Ebony And Ivy League (Updated 7/30/09)

Professor Gates and Officer Crowley continue to argue at White House

Professor Gates and Officer Crowley continue to argue at White House

We all know the story by now. In short, last week, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested at his home by Cambridge, MA police officer, James Crowley on a charge of disorderly conduct. The events leading to the arrest were as follows.

Gates was attempting to enter his home after having just returned from an oversea business engagement. His front door was jammed and therefore, he and his driver were physically attempting to force the door open. At that time, a passerby noticed the situation, thought that perhaps she was witnessing a break-in, and consequently dialed 911 to report what she saw. Officer Crowley arrived at the scene after Gates had gained entrance to his home and questioned him as to his identity. An argument ensued between Gates and the officer during which Gates allegedly inter alia accused the officer of racial profiling and may have insulted the officer before providing identification proving he resided at the home. Despite providing said identification, Gates was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. The next morning, the charges were dropped by the Middlesex County District Attorney.

The story immediately attracted news coverage in the Boston, MA area. Later, it attracted national news coverage when President Barack Obama (an acquaintance of Henry Gates) stated during a press conference that he thought (admittedly without knowing all of the facts) that the police officer, “acted stupidly.”

In typical anti-Obama Republican fashion, the right wing initiated an all out assault on the President by means of insinuating that he is either anti-law enforcement, racist or both. Obama did not take the bait. Instead, he has described the initial incident as well as the follow-up coverage and debate as a “teaching moment” from which we may learn how to better deal with race relations. To that end, he invited Professor Gates and Officer Crowley to the White House for a beer and an opportunity to discuss and hopefully defuse the situation on July 29th. We will keep you posted on the outcome of said meeting.

Although quite interested in the story, this humble scribe elected not to comment because of the story’s initial lack of national relevance. Once the reich wing media (i.e. Limbaugh, Beck etc.) began distorting the story as an unwarranted assault on law enforcement however, I now feel compelled to express my opinion.

I do not believe that Officer Crowley is a racist. I also do not believe that Professor Gates should have been arrested for disorderly conduct while lawfully at his home and after having produced identification proving so. That being said, I do believe that Professor Gates over-reacted by means of alleging that he was a victim of racial profiling and by directing insulting language at the officer when questioned as to his right to be in the home. I also believe, however, that Officer Crowley over-reacted to the verbal barrage by means of conducting an illegal arrest after it was proven that Gates had the right to be in the home. The District Attorney apparently agrees because the charges were immediately dropped.

In my opinion officer Crowley’s indiscretion was worse however, because he allowed his position of authority to be influenced by his personal feelings, rather than the law. This resulted in the full force of governmental police arrest power being initiated against an innocent man primarily because the innocent man said things to the officer which may have insulted him or hurt his feelings. This is not the way the law was intended to work. In short, Officer Crowley should have had thicker skin, accepted the insult without retaliation and exited Mr. Gates’ home. His failure to have done so may eventually lead to the taxpayers of Cambridge, MA being held responsible for the payment of legal damages to Professor Gates as the result of what a court of law may determine to be an illegal arrest.

I sincerely hope that it does not come to that. I hope that after having shared a beer or three at the White House and discussing the matter, the two reasonable men may put their differences aside and carry on without the need for protracted litigation and the acrimony and media attention that come therewith.

UPDATE 07/30/09

More disturbing news in Massachusetts today. Boston Police Officer, Justin Barrett has been placed on leave, stripped of his badge and gun, and is in the process of having his job terminated as the result of sending a racial slur laden email to many people as well as the Boston Globe. Barrett, also a member of the National Guard, used the term, “banana-eating jungle monkey” four times in the email communication, three times in reference to Professor Henry Louis Gates and once in reference to a Boston Globe columnist that wrote about the racially charged Gates/Crowley controversy.

Oh, and the Red Sox also lost again last night.

OK, now it is time for a fun song parody. Please enjoy.

Ebony and Ivory song link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmALA8miQY8


(sung to the Paul McCartney song “Ebony And Ivory”)

Ebony and Ivy League got a dose of police brutality
Side by side Gates and Crowley were heard, oh Lord, arguing
They both earned fifteen minutes of shame, that honky and bro
But you can’t arrest just everyone,
We learn to live
And to forgive,
Each other even when we get jived, at home while inside

Ebony and Ivy League facing Cambridge Police brutality
Side by side Gates and Crowley were heard, oh Lord, arguing

(musical interlude)

Ebony, Ivy League, Cambridge Police brutality
Ebony, Ivy League, ooh

We all know, Gates called Crowley a name inside of his home
But you can’t arrest just everyone
Where they do live
You should forgive,
Another even when you get jived, your sure to survive

Ebony and Ivy League facing Cambridge Police brutality
Side by side Gates and Crowley were heard, oh Lord, arguing

Ebony, Ivy League, Cambridge Police brutality
Ebony, Ivy League, Cambridge Police brutality
Ebony, Ivy League, Cambridge Police brutality
(repeat and fade)

Posted on July 29, 2009, in Republican, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Teachable moment

    Although it’s not illegal to be obnoxious in your own house, it’s clear that both parties over-reacted. Given the over-reaction of the media, we will, hopefully, put this sordid episode to rest with the help of one or three cold ones.

    The lesson? This would never have happened in Australia!

  2. I’ve delighted in reading your song parodies for months, and just wanted to say that I think you have a real gift. You could write for a group like The Capitol Steps or something!

    In any case, thanks for this one and all the other brilliant lyrics you’ve regaled us with.

    Sincerely, and I mean it.

  3. Well argued about the whole brouhaha.

    This song was hilarious, and Big Pete’s link was perfect.

    I’m voting for you to compile a book, with a CD in the pocket, of the original songs, plus your songs.

  4. Lemme talk with my lawyer and marketing buddies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: