Don’t Discount Opportunism

Per Mr. Alterman’s piece, “Class, Not ‘Race’”, in the August 17/24 issue, I continue to have questions regarding the incident that occurred in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that resulted in the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., renowned scholar of Afro-American history and professor at Harvard University.

Interestingly, the rushed verdicts in the case all fell on the side of the Professor, who happens to be black, and said accusations came with the heated ferocity one would expect if the professor had returned home to find a cross burning in his yard rather than a jammed front door and an overly concerned neighbor.

Of the two parties involved in the “Cambridge Incident”, the CPD and Professor Gates, which of the two has anything to gain from an outcome tainted by racism and racial profiling?

Which of the two parties has what’s euphemistically referred to as “celebrity status” and used their celebrity to keep attention focused on this incident?

Which of the two parties cried “racism” and deliberately inflamed the situation by accusing the other party of being “racist”?

Which of the two parties is in a position to literally “capitalize” on this situation, i.e., make a bundle on it?

Which of the two parties is planning a documentary on “Racial Profiling in America?”  (This fact was known prior to the incident).

Which of the two parties wrote the introduction to Cecil Brown’s recently published book titled, “The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger”?

Which of the two parties has made a small fortune compiling histories centered on racial bias and bigotry?

What did the CPD have to gain by answering a 911 call which the law requires them to do?

The more I’ve learned about the case the more I’m convinced that opportunism and elitism, or ‘class’ as Mr. Alterman asserts, were the dominant contributors to the outcome.

On the issue of racism, when Professor Gates called Officer Crowley a racist, the officer’s unfortunate but accurate response should have been, “Tu Quoque.”


Harry Herget

Jonesboro, AR