Curses on fatster, who induced me to look at this awful Lurita Doan op-ed. In it, she tells a very interesting story about her father, and then uses it to claim she’s got special insight on the Gates scandal.
The story about her father (involving racism in intercollegiate sports) is actually pretty interesting. But here’s the sum total of her "lessons" for Gates.
His first reaction was to demand preferential treatment, see himself as a victim and see his arrest as "the way a black man is treated in America." The message he has sent is that what happened to him was purely about race, when we’re far beyond that.
If he looked around, he would discover that black men and women can and do compete equally at Harvard, and need no special protection, class or distinction.
Look, until I learned Crowley apparently incorrectly claimed on the arrest report that the neighbor who called in the report said two black men were breaking into Gates’ house (at least in her 911 call she described them simply as men), I wasn’t sure this was about race either. I thought it was about abuse of power. But, as it turns out, it’s about race and abuse of power.
But I really challenge anyone to explain WTF Doan means when she claims Gates’ "first reaction was to demand preferential treatment." What special treatment? The special treatment of the ability to enter his own home without getting arrested? The special treatment of being released when the Cambridge police realized it was an improper arrest? What special treatment, Lurita?
Moreover, where does Doan get off lecturing Gates–who came to Harvard in 1991 at a time when he was already a recognized leader in the field of English, to say nothing of African-American Studies–about whether or not black men can compete at Harvard? Gates is, in his field, a tremendously accomplished figure, white, black, red or purple. Yet Doan thinks she needs to lecture Gates about whether he can compete at Harvard?
The issue, which the idiotic Doan appears to miss, has nothing to do with what happens to Gates at Harvard (which makes her use of her father’s history moot). Rather, it’s what happens when he leaves the campus and tries to enter his own home.