Monday, July 27, 2009

The Gates Affair

The battle continues for control of the narrative surrounding the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates.

A rightish commentator asks to see all the evidence. This seems reasonable enough to me.

A leftish commentator suggests that the real issue is more one of class than of race, though the interaction term is lurking around too.

Many police officers likely do not assign college professors the same exalted status that professors tend to assign themselves. This is presumably why a lot of universities run their own police departments, which can then be focused on the goals of the university and whose officers can be tutored in the academic hierarchy.

I recall when I was a graduate student at the University of Chicago that the undergraduates organized something called "Nancy Reagan Smoke Dope on Campus Day" on the central quadrangle. The university police duly surrounded the central quadrangle and did a fine job of ensuring that no one from "outside of the area" (as the U of C liked to say) wandered into the student protest, which was otherwise undisturbed by them. Class, indeed.