Revolution #172, August 9, 2009

Cheers to Bob Herbert

Cheers to New York Times columnist Bob Herbert for his July 31 piece, “Anger Has Its Place,” about the controversy around the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

“The charge:” writes Herbert, was “angry while black.”

And Herbert points out that yelling at a cop “is not an offense for which you are supposed to be arrested.”

Herbert writes: “[S]o far exactly the wrong lessons are being drawn from [the Gates arrest]—especially for black people. The message that has gone out to the public is that powerful African-American leaders like Mr. Gates and President Obama will be very publicly slapped down for speaking up and speaking out about police misbehavior, and that the proper response if you think you are being unfairly targeted by the police because of your race is to chill.

“I have nothing but contempt for that message.”

And Herbert writes, “[T]he most important lesson to be drawn from this case” is that “Black people are constantly being stopped, searched, harassed, publicly humiliated, assaulted, arrested and sometimes killed by police officers in this country for no good reason.”

Journalists, academics, intellectuals, and others of all nationalities should learn from Bob Herbert’s example—take a firm stand and speak out in a strong voice against the outrageous, racist arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and the systematic oppression of Black people in America.

Herbert’s column and readers’ comments are online at

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