Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Plank @ TNR on Gates and Pres. Obama's Statement

Jason Zengerle at The New Republic distills the aftermath of Dr. Gates interaction with Cambridge police and President Obama's statement.

Race, Power, and the Law

And, while I realize there are all sorts of issues of race tied up in the Gates case, I think that the power dynamics involved are getting short shrift. Even if you're white, any time you have an encounter with a police officer, the officer has the upper hand in terms of power, since he's the guy who has the power to arrest you. After that initial encounter, however, that power dynamic can be reversed--at least if you're sufficiently rich, accomplished, and connected, as Gates is. (If you're not those things, that power dynamic will probably never change.) Which is why, at this point, Gates clearly has the upper hand over Crowley in terms of power. The irony is that Crowley's initial abuse of power has now put him in the position of being largely powerless.

To read the essay click here

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