I am extremely familiar with the work of Professor Henry Lois Gates jr and have the greatest regard for his scholarship and academic attainments. Having said that, I must however say, that he comes off very poorly in the incident that is causing such an uproar all over the world. Professor Gates was known to President Obama right from his Harvard days and so he can be forgiven for "wading in" where mightier hearts fear to tread.
Dr Henry Lous Gates front door was stuck and he tried to enter from the back door. Anybody would have become suspicious about a person trying to enter through the back door in the wee hours of the morning. The Police serjent stopped by to check and from all accounts it was Dr Gates who got all defensive and made it a "race" issue by saying that he will not stand before the searjents mama's house or words to that effect. Plantation rhetoric has no place in this day and age and Professor Gates more than any one else should have known. It was Professor Gates who got extremely agitated over the issue and seems to have been curt to the policwe officer. A cordial introduction and identification would have settled the matter, but Professor Gates viewed the whole affir through the prism of race. A white police officer versus a "black man". I think there was no hint of racial antagonism in that episode.
President Obama, does not weigh in on the affirs of the police operationg at the level of a municipality. He needed not have reacted to the arrest and subsequent release in a manner that hinted that the police was acting out of turn, or in a "stupid" manner.
The police officer was withion his right to reasonably infer that a break-in was taking place and he was within his rights to stop and question Professor Gates. He wcould have just told the officer that he was living there and that the marshall of Harvard University can be contacted for indentification, if necessary. The matter would have ended there.
Treating every abrasive encounter between a while law enforcment officer and an Arfican- American as a racist encounter will not wash, especial;ly now that BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA is the President of the U S of A.