July 31st, 2009
11:15 AM ET

A toast to beer diplomacy

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/30/harvard.arrest.beers/art.beer.summit.afp.gi.jpg" caption="Sgt. James Crowley and professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. sit down with the president and vice president Thursday."]

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

For the last two weeks, Americans have been divided into two feuding camps: "Team Gates" and "Team Crowley." But after Thursday, those terms seem antiquated.

As everyone knows, on July 16, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested by Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department. Gates was charged with "loud and tumultuous behavior in a public place."

Thursday night, Crowley and Gates shared a beer with President Obama, who had earlier acted clumsily when he said the Cambridge Police had "acted stupidly." Once it became clear that Crowley didn't fit the caricature of a racist cop - even teaching police academy cadets how to avoid racial profiling - Obama backed off those remarks and invited the parties to the White House for some brews.

Peanuts and pretzels were served in silver bowls, but humble pie would also have been appropriate - for Obama and for Gates. Ironically, both of these learned men have talked about how this incident should be a teaching moment.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Frank

    The Question I would like to ask that no one is considering is! What dose Professor Gates criminal record looks like?

    In Prince Georges County Maryland, at a time when there was 1 Black police that I knew of on the police force. Where our family was one of many who moved over the district line of Washington DC to what at the time was considered the suburbs. The Police harassed and profiled us on a regular basis and in doing so I was detained by them several times and perceived to be a drug dealer. I decided to leave the area after completing Electronics School and moved to California to peruse my technical career. I had become a model citizen for more that 20 years. I was laid off after 26 years of service during the economic recession. I move to Houston TX, to peruse a new career. It was when I attempted to acquire an insurance license that the results of police profiling 30 years ago came back to hunt me. A finger print card to the FBI for a background check showed I had a record for every time the police had detained me.
    The car my friends and I were in was stopped for no reason that was mentioned, the police took us to the station finger printed us and took mug shoots and then had our parent come to get us. Apparently because I was received in the station I now had a police record without any disposition.
    This blemish on my record is now telling perspective employers that I have a criminal background and is costing me job opportunities. I am working very hard to get the charges taken off or at least get a letter of resolve to clear my name after 30 years.

    So I ask what dose Professor Gates record now look like because he was taken to the station finger printed, mugged shoot and released the same as I was.

    July 31, 2009 at 11:39 pm |
  2. RLWellman

    Those of you that think the President can't be racist, why? Because he is black? Do you think only white people can be racist? That's a racist comment.

    Did either President Obama or professor Gates say their were sorry. No! Not according to officer Crowley. What's to be learned from this situation? If you pick on one of the President's friends, you will be ridiculed by him. You will be told you are acting stupidly? Is this the lesson learned?

    July 31, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  3. Mmmm Beer

    Does anyone know what kind of beer they had? That's all I really care about...

    July 31, 2009 at 3:19 pm |