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Published:July 28th, 2009 20:48 EST
What Does Dr. Gates' Arrest Mean to Us?

What Does Dr. Gates' Arrest Mean to Us?

By SOP newswire2


Recently one of the most recognizable and prominent scholars of our country was arrested. Did he being a Yale graduate and colleague of the President of the United States make him invincible to the police officers that decided to place him in custody?

Here`s what happened. Dr. Henry Louis Gates, a Yale Graduate and Harvard Professor, returned home from a trip to China only to realize that he was locked out of his home. Professor Gates, who walks with a cane, commenced to breaking into his home. While doing so, one of his "neighbors" called the police to have him arrested. Once Officer James Crowley, who many are now referring to as Jim Crow, arrived on the scene and an exchange of words caused Gates to be arrested for disorderly conduct.

Now, I am not here to be a Monday morning quarterback or give legal advice, I am here to do what I do, handle business! One of the huge problems we have in the black community is that we believe that a list of accomplishments will exclude us of from the trappings of racism. It won`t. We cannot assume that a scattered number of well-regarded Blacks across the country can represent the entire group. It won`t. There will still be individuals who view us as downtrodden and lethargic. How do we solve this? We must quit the rhetoric and whining. Dr. Gates mentioned that he is actually 56% white. Obviously, 56% wasn`t evough. Instead, we must be 100% committed, 100% consistent and 100% connected to the issues of our community or we will somehow believe that issues have been resolved.

What happened to Dr. Gates, happens everyday to some hardworking brother in the inner city. How can we now feel that because of his accomplishments that he is suddenly removed from the ills of descendents of the released slaves that suffer harsh criticism, stiff conviction sentences and stereotypes? Others in his shoes would`ve never received an apology from the Mayor of Cambridge and have their charges dropped, surely not so quickly. I am not saying what happened to him is not an outrage. What I am saying is it happens everyday, which means our outrage should exist everyday!

Not saying Dr. Gates is one of them, but many of our accomplished Blacks are actually the cause of the problem. They acquire wisdom from institutions and life, only to take their newfound knowledge and deposit it into communities, industries and businesses that have no interest in building the Black community. They decide to teach at universities that have very few Blacks in attendance, knowing they have the opportunity to teach at any Black school in the country. They move out of the inner city because their new job or new degree makes them feel the occupants of the inner city are not intelligent enough to live around them, instead of staying there to help lift them up.

We graduate more Blacks from colleges than any other time in history, but for the desire of instant success and the avoidance of discomfort, we quickly apply to work at companies that don`t represent us in ownership or in community service. This further widens the achievement and economic gap of Blacks from any other community. Until we band together and decide to build a Black Infrastructure, we can expect Elected Officials, Police Officers, Professors, and Business Owners to view us as second-class citizens or as a group of folks who choose to la behind.

I am not proposing more segregation. I am proposing more appreciation from those who may only understand a black man as what is represented on B.E.T., the News, in the NFL or in the NBA and not as intellectuals. I am an example of the stereotype. As a black man in his 30`s, a university professor, with a list of successful business ventures and books under my belt, I am often spoken to by my peers, seasoned folks, and police officers as if I am involved in criminal activities or have a shady agenda; just because of my demographic. I don`t complain, cry racism or hit the media circuit. I get back to work helping to develop the community I came from so these stereotypes can diminish. To each his own but we must not be so entangled in our own lives that we forget the daily perils that others may encounter. As the saying goes, "we are only as strong as the weakest link". We must work to develop our soldiers consistently, not only when they issues hit close to home.

Dr. Gates has a laundry list of work to his credit that were designed to help Blacks, however as we know, getting in the trenches rather than simply having a book sit on the shelf of a university bookstore is only a piece of the overall strategy. Until we understand that we must build and own beauty businesses, hotels, communications companies, media, automobile manufacturing and more, we can expect to be continuously humiliated and sometimes arrested for what appears to be, us being in the neighborhoods that we do not belong in. Why is this important? It will give us an infrastructure to call home just in case the places that we visit do not welcome us.

Professor Devin