This afternoon, President Obama, Sgt. James Crowley, and Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. will sit down at the White House to “clear the air.” The President’s objective is to bring the parties together and through their personal interaction move the national dialogue on race forward. In the President’s “Teachable Moment” what should we learn? We should learn how one’s perceptions can color their reality. We should also learn the danger of trying to contort a non-race based issue into a dialog or valuable lesson on race.
In all of the accounts of Dr. Gates’ arrest there has never been any indication that Sgt. Crowley used racial slurs, epithets, gestures or any other means to inject “race” into the arrest. Even Dr. Gates’ attorney, Charles Ogletree, when asked about racial profiling during a CNN interview said, “I’ve never said anything about racial profiling; you’ve never heard those words from me, it’s a case of bad judgment…we won’t know about the race element until all of the facts are in.”