Gates Arrest a 'Battle of Egos'

Don't confuse it with poor blacks' struggle against racism, classism
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 23, 2009 8:58 AM CDT
Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley listens to questions from members of the media at his home in Natick, Mass., Wednesday, July 22, 2009.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
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(Newser) – Racial profiling may have played a role in the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr., but fellow black scholar Boyce Watkins says there's no reason to feel sorry for Gates. At heart, the scene was likely “a battle of two egos,” Watkins writes in the Grio. “What is abundantly clear is that this is NOT the case of a poor black male being exploited by the racist, classist power structure.”

This was a showdown between a Harvard professor who saw a cop as beneath him, and a policeman who apparently thought he could treat a black professor differently from a white one. “The idea that he is somehow the victim of the same racism that sends poor black men to prison simply doesn't fly with me,” Watkins writes. “Gates should be careful about appearing to exploit the plight of black men across America to win his battle of egos with the Cambridge Police Department.”