Professor Gates’ arrest validates the presumption of race relation theories

The presumption of racial profiling of African Americans is systematically based on the motivation of police officers’ racial prejudice; a number of sociological theories (Engel et al, 2002; Romero, 2002; Delgado, 1995; Delgado, 2002) have explored if this presumption has validity. The critical race theory argues that “preserving the interests of power, rather than the demands of principle and precedent.” What this seems to suggest, is that existing precedents may be indeterminate. In the case of Harvard’s Professor Gates arrest in Cambridge, Massachusetts…several of these theories can be tested.

Critical race theory emerges from a consortium of Critical Legal Studies, which also comprise post-colonial theory. The critical approach of post-colonialism deals with the branding of colonized identities. Historically, colonialism was not concerned with issues of racism and liberalism. However, the critical race theory has not been accepted in mainstream academia. As a result, a number of police departments have responded to increased incidents of racial profiling in their respective districts, by instituting a Race Relations Council. The premise of these councils is to increase dialogue with community and a call for unification. The problem with a number of these programs is that they are not scientific based.

If Sgt Crowley did nothing wrong in the case of Professor Gates, and if the executive management of the Cambridge Massachusetts Police Department stand by Sgt. Crowley investigative efforts; why would President Obama weigh in on this matter? I propose that President Obama was infuriated like so many other minorities that may have been affected by racial profiling. Interesting enough, as the circumstances of the case come forward, it would be interesting to learn about Cambridge Police Department’s policy on racial profiling as it relates to theories like Critical Race Theory.

Consequently, President Obama’s response is aligned with the mission of his guiding principles for The White House Office on Urban Affairs. “President Obama recognizes that our civil rights laws and principles are at the core of our nation. He has spent much of his career fighting to strengthen civil rights – as a community organizer, civil rights lawyer, Illinois State Senator, U.S. Senator, and now as President. He knows that our country grows stronger when all Americans have access to opportunity and are able to participate fully in our economy (The White House Office on Urban Policy).”

Based on this assessment, President Obama had no choice but to respond to the journalist’s questions concerning Professor Gates.It is clear to me, that President Obama is serious about race relations in this country. After all, he is a minority and he is the Commander in Chief (whether you or like or not). The Cambridge Police Department has been catapulted to the national spotlight, for Sgt. Crowley’s incompetence and apparent disregard for race relations.

The White House. [Online]. Civil Rights. Retrieved from on July 23, 2009.
Engel, S., Calnon, J. and Bernard, T. (2002). Theory and racial profiling: Shortcomings and future directions in research. Justice Quarterly, 19, 2, pp. 249-273.
Delgado, Richard. ed. Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995.
Delgado, Richard and Jean Stefancic. “Critical Race Theory: An Annotated Bibliography.” Virginia Law Review, Vol. 79, No. 2. (Mar., 1993), pp. 461–516.


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