It is late at night. A guy in jeans and a shirt is trying to force open the door of a nice house two blocks away from the campus of Harvard University. It seems like the lock has been broken, so he pushes the door and breaks in. As he is catching his breath, he hears someone say, “freeze!”
Henry Skip Gates turns around and sees three policemen holding their guns. When Skip says it is his house and tells them to go away, they point their guns at him. They handcuff him and take him into police custody while he explains, “you have no idea who you’re messing with, I am a professor at Harvard, check my I.D.”
The 58 year old man was released after his first deposition was taken at the police station. This is just one more racist incident that took place next to the campus of the world famous Harvard University. Henry Skip is one of the top professors in African-American history at Harvard University. When he returned from a conference in China, he had trouble opening the door of his house. Someone who lives in this primarily white neighborhood reported the incident to the police as a robbery, and the police took the professor into custody even after inspecting his identification.
Before black unions even had a chance to react, President Obama stood up for the professor and started a new discussion. “Well, I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. Now, I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts what role race played in that, but I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry. Number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. And that's just a fact.”
When released, the professor complained, "there are over a million black people in prisons. Now I understand better what they go through." He said he would not open a case against the police if they apologized for their misconduct.
However, Officer Crawley defended his actions. “I did what needed to be done. I will not apologize to Skip or President Obama." When all police stations across the country stated their support for Officer Crawley, Obama said he'd made a mistake. Obama, after apologizing to the police, invited Officer Crawley and Professor Gates to have drinks together.
Black journalist Errol Louis commented on the incident. "Professor Gates learned something that I knew very well in Brooklyn. My police dad and brother used to tell me to stay away from armed policemen at the scene of a ‘so-called’ robbery. We are lucky that this hasn’t turned out to be like the case of Amadou Diallo." Amadou Diallo was shot dead by the police while entering his own apartment.
As President Obama pointed out, racism is still an issue in the country. The chance of finding a job for white people is 80 percent higher than for black or Hispanic people. After all these years, different races in U.S. have yet to integrate. They still tend to live in neighborhoods only with other people like them.