Scholar's Arrest: How Far Has Equality Come?

One of America's most prominent African-American scholars was arrested last week after an incident with police.

Henry Louis Gates had arrived home from a trip abroad to find the front door to his Cambridge, Mass. house stuck shut. Entering his home from the back door, he managed to force the door open with the help of a car service driver. Gates was on the phone with the Harvard leasing office when a white police sergeant arrived. Stories differ as to what exactly happened next, but the end result was that Gates was charged with disorderly conduct after repeatedly demanding the sergeant's name and badge number. The charges were later dropped.

Gates is a Harvard professor, PBS documentarian, acclaimed historian, recipient of a MacArthur "genius grant" and Summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale.

My question is this: Would Gates have been arrested if he had been all of the afforementioned and white? If the answer is a resounding yes, that's one thing. But if the answer is no, then maybe, just maybe, we ought to reexamine how far we've come over the last few decades.

Equality doesn't mean treated better than. Women shouldn't have more rights than men, blacks shouldn't be treated better than whites, the GBLT community shouldn't be seen as needing more rights than straights. The flip side is that women, blacks and the GBLT community shouldn't have less rights, either.

Try this: how about treating each other as human. Now there's a thought for you.


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The information on Mr. Gates' arrest came from MSNBC and can be found at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32077998/ns/us_news-race_and_ethnicity/?GT1=43001.

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