As far back as I can remember I was offended by this language. But others in my family, in my generation, were not. Many assumed the attitudes and language of our adults and continued these prejudices into their own adulthoods. Some more strongly than others. Some used the "N word." Some used "ditsoon," the Italian pejorative for blacks. In my large extended family, that does include some cops, racial insensitivity was the norm.
I've seen persistent smugness from Gates' arresting officer, Sergeant James Crowley, in his encounters with the press. This supposed expert on racial sensitivity has shown no sensitivity at all. But he does seem pleasantly taken with his fame. And why shouldn't he be? He out-maneuvered the President. He arrested a man for yelling-while-at-home and scored a beer at the White House as reward!
And, of course, there's no chance of an apology. Not from smug Sergeant Crowley!! He's the winner! Here, see for yourselves:
The police unions, the few officers of color who fell meekly behind their blue line, and the many who won't acknowledge their part in perpetuating inequality, made a dreadful error in supporting Crowley's arrest of Gates. This is a win for racism. Rather than narrow the gap of insensitivity, they've expanded the racial divide.
110th Congress: S. 2481Dead
109th Congress: S. 2138Dead
108th Congress: S. 2132Dead
108th Congress: H.R. 3847Dead
107th Congress: S. 989Dead
107th Congress: H.R. 2074Dead
End Racial Profiling legislation is long overdue, yet it will probably languish for many more years because legislators don't Do The Right Thing (love ya, Spike!!). If such legislation did exist, Professor Gates would have more leverage to challenge Sergeant Crowley. But just like single-payer health care, that which levels the playing field is too uncomfortable for Washington to do. Only when We-The-People rise for equality will reforms be enacted. Until that time, law enforcement will retain its power to target certain victims. Corporations will retain their power to target certain victims. Be they the Sergeant Crowleys of America, the Aetnas or the Cignas, inequities will continue until The-People make them end.