On the Dish, Conor posts the following from a reader, who argues Gatesgate will wake-up white America to black victimization:
White Americans don’t necessarily relate to the young men who are arrested for driving while black, walking while black, just being in the wrong place at the wrong time while black. You can’t convince white Americans that the law is biased against blacks because whites believe (without necessarily admitting it to themselves) that young black men get arrested so disproportionately and go to prison more often because they deserve to.
And by whites, I don’t mean just Neanderthals. I mean most of the people you will ever run into. They assume that black men are more disposed to crime and so they don’t have to pay attention when you or Radley Balko or someone else points out how many have been railroaded.
This is patently absurd. However much sympathy Gates deserves — and I think he deserves some — there should be little question that he’ ended up in jail primarily because of his own belligerence and assumption that Sgt. Crowley was a racist.* As Apollo points out, that conclusion is based as much on Gates’ own comments about the incident as Crowley’s police report.
Contra Conor’s reader, the Gates case is a terrible example of the kind of police abuse that Radley Balko has brought to light, especially those with a racial angle. What pains me about this is that the next time Radley writes about something genuinely horrific, a lot of people are going to roll their eyes and assume it’s just another story about a whining black guy with a chip on his shoulder. Cory Maye deserves better.
* I’m more than willing to consider that Crowley’s behavoir was less than exemplary and I confess I’m sketpical as to whether or not Gates should have been arrested.