Friday, July 24, 2009

Another discussion on race

Glad to see we’ve resolved all our differences about race in this country.

Yeah, right.

I wrote about this last week in my print column. I indicated I was somewhat taken aback at the tone of the comments that were being posted on our Web site. The fact of the matter is, too many of them were little more than racist drivel. We can delete those we find objectionable. That usually infuriates the commenters, who accuse us of being censors, Nazis or worse. Tough.

They are dealing with a similar situation in Philadelphia, where members of the Guardian Civic League representing black police officers sued a Web site that they alleged was littered with racist comments, some of them posted by other officers. This was men and women in blue talking blue.

Earlier this week the group racheted up the pressure, seeking an injunction to ban officers from using the site while on duty and to have the site shut down.

It appears they got their wish. It looks like the lights have been turned out on the site, domelights.com. The site currently is displaying a message that says, “Until further notice, all services have been suspended.” The site is not an official city site, but it is believed to be administered by a city police sergeant. It is popular with city police officers.

The site may be shut down, but the ripple effects are still being felt.

The president of the Guardian Civic League now has been the target of threats. Rochelle Bilal now has her own security detail while the threats are being investigated.

We’ve elected a black president, but we still struggle when it comes to race.

Speaking of President Obama, he has his own race issues. Instead of being knee-deep in the discussion about health care, instead he’s talking about the arrest of a distinguished black Harvard professor.

Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. wound up in handcuffs last week after an officer arrived at his home responding to a report of a burglary. Gates and his limo driver, both black, were trying to force open his front door, which was jammed. A neighbor apparently called it in as a possible break-in.

When the officer arrived, Gates was already inside his house. He showed his Harvard ID and driver’s license as proof of residency.

He did not obey the officer’s order to step outside. Words were exchanged, became heated, and Gates wound up being ushered away in handcuffs, charged with disorderly conduct.

Now the nation is discussing the way black men are treated, and whether or not there is an assumption of guilt, as opposed to a constitutional right to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Then President Obama threw a little gas on the fire during his nationally televised, prime time press conference the other night when he described the Cambridge police as “acting stupidly.”

Probably not the best choice of words.

The officer is something of an expert on racial profiling, so much so that he was hand-picked by his black boss to instruct recruits on how to avoid just such labels.

His friends and fellow officers – black and white – are standing behind him.

For his part, Obama seems a bit taken aback by the controversy, and has moved to temper his remarks.

I don’t know why he would be surprised. This is about race.

We’ve elected a black man commander-in-chief. That does not mean we’ve solved the race issue in this country.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You only leave comments that are OK on YOUR moral barometer, so you do censor, Phil.

July 26, 2009 at 10:44 AM 
Blogger Sean said...

What exactly is "racist drivel"? Any comments I've ever written were phrased more intelligently than most of the drivel wrtten by your sorry reporters.

July 26, 2009 at 1:55 PM 

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