Why Obama Is Wrong About Henry Louis Gates

Obama photoOne of the more irritating aspects of what passes for civil-rights activism in this country is the constant clamoring for a "national conversation on race." In practice, what this amounts to is blacks accusing and whites apologizing. About a dozen years ago, President Bill Clinton explicitly called for this sort of "dialogue." Now President Barack Obama has jumped into the fray. At the close of his press conference this evening, Obama denounced Cambridge, Massachusetts police for acting "stupidly" in arresting Harvard African-American Studies Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. on July 16 for disorderly behavior. Yet the facts of the case – beginning with the fact that police and prosecutors soon dropped the charge – speak more about the disregard for logic and context among blacks eager to locate the latest evidence of institutional "racism." 

Henry Louis ("Skip") Gates is a reasonably competent scholar who owes his heavyweight credentials primarily to …