Wednesday, July 29, 2009

General Colin Powell - arguing with the police

Yahoo news

WASHINGTON – Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was mildly critical Tuesday of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., whose angry response to a Cambridge, Mass., police officer touched off a national debate involving President Barack Obama.

Powell, interviewed by CNN's Larry King, criticized the way Gates dealt with Sgt. James Crowley, a white officer who responded to reports of a possible break-in by arresting the black professor at his home on a charge of disorderly conduct. The charge was soon dropped.

Gates "might have waited a while, come outside, talked to the officer, and that might have been the end of it," said Powell, one of the nation's most prominent African Americans.

"I think he should have reflected on whether or not this was the time to make that big a deal," he said.

But, Powell said, Gates was just home from China and New York and "all he wanted to do was get to bed."

When asked about the incident at a news conference, Obama said the police acted stupidly. The president subsequently toned down his criticism but not his denunciation of racial profiling generally.

Powell said he was the target of racial profiling many times and he sometimes got mad.

On one such occasion, he said, he tried to meet someone at Reagan National Airport "and nobody thought I could be the national security adviser to the president. I was just a black guy."
Asked how he dealt with the situation, Powell said "You just suck it up. What are you going to do?"

"There is no African American in this country who has not been exposed to this kind of situation," Powell said.

But, he said, "when you are faced with an officer trying to do his job and get to the bottom of something, this is not the time to get in an argument with him. I was taught that as a child.

"You don't argue with a police officer," Powell said.


  1. Recipients and PublicityJuly 29, 2009 at 11:22 AM

    Colin Powell is really funny.

    What is all this fuss about African Americans facing "racial profiling"? when every single American (and human in fact) has by now faced some form of racial, ethnic, religious and cultural profiling. A while back there was a book about how America today is "A Nation of Victims" with "victimology" being the order of the day since every last group faces real or imagined discrmination, not least of which is racial profiling.

    Just consider: Italian Americans must always live with the stigma of being associated with the mafia and of being Catholic outsiders. As they often allege that their names ending in the vowels automatically place them at a "disadvantage" ethnically, religiously and culturally (but of course everyone knows that by now it's overblown.)

    White Southerners have to live with the stigma that they are "red necks", racists, Klansmen, and are forever damned because they fought for the South (yet everyone knows there are plenty of exceptions and that the US army prefers its bases in the South than in the North.)

    How about women, they are always crying that they are victims of sexism, underpaid, overworked, treated like second class citizens etc, yet somehow or other more women are in the professions and academia than ever before.

    Look at the Native Americans, formerly known as "Red Indians", they are depicted as suffering from all sorts of social vices and short life-spans, yet at the same time they have built financial empires out of their many government protected literal Bantustans. South African whites were condemnded for doing this as part of Apartheid, yet in America the Indians are allowed to own land based exclusively on ethnicity and race (they are neither white not black) build casinos, resorts and hotels as much as they want, sell goods with no taxes, and yet are free to move around anywhere in the USA enjoying full citizen rights and generous benefits.

    And of course, the Jews, which Jew has not experienced anti-Semitism and pure religious and ethnic and even "racial" profiling by dint of their Jewish-sounding names or for Orthodox Jews by the way they dress etc etc etc?, yet Jews have managed to get on with life in spite of all the horrors and the obstacles.

    So it remains to be asked that why is it that ONLY African Americans make a loud "cause" out of themselves? The only feasible answer is that they have larned a neat trick, that the more you belly-ache and act like a mega victim in America the greater will be the hoped-for pay-off and pay day as Whitey and American society keep on caving in to THEIR demands like a spoiled child who regards himslef as the center of the universe blissfully unaware that he is being overtaken and undercut by many others who face similar challenges but instaed of belly-aching and blaming Whitey/Jews/Italians/etc for their ills, get on with life and make something of themselves instead.

  2. R&P:

    having mafia jokes thrown at you because you're Italian is not nearly as dangerous as having police officers with guns and power target you as automatically suspicious because you're black.

  3. Recipients and PublicityJuly 29, 2009 at 10:15 PM

    Steg: Plenty of Italinas get the eye and get frisked as suspects of weapons cocealment or worse.

    Italians are no less amused than African Americans by the less than cordial suspicious reception they get from non-Italians. Italians, like Blacks, are feared and are granted a phoney "respect" simply because they are mere Italians or Blacks because nobody wants to mess with people who have no qualms about flaunting their aggression at the drop of a hat, or feather or wrong word uttered in error not meant as a slight but which can turn Italians or Blacks into aggressive killing machines on the turn of dime if need be when they call in their "shock troops" of either hit men or street hoodlums. Otherwise there is nothing to fear!

  4. I'm on Gates's side. The police march into his own home, based on the flimsiest and vaguest of 911 calls, and Gates shows them ID. Its 2:00 in the afternoon, and some busybody in the neighborhood calls 911. I don't fault Gates for being angry, and shouting. He's shouting in his own home. There's no crowd, no threats, and no threatening situation. They're not on the street. But he gets arrested by Sgt. Crowley, for disorderly conduct, who decides to play it by the book. There's a reason why the Cambridge Police Department almost immediately dropped the charges - they knew they wouldn't stick. President Obama was right the first time - the police acted "stupidly". Crowley even says there won't be an apology. Gates is right, and should file a civil lawsuit for false arrest.

  5. I completely sympathize with Prof. Gates. It is not easy to be brown in America, especially now that there is a lot of White Supremist backlash.

    Did you read the email sent by another Boston Police officer?

    The worst part is that this guy was an English teacher.

  6. Recipients and PublicityJuly 31, 2009 at 12:13 AM

    Elliot Pasik says: "I don't fault Gates for being angry, and shouting."

    He wasn't just "shouting" and "angry" (every time we get angry we should try to exercise self-control, especially a wise sage like Gates), he was cursing and using the vilest language against the officer who also just happens to be a model teacher of dealing respectfully with minorities.

    It is never advisable to curse and verbally ubuse ANY police officer in the USA under any circumstances. As Gates learned, they have the automatic power to arrest, handcuff, charge and imprison as well as the right to carry and use firearms when need be. Blacks have an innate antipathy to the police, the only problem is that minus the police it's wild armed gangs that then kill and maim on sight that take over their neighborhoods.

    The problem is that people like Gates truly believe that the police, even in the heart of ultra-liberal Cambridge, Mass (after all, that is not like some place in the deep South) in the environs of ultra-liberal Harvard University that out of the goodness of its bleeding liberal heart has hired someone as controversial as Gates not only to teach "black studies" but to head its departmant of such nebulous non-academics, grants him a huge salary and the luxurious amenities, and yet Gates the ingrate cares not when the police arrive to check things out and end things peacefully and act with minimal courtesy and politeness but rather has the audacity to curse, verbally malign and outright provoke the police (who are not assumed to be there to act like nursery school teachers dealing with delicate two year olds either) not befitting a Harvard professor but with words that would come out the lowest low-life and dregs of society.

    Gates's (deliberate?) volly of foul-mouthed incendiary verbal abuse and curses against a regular well-mannered cop has now unleashed a national outrage and sparked more race controversy in American, something that the USA does not need at this dangerous time of so much economic and political uncertainty. Take a look at this short 5 minute video from Jackie Mason of all people, who conveys a point of view counter to that of Gates and the consequences of his behavior that in turn has triggered a flow of controversies that have still not ended: Obama Acting Stupidly!

  7. Recipients and publicityJuly 31, 2009 at 1:16 AM

    Add missing words to above post: "The problem is that people like Gates truly believe that the police ARE EVIL."


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.