Statement from Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
“It was very kind of the President to phone me today. Vernon Jordan is
absolutely correct: my unfortunate experience will only have a larger
meaning if we can all use this to diminish racial profiling and to
enhance fairness and equity in the criminal justice system for poor
people and for people of color.
And to that end, I look forward to
studying the history of racial profiling in a new documentary for PBS.
I told the President that my principal regret was that all of the
attention paid to his deeply supportive remarks during his press
conference had distracted attention from his health care initiative. I
am pleased that he, too, is eager to use my experience as a teaching
moment, and if meeting Sgt. [James] Crowley for a beer with the President will
further that end, then I would be happy to oblige.
After all, I first
proposed that Sgt. Crowley and I meet as early as last Monday. If my
experience leads to the lessening of the occurrence of racial profiling,
then I would find that enormously gratifying. Because, in the end, this
is not about me at all; it is about the creation of a society in which
‘equal justice before law’ is a lived reality.”
Henry Louis Gates Jr. is editor in chief of The Root.