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Published:July 21st, 2009 12:44 EST

The Arrest Of Henry Louis Gates Jr.: Disturbing Example Of Racism

By Robert Paul Reyes

At long last Martin Luther`s King dream has come to fruition, an African American sits behind the desk at the Oval Office, and there`s no longer a need for civil rights organizations like the NAACP.

Yeah Right! Even President Barack Obama might have trouble hailing a cab in New York City if he were traveling incognito. I`ll be the first one to admit that we`ve come a long way towards achieving racial equality, but racism is still firmly entrenched in our society.

Witness the troubling incident involving Henry Louis Gates a literary critic, Harvard University scholar, educator, writer, editor, and renowned intellectual. This African American Renaissance Man was arrested at his own home by cops responding to a report of a break-in.

"Henry Louis Gates Jr. had forced his way through the front door of his home because it was jammed, his lawyer said Monday.

Cambridge police say they responded to the well-maintained two-story home near campus after a woman reported seeing `two black males with backpacks on the porch,` with one `wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry.`

Gates said he turned over his driver`s license and Harvard ID - both with his photos - and repeatedly asked for the name and badge number of the officer, who refused. He said he then followed the officer as he left his house=2 0onto his front porch, where he was handcuffed in front of other officers." The Associated Press/MELISSA TRUJILLO

The professor wasn`t wearing a backpack, which would have clashed with his usual impeccable attire. He furnished two photo ID`s, but all the cops saw was a black man in a place where he didn`t belong: An upper-middle class neighborhood.

This is a clear case of racial profiling, all the officers saw was the color black, and that makes this minority columnist see red. Gates is a frail 58-year-old man recovering from an illness -- he didn`t fit the profile of a burglar trying to break down a door.

Once Gates furnished ID proving he was the legal resident of the home he was suspected of trying to break into, the cops should have apologized and left him alone.

Gates was named by by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential Americans in 1997, but even the most gifted and accomplished African Americans run the risk of being treated as criminals by the cops.