Let's be clear about something. Most African-Americans do not wake up in the morning looking for racism. Most African-Americans don't begin their days with a shower, a coffee, and then a calculated plan to seek out racist activity. It usually comes to us. Packaged in institutional and historical bravado or endearing quietness. We're the ones who are driving peacefully and then discover cops pulling us over. We're the ones who walk into stores and notice store security monitoring our every move. We're the ones who open our front doors and are asked to step outside without introduction or reason. For the record: most African-Americans wake up and expect to have a stress-free, productive, and hopefully racist-free day.
With that said, I'm happy to hear Obama broke through his normal race-free stance and said something about Dr. Henry Louis Gates' arrest. I'm even happier that he tagged the Cambridge Police's reaction as stupid. I'm also encouraged that while in Illinois Obama introduced a bill that demanded the Illinois police to record race and gender in their arrests. The bill passed and makes it easier to determine the frequency of profiling. However, I'm a little miffed that Obama claims his absence from the Cambridge arrest makes it difficult to determine how much race played into the Gates' incident. Come on! Is the president under sleep deprivation? In an interview with TheRoot's Dayo Olopade, Dr. Gates was very clear about the racist moment before his arrest. He said and I quote: "…he [the officer] demanded that I step out on the porch, and I don’t think he would have done that if I was a white person." But that's the problem I guess. It's the subtly that only Black people recognize. It's that underlying condescension and accusation that can only be detected by some "seventh-sense" in the souls of Black folk. It's that inherent something that often makes African-Americans appear paranoid or fanatical.
I don't know. I’m happy Obama came, at least, half-way in his statement about Gates’ arrest and the profiling issue. Maybe the only way to clearly determine racial profiling or racism is to implant some sort of futuristic racist device under the skin of all Americans that alerts the president when something is truly and without a doubt, racist. There I go with the Sci-Fi solutions again. Oh well. Maybe in the Sci-Fi future can we all truly be free.
Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.