• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Beer Will Not Solve This

Beer solves a lot of things. This is not one.

I don’t live that far from Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr., just outside of Cambridge, Massachusetts.  There are daytime break-ins in homes in my neighborhood from time to time. My wife and I recently encountered a woman in our neighborhood on the street who was very agitated and asked to use my cell phone to call 911 because she thought her apartment building was being broken into. We waited as the police arrived; it turned out to be a false alarm. The robbers were movers for another tenant. The woman was Latino or Black, I’m white, my wife Japanese, the cops Black and white. This sort of anxiety and also ethnic situation is not so unusual in the area.

Anyway I can well understand why a woman in Cambridge would call 911 as she did after hearing from a second woman that two men (she called them “gentlemen”) had tried to get into a house and broken the screen door. Some of the initial commentary on this incident depicted the caller as a white racist but there seems no evidence for that. And I have no idea of how race enters into Sergeant James M. Crowley’s interactions with people.

But this is what really annoys me. The sergeant goes into a man’s house, taking him by surprise, demanding identification. When the man in return demands ID he calls him uncooperative and calls for back-up. When he has the audacity to follow him out of the house he has the backup forces handcuff the professor and take him off  to jail.

I don’t know that this was done deliberately by Crowley to make some sort of point to the world about how people of color or people in general ought to behave towards the police in order to avoid being arrested.  But he is after all part of a culture.

“You don’t argue with a police officer,” Colin Powell told Larry King, commenting on the Gates episode and his own personal history. (“You just suck up,” the general recommends, speaking apparently to any wishing to emulate his own career path, one suck-up after another from the My Lai Massacre cover-up to that amazing UN speech of absolute fabrications justifying the Iraq War in 2003.)

But why not argue, if anyone in this society is supposed to believe it’s a free one? Why should arguing with a cop, or just demanding his name and badge—after he’s walked into your house—get you get you arrested for “disorderly conduct”? Why should he have the right to do that to you—as a Black man or as anybody else—just because he’s a cop?

A cop’s someone supposed to be doing a job protecting the public. Isn’t that the idea? Instead he or she is given impunity to bust people he/she finds personally uppity. This is a system problem.

A couple of beers at the White House is not going solve it. It may be that after seeing the glowing cheeks and smiling faces at the press conference afterwards, and hearing the reconciliatory carefully worded statements made, the thoughtful mind observing this little drama may actually require a few more drinks.

GARY LEUPP is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct Professor of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch’s merciless chronicle of the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial Crusades.

He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu

More articles by:

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 16, 2019
Kiley Blackman
Wildlife Killing Contests are Unethical
Colin Todhunter
Bayer Shareholders: Put Health and Nature First and Stop Funding This Company!
Andrés Castro
Looking Normal in Kew Gardens
October 15, 2019
Victor Grossman
The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later
Raouf Halaby
Kurdish Massacres: One of Britain’s Many Original Sins
Robert Fisk
Trump and Erdogan have Much in Common – and the Kurds will be the Tragic Victims of Their Idiocy
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal in the Levant
Wilma Salgado
Ecuador: Lenin Moreno’s Government Sacrifices the Poor to Satisfy the IMF
Ralph Nader
The Congress Has to Draw the Line
William A. Cohn
The Don Fought the Law…
John W. Whitehead
One Man Against the Monster: John Lennon vs. the Deep State
Lara Merling – Leo Baunach
Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Not Falling Prey to Vultures
Norman Solomon
The More Joe Biden Stumbles, the More Corporate Democrats Freak Out
Jim Britell
The Problem With Partnerships and Roundtables
Howard Lisnoff
More Incitement to Violence by Trump’s Fellow Travelers
Binoy Kampmark
University Woes: the Managerial Class Gets Uppity
Joe Emersberger
Media Smears, Political Persecution Set the Stage for Austerity and the Backlash Against It in Ecuador
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize, But It Takes Two to Make Peace
Wim Laven
Citizens Must Remove Trump From Office
October 14, 2019
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
Class Struggle is Still the Issue
Mike Miller
Global Climate Strike: From Protest To Power?
Patrick Cockburn
As Turkey Prepares to Slice Through Syria, the US has Cleared a New Breeding Ground for Isis
John Feffer
Trump’s Undeclared State of Emergency
Dean Baker
The Economics and Politics of Financial Transactions Taxes and Wealth Taxes
Jonah Raskin
What Evil Empire?
Nino Pagliccia
The Apotheosis of Emperors
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A Passion for Writing
Basav Sen
The Oil Despots
Brett Wilkins
‘No Friend But the Mountains’: A History of US Betrayal of the Kurds
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange: Enema of the State
Scott Owen
Truth, Justice and Life
Thomas Knapp
“The Grid” is the Problem, Not the Solution
Rob Kall
Republicans Are Going to Remove Trump Soon
Cesar Chelala
Lebanon, Dreamland
Weekend Edition
October 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
CounterPunch in Peril?
Anthony DiMaggio
Fake News in Trump’s America
Andrew Levine
Trump’s End Days
Jeffrey St. Clair
High Plains Grifter: the Life and Crimes of George W. Bush
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Fighters Always Feared Trump Would be a Treacherous Ally
Paul Street
On the TrumpenLeft and False Equivalence
Dave Lindorff
Sure Trump is ‘Betraying the Kurds!’ But What’s New about That?
Rob Urie
Democrats Impeach Joe Biden, Fiddle as the Planet Burns
Sam Pizzigati
Inequality is Literally Killing Us
Jill Richardson
What Life on the Margins Feels Like
Mitchell Zimmerman
IMPOTUS: Droit de seigneur at Mar-a-Lago
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail