The Race Dialogue We Won't Have
By Jonathan Capehart
Sunday, July 26, 2009
This is what is likely to come of the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his home by a white police officer: nothing.
The July 16 arrest of the African American scholar by a Cambridge, Mass., police officer looks a little more complicated and a lot more nuanced today than it did when the story broke on Monday. But it has sparked another conversation on race in America that, I suspect, will end as quickly as it began, with no clearer understanding of the roots of the racial reactions that fueled it. I'll explain why in a minute.
We've made enormous strides in the 46 years since the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. expounded on a dream of racial equality. America in 1963 envisioned neither a prominent, wealthy and powerful black professor at Harvard nor a black president of the United States.
"I am standing here as testimony to the progress that's been made," President Obama said at the end of his news conference Wednesday night when asked about the confrontation in Cambridge. But then he added, "And yet the fact of the matter is, is that, you know, [race] still haunts us." It certainly haunted Obama.
Two days after the president said he thought the police "acted stupidly" in the Gates affair, he stood in the White House briefing room to ask everyone -- himself included -- to "take a step back" from the heated rhetoric from all sides. He acknowledged that he "could have calibrated those words differently" and that the controversy shows that "these are issues that still very sensitive here in America."..link to complete article