I've been talking about this issue of Dr. Louis Henry Gates' arrest in his home with white folks and black folks, and boy, do they have different things to say about it. I've been reading the comments posted under articles about Dr. Gates, as well, and some of those....whoooooeee, I didn't know that many people could be stark honest about their prejudices!
Having thought about this for several days, I've come to the conclusion that arresting high profile black men on any excuse may be an essential part of making America a better place to live. Look at it like this - America has been busily arresting black men with no stature, who have a different sort of high profile than Dr. Gates, for years and years and years. Almost no one talks about it. Oh, sure, black people talk about it some, but it's fairly old hat to them and they've about chewed it dry among themselves, and some white liberals will talk about it, a little outraged embarrassment larded with a little "yes, but", (yes, but, if he hadn't YELLED at a COP!) . The rest of the country hasn't been wanting to hear or talk about it; if they get arrested, they did something to deserve it.
After someone as respected and well-known as Dr. Gates was arrested, essentially for being uppity to a policeman in Dr. Gates' own home, people started talking. And talking, and talking. I don't much like what a lot of them are saying, but at least they're saying it, and not just at the local CofCC meeting or klavern gathering. It's a little disconcerting, at first, seeing all that naked, oozing pus right out in public, but if we don't see it, it's invisible and it's festering. Let it fester out in the sunshine a little where anyone with guts enough to stand up to a little generalized disapproval can talk back about it, deal with it, stick a needle of truth in it and see if it will drain.
Maybe after another 40 years or so of this, we can actually move into that post-racial America I keep hearing about.
So, I want to invite famous and/or well-to-do black men to volunteer for a little public service, some public humiliation, a little march to the local jail in handcuffs with all your neighbors watching. Then we can have some real outrage, some downhome kerfluffle. See, that's where it's gone wrong all these years -- Joe Black on the street has been going to jail, or being beat or shot or worse, and nobody's too worried about it. Joe Black doesn't have much power to do anything to Joe White, not even the power to embarrass Joe White, or catch the President's attention, so why should Joe White be concerned?
Come on, Bill (Cosby), Alan (Keyes), Walter (Williams), Juan (Williams) put yourselves on the line and lets get those headlines rolling! And let's see what kind of sand you can raise when you get really riled up. Maybe Joe White will actually LISTEN to Bigman Black or Rightwing Black, even though he doesn't give a flip about Joe Schmo Black. It's worth a try.