How Henry Louis Gates Shut Down Obama’s Racial Voice

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Scholarship in Action


I remember the summer of 2009 when I received the very first phone call from CNN about a black professor at Harvard University who’d been arrested on his front porch. The professor’s name was Henry Louis Gates, a prominent black scholar in the field of African American studies. Gates had been taken away in handcuffs by an officer named James Crowley, a man who apparently didn’t understand the political consequences of inconveniencing important Harvard professors.

As a black public scholar myself and son of a police officer, I felt obligated to try to understand both sides of the situation. Being close to police officers all my life, I know that officers can be incredibly abusive and disrespectful. I almost immediately saw the case of Professor Gates to be more of a civil liberties issue than one of racial profiling. One cannot presume that every arrest of a black man is the result of racism. In the case of Gates, I found it confusing that he wanted to rally the troops of racial justice, but has almost never spoken out publicly in favor of other black men who’ve been shot by police or experienced more serious incidents in the past.


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Filed under African Americans

5 responses to “How Henry Louis Gates Shut Down Obama’s Racial Voice

  1. We are going to have to understand that we are dealing with the slickest group of world conquerors since maybe.. Alexander the Great!

    The HL Gates, incident is starting to look more like a staged event that was meant to do exactly what it achieved. The people who conspire against the American public have the best and top-of-the-class specialists to help them manipulate the minds and social consciousness of our society.

    Many would say that we shouldn’t give the Anglo-Elite too much credit for the things that are happening to us and to those around the world. I beg to differ, for when their wealth and power is boundless and they have the most brilliant minds in the world at their disposable…anything is possible!

    In a chess game it is prudent to be able to see your moves five or so times ahead of your opponent. On the world chessboard it appears that our Anglo-Elite rulers have planned generations ahead of the game!

    Go back and study how Mr. Obama’s life came to be, who his father was, who his mother was, how they conceived a child, how the father after doing is part left the mother, how the mother then continued to move around thereby giving her child a better world view, and how his education, and possible guided direction, led up to his advances in politics. Now as a guided and placed politician he is in position to do what he was “developed, guided, and nourished” to do! (Serve the Anglo-Elite in their conquest of the African/Middle-East world among other things). Obama has no true ties to ‘African-American’ Slavery which is what they were aiming for in one case.

    Just think about that, and chew on it for awhile. Can you put the pieces to the puzzle in there proper places? Remember that with the right geniuses working with them it is easy to accomplish many things that a common mind couldn’t even comprehend.

    By creating the mentality of disrespect and disbelief by over-blowing the words(“conspiracy theory”). They make lite of well thought out, true, and malicious conspiracies.

  2. Pollard

    I think H.L. Gates lost an opportunity to lead by example. When the Police first attempted to arest him he should have considered that not all people have the resources nor the connections he has. Not only should he have considered himself but the young Black Men all over the country by teaching a lesson of caution that perhaps black youth knew better than him. That lesson is the difference between the average Black man and a black Phd to a racist, is one is called nigger, and the other doctor nigger. There is nothing to distinguish one from another to some whites. It was sad because even being mediated by the President Obama, Dr. Gates still got no aplogy and very little if any respect. If having a doctoriate degree from a “prestigious University as well as teaching at one, in addition to having the President of the United States of America as a friend doesn’t help your cause, then what recourse does the average black man have? Please forgive any errors I might have…I don’t have an advance degree.

  3. Jacqueline H. Ragan

    Dr. Gates disrespected a man in uniform who thought he had a reason to arrest him. It seems he was arrogant, bold, and didn’t explain to an authority figure. If police can’t try to do their jobs, how can safety be accomplished. I feel it was a misunderstanding brought on by Professor Gates who should have been more understanding of the situation. It’s old now and some details are lost.

    Why it is still being treated as a racist event should be understood as one person with a magnitude of education being against an authority figure. If the participants both had been White or both Black, perhaps it wouldn’t be called a racist situation but disrespect for authority.



    I hear you. But, on the other hand, how you explain conservative Republican race traitors like ClarenceThomas and Condoleeza Rice who ignore blacks for the most part and are steeped in the horrid slavery and Jim Crow ethos of the deep south?

  5. Ms. Woods

    The police officer disrespected Dr. Gates when he wouldn’t listen to him proclaiming to be the owner of the home! That is where the racism began. All the officer had to do was verify who Dr. Gates was and not be so quick to handcuff and arrest him. Had he been white everyone, but white people would know how that senario would have went down. This officer assumed this “black” man couldn’t possibly be the owner of this home in that neighborhood……..ASSUMING!

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