What Skip Gates Told His Daughter

By Daisy Hernandez Jul 22, 2009

As you all know by this point, Henry Louis Gates was arrested this week in his own home by a white cop, who was answering a 911 call that two Black men were breaking into the Gates home. Apparently the cop wasn’t satisfied when Skip pulled out his work ID (Harvard, of course) and asked the professor to step outside. Gates refused, asked for the cop’s badge and name and…wham, off to jail you go Skip. His daughter Elizabeth interviewed him for The Daily Beast blog about what his arrest says about race in this country. Ok, it’s a bit cheesy in parts (a “father knows best” vibe), but there are some good parts that make it worth the read:

If I had been white this incident never would have happened. He would have asked at the door, “Excuse me, are you okay? Because there are two black men around here try’na rob you [laughter] and I think he also violated the rules by not giving his name and badge number, and I think he would have given that to one of my white colleagues or one of my white neighbors. So race definitely played a role. Whether he’s an individual racist? I don’t know—I don’t know him. But I think he stereotyped me.