I couldn’t agree more… This just goes to prove the old adage: Just because you have “money” (Ivy league, etc.) doesn’t mean you have class.
Boston Herald columnist nails it, below.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. should learn restraint
Here’s hoping Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was kidding when he told the New York Times [NYT] he planned to donate the handcuffs used to shackle him last summer to the Smithsonian Institute’s museum of black history.
Even by his self-serving standards it would be detestable, attempting to wrap himself in the robes of a civil rights martyr, as if he’d been bloodied while marching for justice, rather than arrested for mouthing off to a cop who had ironically come to his rescue.
Whatever it was that motivated him to resurrect the ugly incident, Gates could not have exhibited poorer timing, especially for a so-called “scholar” whose expertise is history.
This is Black History Month, set aside to recall the price that was paid for freedom and progress. Even if he was kidding, Gates was still implying he deserved a niche in that pantheon of protesters who were beaten with clubs, bitten by dogs, leveled by high-pressure hoses, sacrificing their bodies for a cause they believed was bigger than themselves.
Gates? He locked himself out of his house, then became indignant and belligerent when Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley, arriving at what he thought might have been a robbery in progress, had the temerity to ask for his identification.
That does not make the professor another Rosa Parks.
What exactly does he think those handcuffs represent? What’s the message he thinks they convey? Don’t trust the cops? Is that it?
Bad enough the rookie in the White House added fuel to the fire by concluding the Cambridge police had “acted stupidly.” But at least he had the sense to douse that fire by inviting Gates and Crowley to smoke a peace pipe in the Rose Garden.
Now Gates shows his thanks by blowing on the embers, and he does so in the name of black history, as if, in challenging Crowley, he had gone toe to toe with Bull Connor or Sheriff Jim Clark.
Black history is cheapened by such shameless exploitation, as it was when Ted Kennedy suggested “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters.”
Courageous people were pummeled at those lunch counters for something much greater than a politician’s punch line or an academic’s ploy for absolution.
For someone who’s supposed to be a teacher, Gates still has a lot to learn, if not about history, certainly about humility.
Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/columnists/view.bg?articleid=1233341