Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid (Unless it’s Red)

I don’t have much, if any, profound commentary to make about the Henry Louis “Skip” Gates arrest. I do, however, in typical form, have a few questions. (Catch up on the incident and see the police report.)

My initial reaction to the fiasco and the discussions the arrest (and subsequent dropped charges) incited was an insipid one. It was kind of like when I read yesterday that Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian broke up … Hmph. Really? Man. Of course the two are incomparable on a scale of social impact, but neither got much of a rise from me. I figured the two would break up eventually, just like I’m aware that people of color, in particular, are often arrested for nothing. Living while black/brown. That’s about all it takes.

This Gates-arrest situation reminds me somewhat of the Oprah Winfrey-Hermes incident a few years back. (The most embarrassing moment in her life, she said then.) Now, I wouldn’t know for sure because I’ve never been in this situation, but there seems to come a point in the lives of people of color who’re privileged enough to have money and/or acclaim where one becomes racially disconnected. (That’s the best way I can think to describe this phenomenon. It’s not that they don’t know they’re not white; it’s more that they become less aware of what they are. There’s a difference.) They seem themselves as “just people” and make the assumption that everyone else does as well. There’s nothing wrong with that in theory. Ideally, we should live in a world where something as surface–pun intended–as race doesn’t matter the slightest when trying to figure out the equation. But we don’t live in an ideal world; we live in this world. And I cannot, for the life of me, understand what reason(s) someone has for being surprised–unless they’re white and have been living in the canister of my upright vacuum cleaner–at the Gates arrest.

When was it exactly that the “shall” was actualized and we “overcame”? When was it the exception and not the rule that cops, broadly speaking, didn’t get drunk off their immediate power but instead were kind, compassionate and rationally thinking beings, even in heated situations? When did Boston, Massachusetts, of all places, and its surrounding areas become the standard bearer in racial reconciliation? And when did everyone start drinking this Post-Race society Kool-Aid? What color is that flavor, by the way? Certainly, it’s not red.

Henry Louis "Skip" Gates Mugshot
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~ by MsInklination on July 28, 2009.

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