Race, Beer and an Unresolved Nation

Illustration for article titled Race, Beer and an Unresolved Nation

It's official.  Skip Gates wants to move on from the drama of last week's arrest.  And honestly, so do I.  Gates is thankful for Obama's controversial support, but he realizes it's not about him.  It's about something much larger.  Black men under siege.  Or for many, the overwrought illusion that black men are under siege.  Gates wants to use this paramount window of opportunity to film a documentary on the history of racial profiling in this country.  Good fricking idea. He can start with my family's experience as free people of color in Kentucky and the crazy they had to endure on a daily.  [And I have the documents to prove it].


Look, I don't blame Skip for wanting to move on.  All of this racial profiling has the country in a huff.  And I certainly don't want to continue to make the country uneasy with the truth about white privilege and socio-economic imbalance and the racial profiling they produce.  Furthermore, there has been so much crazy spewing all through cyberland I'm two gags from nauseous.  From the hundreds of racist comments on TheRoot to articles written by Phantom Negro who suggests the Gates' incident was nothing more than academic egomania; the diseased symptoms of a country unwilling to admit its fundamental flaw are amok.

And let me jump on Phantom Negro for a quick minute.  Phantom Negro is an alleged Ivy League academic who refused to use his real name because he believes Gates has the power to curtail his Ivy career.  So now, of course, Gates will be "profiling" every black Ivy man in academia looking for the real Phantom Negro.  But even if Gates was an academic egomaniac who didn't like the condescending tone of a white officer because, well, he was HNIC at Harvard, that doesn't make him immune from racial profiling or reacting to what he believed to be profiling.  Note to Phantom Negro and others like him/her:  Profiling isn't personality-specific; it's just interested in Black.

At the end of the day, I'm more peeved with Obama's actions than anything. First, he admited racial profiling is an issue. Then he said he didn't know if race played into Gates' arrest. Then he said Gates may have overreacted during the arrest. Then he asked Gates and Sgt. Crowley to come to the White House for a beer and talk things over.  Basically, IMHO, Obama poured beer on racial profiling and made it sound as important as who won this year's NBA Championship. Now if Obama said come to the White House to pour a 40 Ounce for all the Old G's who ever suffered from racial profiling, well, then that's some progress.

I'm sure we'll come back to the issue again. For now, I'm taking a respite. The crazy has worn me out.

Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.