A Black and Tan on Tap at the White House

Gates and Crowley to show up for Obama’s pint night.

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Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

If there’s a silver lining to the otherwise cloudy controversy surrounding the arrest of The Root's editor-in-chief, Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr., it’s that when Gates and Crowley meet President Barack Obama at the White House for a beer Thursday, it’ll be the ultimate race-relations role reversal.

Instead of a black emissary like Booker T. Washington visiting Teddy Roosevelt’s White House to burnish the president’s civil rights credentials and represent “the race,” this time around Crowley puts his best foot forward for his race (cops) while two of America’s most esteemed—and decidedly un-street—men of color, look to him for a little street cred.

Now that’s what you call progress.

And to achieve this minor miracle of modern-day race relations apparently all they’ll need are a couple of pints of beer. As those guys from the Guinness TV ads would say: “Brilliant!”

The Recap

If Crowley has a sense of humor, he’ll bring Gates a six pack of Stone Brewing’s Arrogant Bastard Ale with a bow tied around it. Crowley doesn’t sound like much of a racist, but he at least has to ‘fess up: The real beef against Gates was “contempt of cop,” not the made-up “disorderly conduct.”

Dropping the charges wasn’t a favor to Gates, though—it was a favor to the police. They weren’t equipped to handle a black Harvard prof in county lockup who, in the words of Forrest Gump, is “famouser even than Captain Kangaroo.” They weren’t ready for seminars on D block, book signings for fellow inmates or Gates walking the yard with Cutty, Red and Brother Baines in an orange jumpsuit, sporting a giant, hand-carved wooden ankh around his neck inscribed with the words “Big A** Ankh.”

The Takeaway

If Gates has a sense of humor, he’ll bring a six pack of Rogue Brutal Bitter Ale in honor of his favorite “rogue” policeman. Sure, he had every right to fuss Crowley out in his own home, but Skip might also want to be that dude—every crew has one—the guy you hate to roll with to the club because you know you might have to throw fists on a humbug.

The Stupidity