Thursday, July 30, 2009

Haiku 073009

ducks crossing
I push the button
to cross

Recently, we read the following:

Washington Post: “Obama Voices Regret to Policeman” by Michael A. Fletcher and Michael D. Shear

“President Obama, attempting to quell a mushrooming racial controversy that threatened to eclipse his top domestic initiative, expressed regret Friday for saying that police ‘acted stupidly’ by arresting black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his home near Harvard University.

“Making a surprise appearance before reporters at the White House, Obama said that he had unwittingly fanned smoldering racial resentment with his response to a question at a news conference Wednesday night. The president said he conveyed that sentiment in a five-minute telephone call to Sgt. James Crowley, the police officer who arrested Gates after being called to the Harvard professor's home to check out a suspected burglary…

“The president said he continues to think the arrest was an ‘overreaction’ by the officer, but he said Gates ‘probably overreacted as well.’

" ‘My sense is you've got two good people in a circumstance in which neither of them were able to resolve the incident in the way that it should have been resolved,’ Obama said, adding that he hoped the controversy would become a ‘teachable moment’ for improving racial understanding…

“From the moment the word ‘stupidly’ slipped through Obama's lips Wednesday night, debate over Gates's arrest became a polarizing national issue. Obama's top advisers said the president quickly became aware that his words had been received in a way he had not intended…”

And we thought:

… There’s the sub-culture of law enforcement, including its long history of racial profiling. And there’s the sub-culture of minorities, including their long history of being treated as second-class citizens. These sub-cultures -- characterized by different ways of thinking and different ways of doing things -- are part of America’s heritage of distrust.

Despite its election of the first black president, the U. S. isn't beyond race yet. One cannot simply wish away this aspect of American culture and the enmities it engenders. The roots of this heritage are much too deep.

In decades to come, one may reasonably expect that “race-related” stories will continue to be headline news. There will always be people who'll bleed these stories to death -- for their own ends. But, no doubt, there will be people in increasingly greater numbers to moderate this nation’s cultural differences. Multicultural peace is not a pipe dream …

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