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July 26th, 2009
11:33 AM ET

Gates arrest stirs debate over racial profiling

You can't turn on the news with out hearing about the arrest of Henry Gates, a professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Fredricka spoke with Sophia Nelson, a blogger who's editorial appeared Saturday in "The Root." Professor Gates is their editor-in-chief.


Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. maria

    I live in Massachusetts and I belive everyone is blowing this out of porportion. I don't believe this is a racial matter as much as it is police enforcing their authority. I think Professor Gates was upset because of his personal status and what it took him to achieve that status. I think the police office we getting upset and saw someone getting irrate and decided to enforce his muscle. In this situation I think the media is blowing race and only fueling hatered and differences between ethniticity instead of really looking at it for what it is.

    July 26, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  2. Tony

    My feelings on this situation as a Black Male living in Ma is a combination of both pride and anger. As a Black Male and like most we are taught to say three things when we are approached by a police officer, "Yes Sir, No Sir and do you have a warrent." Professor Gate was a very successful Black Male of very high Status who forgot the golden rule when approached by Police. On the other hand Officer Cowley achevied the; What I call "I am a police officer and you can't challange me attitude," and one thing led to another. Did this bring racial focus we wanted? NO, it only caused a bigger divide between police and minorities.

    July 26, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  3. michael armstrong sr.

    Back to the way that people are identified for instance the lady reported she seen two black males breaking into profeser Gates home and then again suppose it was to white man then she would have said theres two white males breaking into the house this ladys remarks was just a simple way to identify some one her comments are being taken out of context and being used to make a false point to protect profesor gates comments on racism the fact is profeser Gates was out of line and officer Crowley was afended by his state and took it personaly insted of keeping a cool head both of these gus need to take anger management classes.

    July 26, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  4. Guy Bauman

    As someone whose lived in Cambridge I can tell you that this wasnt racial profilling but instead good police work. Look at the facts: most crimes are done by black people and Gates (a black man) had just broke into a house. Of course they arrested him!

    July 26, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  5. michael armstrong sr.

    My fellow americans I am a person who some times speaks out of turn and context but my message is clear and some times a little more then blunt but my message to you is this is all of our country this is a united country I am a white man but the black man is my brother the spanish guy is my brother the chinese guy is my brother the middle eastern guy is my brother but when you show hatred and animosity to me then your my foe the white man created the constitution of this country to bring all races together as one but the differant races want special privligous and reconithion that over relates to a white mans privliges my remarks to you are you get what you earn there are no hand outs because of your race for things that happend in the past every body is equel in america now dont try to use the past to gain reconition because it wont work.

    July 26, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  6. constantine

    I woke up to ex-New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial chiming in his opinions about Porf. Gates' arrest, this morning.I think any Louisiana politicians present or past no matter what race,gender or anything they might been don't need to clutter up the airwaves.I've spent 40 dysfunctional years living in Louisiana and proud Hurricane Katrina pulled me out of the muck and mire of there.

    July 26, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  7. Tom

    Tony: I agree with you. But, I'm a little white guy in Atlanta! And, if an office comes to my front door and asks me to step outside, I would do it. And, like you say, I'd say "yes, sir. Is there a problem". I'd not be happy about stepping and I guarantee you, I'd be worried that there something is very wrong to initiate such an action by a police officer. Have I been singled out for some reason? Yes, there is a police offer at my door asking me to step outside! And, I don't know what it is, and the way to find out is not to challenge the police office's approach and procedure rather go outside and talk to him (don't you think?). In Atlanta as likely in MA, the thing that would worry me is "is this guy really a police officer"!

    July 26, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  8. susan riegler

    Gates was obviously looking for trouble or he would have simply shown the officer his I.D. when first asked. The truth is he made himself look like a crook who was trying to intimidate the white officer out of doing his job. It is ridiculous to ask white policemen to put themselves in further danger if the person they are questioning is black. professor Gates got what he wanted, a chance to get attention for who he was and who he knew. Why do white people always have to pretend that they are partly in the wrong instead of a black person every now and then admitting that they are wrong when they are clearly wrong? Is this not racial prejudice on the part of black america? Why does the press always bow down to the black side of the issues instead of just reporting the truth.

    July 27, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  9. susan riegler

    p.s. Lesson learned from this 'teachable moment': being white does not mean you are automatically wrong!

    July 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  10. John Garner

    I an white, 82 years old, was stopped and held by police incommunicado, refused use of a telephone or bathroom, soiled myself and sat for hours in my own urine. A security guard at the door told me to sit down or he would tie me to the chair. I was held because of a lie told by a vindictive nurse. The police never questioned nurse. Finally a psychiatrist interviewed me and said "this is a mistake. Go home! I was released at 4:00 AM, wet from my own urine,no money, and told to 'leve the buildomg'. etc. etc. etc.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:06 pm |
  11. wheelchairman67

    If Gates did not want this to be about race or is all about bridging the gab, then why did he ask "Is this because I am a black man?"? To bridge the gab between races that is not how you bring up why are you doing this? It only makes things worse.

    July 28, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  12. Wade Hayward

    I do not believe that Racial Profiling will be something we see in our Lifetime come to an end! It,s a shame that a society as advanced as we are still remain to stereotype others of color or different ethnic backgrounds, when really we are all the same and desire the same things in life. I have to say, that it seems as though every time something happens to a person of color, that person does not hesitate too throw that Race Card out there. This in my understanding is not a solution to Racism. Society just needs to stop and think before opening there mouths. We were given Two Ears and One Mouth for a reason,we should listen twice as much as we speak.

    July 28, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  13. Mike

    READ THIS IT ISVERY IMPORTANT AND TRUE EVERY BIT OF IT!!!
    Look i understand that she called the cops because she thoughs somebody was breaking into the house. I mean how unaware could a person be of thier own neighbors. She cant sit there and truthfully say that she has never seen her neighbor go into their house. Because she would be lying. This is not the first time that she saw her african american neighbors enter their home. I want her to complete another interview and tell the whole world truthfully that she never watches her neighbors enter thier home. Was his car there. Could she not recognize his car. What could it have been besides RACE that caused her to call the cops. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE that you would have done the same thing, AND NOT HAVE NOTICED YOUR OWN NEIGHBORS. Yes racial profiling is real because if a white man wrote this letter people would pay attention because they would think that he couldnt be racially profiling eitherside. But if an african american man is writing this you would think that he was just bitter for what happened to someone of the same race as him. If you reply to this message tell me what race you think that you think I belong to.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  14. susan riegler

    Mike, the lady who reported the incident did not live in the neighborhood, she was working there. I do not know all of my neighbors and if I someone shouldering a door in I would absolutely call the police and would hope that someone would do the same for my house. If the police were called because someone called the police on me by mistake I would cooperate with the police and be grateful that someone was looking out for my place. Can you guess what color I am? How silly!!

    July 29, 2009 at 10:07 pm |

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