. My family have been subjected to racial profiling for almost a year. Complaints have gone unanswered. I am not willing to let this type of behavior pass. I want justice and I will continue forward until I get it. If you have any resources available to me please, please forward it. In the meantime, thank you for your time.

Best Regards.

Jimi Izrael: I think we need to remember how to behave when dealing with police.

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Virginia: I'm a deaf white male. Police do not want to write to/with me about tickets so I got off on DWM (or the deaf card). What happened to the professors can happen to white people too....

Jimi Izrael: Thanks for commenting.

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Seattle, Wash.: I have no doubt that race played a large part in how this scene took place. It seems evident to me that the police officer felt his pride and authority was challenged by Prof. Gates when he followed him outside. The officer's reaction was out of proportion to the situation. I also wonder why there were six officers on Gates' lawn-that seems like a lot of not busy officers in Cambridge. I can't believe that none of the other officers (which appear to include at least one African American from the Post photo) stepped in with a cooler head to de-escalate the situation.

Jimi Izrael: I know, right?

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Kensington, Md.: Yes, I think racial profiling is horrible, however, in this case if Mr. Gates had acted with respect to the officers called to the scene by a neighbor who suspected someone was breaking in, the entire scene would have played out differently. I was not there but from media reports he equally provoked the situation.

Jimi Izrael: That's just it: it's "he said, they say." But we can all agree that it should not have happened.

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Gates vs. Bobby Tolan: While I have sympathy for Professor Gates, this incident doesn't even come close to the story of former major league baseball player Bobby Tolan outside of his home in a wealthy Houston suburb.

Jimi Izrael: Agreed.

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Embarrassingly bad journalism: While the incident was ridiculous, I thought the Post's article was written in a way that was misleading and inflammatory. Upon reading it, I immediately thought, "Oh my goodness -- this man was arrested for breaking into HIS OWN HOME!? What an outrage!" It isn't until the 5th paragraph that we learn (and not even very clearly) that he was not arrested for breaking and entering, but for disorderly conduct due to his alleged behavior with the officers. While still ridiculous, that's not nearly as outrageous.

washingtonpost.com: Gates Says He Is Outraged by Arrest at Cambridge Home (The Root, July 21)

Jimi Izrael: You say to-MAY-toe.

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Washington, D.C.: Pardon me, but is this event really a major story? Is this incident -- with apparently poor judgment and behavior from both parties -- indicative of a much more complicated and serious issue? According to the initial police report Gates accused police officers at the scene of being racist and said repeatedly, "This is what happens to black men in America." What is happening to black men in America is that they are being murdered with guns by other black men in America at a horrifyingly high rate.

Jimi Izrael: I don't think that kind of logic works here, but I take your point.

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Washington, D.C.: Jimi,

To me it looks like both sides over reacted. Gates should not have immediately assumed racist cops were out to get him, and the cops should have backed off once it was clear it was Gates's home. But I don't really see this incident as some kind of huge statement on race in America, as Gates appears to.

Jimi Izrael: I think it is a reminder to some. How you see it depends on who you are and where you are from.

Thanks for commenting.

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Washington, D.C.: What can whites in this country do to try to understand what it is like to be racially profiled like this? I know that as a white person, I have the privilege of being treated better by police than many minorities do, and I would like to try to put myself in the place of someone without this privilege so that I can better understand racial issues and hopefully try to correct them. Also, what can whites do to try to reduce racial profiling?

Jimi Izrael: Be Black.

Seriously, prejudice is apart of the human condition. How you weigh your prejudices and how it makes you behave makes all the difference. I'm not the Spokesman for all People of Color. Why not ask one your black friends? You don't have any?

Oh.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm looking at the picture on the Post Web site now. The officers look calm, Gates looks like he's flipping out. Who's overreacting?

washingtonpost.com: Gates Says He Is Outraged by Arrest at Cambridge Home (The Root, July 21)

Jimi Izrael: You don't know how you'll react in a situation like that until you are there. Period. Being arrested is traumatizing. Maybe he didn't have his best head on at that moment, right? But anything that sounds like "he deserved to be mistreated" is an instant fail.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Honestly, I find myself torn on this. Both sides deserved a greater level of respect.

The professor loudly assuming the moment the police show up that they were only asking him questions because he was black is not helpful. It's disrespectful to the officers, and just sets things up for more tension. On the other hand, arresting someone for "disturbing the peace" (aka being a royal pain in the butt) doesn't help either, and shows disrespect and a lack of compassion.

What if anything can be done to improve this kind of situation? A commenter on the Root said they don't owe the police any respect and the police should deal with it. Although it's not unearned, what can be done to change those attitudes?

Jimi Izrael: I don't know. There needs to be more community engagement from the police. Cops needs to meet the People in a non-business setting every now and again. That's my suggestion.

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Baltimore, Md.: I (white person) have had two incidents with police where they were completely wrong and over-reacted to my frustration with them. I do think the only reason I wasn't arrested was due to my race. When I read about Prof. Gates my first reaction was that he blew his top and should have kept his cool, but then I remembered my own experience and how easy it is to lose your cool when you are completely in the right and yet bullied by a cop who has an attitude. Sorry I don't have a question, just a comment.

Jimi Izrael: Thanks for your comment.

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St. Paul, Minn.: Do you see class mixed in with racism in this incident as well? A blue-collar Cambridge cop sees an opportunity to take an apparently affluent African-American down a notch?

Jimi Izrael: There is no doubt in my mind that this incident was ignited by race and complicated by class and the need to make an example.

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Washington, D.C.: I am saddened to hear about what happened to Mr. Gates. I am also sickened that it happened in 2009. I have a 17-year-old son, and my husband and I have had THE talks with him, the one about the birds and the bees, and the one about how to conduct himself if he is stopped by or questioned by police officers. I became teary-eyed during the conversation because I did not think it was fair to have to basically tell him to be subservient (which I called respectful and cooperative) to the officers. My son is an athlete and scholar, but none of that will matter because of the color of his skin. I don't think all parents have to have this kind of conversation with their sons, but unfortunately too many of us do.

Jimi Izrael: Have that talk with him often.

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Washington, D.C.: Comment: Please don't think that because Obama is in the White House that we are "Post Racial"! Questions: 1. Who was the busy body, so "neighborly" that she had to call the police assuming blacks were breaking in? 2. Why couldn't the policeman, after reviewing Gates's ID, leave say "thank you" and exit his home. Had Gates been white I guarantee the cop would have gone on his way!

Jimi Izrael: We can't guarantee that, but it seems like it would be a safe bet.

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Arlington, Va.: What does this sentence even mean? Please translate: "And I know cops don't mind socking it to a brother on a humble."

Jimi Izrael: I can't be your Negro Tour Guide today. Sorry.

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Baltimore, Md.: I think this could be a good argument for getting to know your neighbors (or at least meeting them). I don't think this would've happened if Mr. Gates's neighbors knew him, or at least knew what he looked like. If I saw unfamiliar people of ANY race trying to break into my neighbor's house, I'd be suspicious.

Jimi Izrael: RIGHT. Agreed.

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Washington, D.C.: I seem to recall an incident years ago where actor, Will Smith, was stopped by the police outside his own house. I believe that Samuel L. Jackson mentioned this happening to him also.

Given how famous these men are, I have to admit that I was surprised at the time.

Jimi Izrael: We all look like Cousin Pookie from the curb and are all judged to be dangerous until proven otherwise.... or neutralized...

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Washington, D.C.: I (a white male) had to break into my own home a few years ago, and an officer did come up and knock on my door and ask for my ID. I provided it, but have no doubt that had I been argumentative I would have gotten into trouble. It seems the Dr. was not in trouble until the argument, and that police asking for proof residency is normal in such situations. Why should this guy get special treatment?

Jimi Izrael: I don't think he should.

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Minneapolis, Minn. (poster who broke into her own house): I don't want to have my story misunderstood -- I'm trying to say, perhaps inarticulately, that Gates's arrest made me think back to that incident as another example in which I blindly take my whiteness and the privileges that it comes with for granted. I didn't think twice about that incident until Gates.

Jimi Izrael: Noted.

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Rockville, Md.: Regardless of "racial" profiling, isn't breaking into a house "criminal" profiling behavior?

Jimi Izrael: Breaking and entering is a criminal offense.

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Kansas City, Mo.: I'm annoyed by another poster's comment that Gates should have "cooperated" with the police. It sounds like Gates is distrustful of police and he has good reason to be. I wouldn't want to cooperate with someone I feared might do me harm. It amazes me how many white people just don't get this. But I guess it shouldn't.

Jimi Izrael: No. It really shouldn't.

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A large university in another part of the country: Do you know whether a Harvard faculty ID has the holder's headshot on it, and if it's required to be retaken every few years so it will look up-to-date? That's certainly the case here at a large university in another part of the country.

Seems to me that once Dr. Gates produced his ID on demand (which was reasonable) and the police officer examined it (presumably detecting a more-than-passing resemblance between the photo and the bearer), the officer should have just said "Thank you, (sir,) have a nice day" and been on his/her way.

IMO, the officer's mistake was then to decide to contact Harvard's PD -- which was, at minimum, an excess of caution, but at worst arguably racist, because I don't believe this would have been done to a white professor. I also find it implausible that anyone in that neighborhood (such as the passerby who called the police) wouldn't recognize someone as famous as Dr. Gates.

Jimi Izrael: Scary, isn't it.

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Laurel, Md.: So Prof. Gates was observed by a neighbor (who apparently didn't know who he was) forcing entry into a house. The police arrived and asked to see proof he lives there. Makes sense to me.

According to the officer's version, Gates followed him out of the house and continued to lecture about racial profiling. This is where things get pretty subjective. According to Yahoo!:

"Police said the 58-year-old Gates was arrested after he yelled at an officer, accused him of racial bias and refused to calm down after the officer demanded Gates show him identification to prove he lived in the home."

I suspect pre-conceptions play a big role here. Was Gates acting in a way that might be expected of someone in his circumstances? Or did he use this as an opportunity to lecture and yell about racial bias?

I doubt anyone's going share an unbiased description of the incident.

Jimi Izrael: Kinda complicate, huh? I concur.

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Capitol Hill: It sounds like Dr. Gates was immediately disrespectful to the police officer and probably continued to be so. But don't we have the right to be disrespectful to people in our own home? And don't we have the right to ask for the name and badge number of someone who claims to be a police officer -- especially when they are in our home? And for that to be provided? It was totally out of line for the officer to arrest Dr. Gates and even though I am a white woman, I am POSITIVE that if Dr. Gates had been white, he wouldn't have been arrested. Race adds fuel to an already tense situation.

Dr. Gates is partly responsible for that -- he brought up race immediately -- but the police officer should have kept his cool and not followed that bait. Cops are there to serve and protect and the only thing the arrest did was help protect the cop's ego in the short run. I hope he gets fired -- and that Dr. Gates gets an apology for the cop. Nothing else, though.

Jimi Izrael: Thanks for commenting.

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Houston, Tex.: News reports indicated Dr. Gates, when first asked for ID by the police, refused. Is that true?

If he initially refused then what did he expect would follow?

Jimi Izrael: I'm anxious to hear him give his own account of the events, aren't you?

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Washington, D.C.: Sorry but I haven't heard the story. What happened to Dr. Gates?

washingtonpost.com: The Education of Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. (The Root, July 21)

Jimi Izrael: Follow the links.

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Arlington, Va.: I'm saddened to see the hatred for police in this situation. The professor acted immaturely and didn't turn over his ID when requested, as is basically stated on all drivers licenses. He broke the law, end of story. It's instances like this that make society less sympathetic when real wrongs occur. The only thing worse is the little shots you take at everyone who isn't like you. Telling the poster above, I guess you don't have any African American friends is race-bating and wrong.

Jimi Izrael: No, it isn't. Asking every black person to help you navigate the conundrum of race relations in this country is wrong.

Black people don't just fall to earth ---we've been here for years! You can't ask silly questions and expect a serious answer. I dignify ignorance on my terms, not yours. The only reason you don't know much about people of color is by choice. Don't blame Jimi for that.

Hey... it's hard, but it's fair....

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Pacific Northwest: I am a white, middle-class woman and I consider myself quite boring. However, I was recently challenged by a police officer and I felt my inner-hippie come out and I wanted to challenge him right back. I honestly respect authority but this is America and if you are minding your own business and the police feel they can hassle you with very little cause, you sometimes just feel the need to stick up for yourself and maybe get a little belligerent. Maybe this is what happened to Professor Gates -- if the officer was a jerk without cause then maybe Gates's inner hippie or whatever came out. I can identify! (I was waiting at the bus stop for my kids in my minivan when a police officer blocked my car and came around to the window and demanded to know what I was doing there. I felt it was none of his business and told him so and he didn't like it. Fortunately, the bus came along at that time and it all blew over but boy was I mad and it could have escalated.)

Jimi Izrael: Thanks for this.

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Cambridge, Mass.: I don't know if I can get upset on this one on the racial angle. It seems like this could have happened to anyone; can you see the same thing happening if he was white? In spite of Gates's public persona, none of my interactions with Cambridge Po would indicate they could identify any Harvard professor. In D.C. we recently had a white mayor of a local town get his door kicked in by a swat team and his dogs shot while he and his wife were face down on the ground. The point about the police going overboard to any perceived unresponsiveness is well made.

Jimi Izrael: It can seem to some that black folks are most often the people face-down on the ground. If it could happen to everyone, why does to it seem to happen to black people more times than not? I dunno.

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Houston, Tex.: This seems like a case of double self-fulfilling prophecy: The white cops expected to find a black man breaking into another man's house, so that's what they found. Professor Gates was expecting to be treated in a racist manner, so that's what he saw. The greatest lesson here is how much our expectations and personal perceptions color our sense of "exactly what happened."

Jimi Izrael: Maybe.

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Rockville, Md.: I don't see why so many think Prof. Gates provoked this by yelling at the officers. It is the job of police officers to remain calm in hard situations. If Prof. Gates had pushed or shoved them? Yeah, OK. If he had been urging others in the area to push or shove or throw something. Yeah, OK. But just yelling and being upset? If you can't deal with that you don't belong on the force.

Jimi Izrael: Yelling at a cop is disorderly conduct.

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Louisville, Ky.: I wonder about the person who called in the report. One would think that he/she would recognize his own neighbors. Maybe that person has some grudge against the professor.

Jimi Izrael: NICE.

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Washington, D.C.: I bet Professor Gates would have been grateful if the police had stopped someone from breaking into his house. I certainly don't argue for blind deference to the police, but in fairness, they have one of the hardest jobs in the world. When they do it wrong, the whole world notices and they make the front page. When they do it well, do they get the same level of coverage? Absolutely not.

Jimi Izrael: That's the job, isn't it? You make a great point here. The incident is not cut and dry, by any means. But it begs some questions that need discussion.

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Washington, D.C.: This is the key to the whole situation. The professor was hostile to the police officer. If he had just been calm then he would not have been arrested. Do police officers racial profile -- I would say yes, and I would also say that black police officers do the same thing. Contrast this incident to the incident where the Dallas cowboy player was stopped at the hospital. That case was an outrage and the police officer was essentially terminated. This case is a case where he egged the police on to make it look racial.

Jimi Izrael: Nah.

Some white people think that some black people take on racial issues as some kind of hobby or past-time, like pinnacle or hacky-sack. You are wrong. Dr. Gates is an aging academic who doesn't need the publicity or aggravation.

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Re: Washington, D.C. Race Card commenter: By the way, I am African American, and I think it is very common in our community to use the race card when it doesn't need to be.

The INITIAL exchange between Gates and the officer may have had nothing to do with race, in my opinion. It all had to do with ego and attitudes on both parties. BOTH were in the wrong.

All the officer had to do was verify Gates's identity and leave the premises. All Gates had to do was keep his cool. All the officer had to do was produce his badge and/or give his name. All Gates had to do was keep his cool.

Jimi, there is another lesson here that I think you're missing: keep your cool when dealing with police officers, regardless of the infraction. They have the authority to take it out of proportion and cry foul, we as citizens don't.

Jimi Izrael: I'm not missing that lesson --- I said that in the piece I wrote.

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Washington, D.C.: Mr. Izrael,

You are moderating this discussion quite poorly. Your only substantive comments are "thanks for the comment," a few sarcastic jokes, or responses to the effect that, "only a black man can understand what it's like." How about a few more constructive remarks? You're such an wonderful writer and I think everyone would appreciate hearing what you have to say.

Jimi Izrael: Hello? I'm doing the best I can. These are complicated issues, and I don't pretend to have any of the answers. I wrote the piece(es) and tabled some questions. The rest is up to you.

But to your point, I'll try harder.

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State College: A chatter asked what this phrase meant: "And I know cops don't mind socking it to a brother on a humble."

You responded: Jimi Izrael: I can't be your Negro Tour Guide today. Sorry.

But this is part of the problem! I read your article and didn't understand that phrase, either. Part of the race problem is that sometimes we don't understand how others communicate. So someone asks a question in good faith, and you respond with a snarky comment. I don't see how that helps move things forward.

Jimi Izrael: State, if you are just now engaging people of color in a interpersonal way --- via the Internets!--- you re too far gone. Try getting to know your neighbor and you will learn so much about other cultures, AAVE and the esoteric idioms he may be prone to utter. More than you are likely to learn from me in this short span of time.

Get at me later -- jimiizrael@gmail.com or follow me @jimiizrael via Twitter.

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Portsmouth, N.H.: The person who called in the complaint, according to many news reports, was a woman who worked as a fundraiser for Harvard Magazine -- Surprising she wouldn't have recognized Professor Gates, probably the most famous and easily recognizable professor at Harvard due to his many television appearances.

Jimi Izrael: Crazy, isn't it?

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Jimi Izrael: Thanks everyone for coming here to engage me about my post for The Root.com. I'm sorry if I didn't have the answer you were looking for--- there are no easy answers to race in America. I write and ask the hard questions. The rest is up to you, and I feel like that's a start.

Best of care to all and come up and see me sometimes on www.jimiizrael.com or check me out every Friday on NPR's "Tell me More With Michel Martin."

See you on the radio.

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