If only everyone had obeyed our SOS Stop-Observe-Strategize Principle, one esteemed Harvard professor and one well regarded police sargeant in Cambridge Massachuseetts would be sleeping better tonight.
So to the both of you, think mind over mouth next time.
1. Sgt. Crowley: Couldn’t you have used your astute observation
skills to surmise that the well dressed, articulate and arrogant fella
was likely a Harvard man? Could you have made nice?
2. Professor Gates, yes you just returned from China and couldn’t get
into your own house but you’ve been controlling your demeanor for good
results your whole life.
Could you have told yourself “this is really not my day” and come up with a way to humor the stone faced officer? How about finding out more about what job he had turned up at your home to do, then proudly shown your ID?
Ok no one, black or white, likes to show identification at their own house, but the officer would have called it a day and you would have had the time for tea and jet lag recovery
3. Hey guys, you are both supposedly experts in racial profiling.
Shouldn’t this have led to a bond not a breakdown?
Imagine a rewind:
Gates: Here’s my ID. I’m head of African American Studies here at Harvard–just got back from China
Crowley: Sorry Professor, this isn’t your day is it? Sorry for the inconvenience but we got a call and there’s been quite a few burglaries lately. Well I’m off to the police academy to teach.
Gates: Really, what do you teach?
CrowleY: Ethics and avoiding racial profiling
Gates: Terrific… that’s my expertise too. well keep up the good work. And thanks for watching out for the neighborhood. And keep being cool before you use those handcuffs on some dude.
Crowley: No problem professor. Remember your keys next time.