Not really a diary, more like an update. Thought you all would want to know that Henry Louis Gates has taken President Obama up on his invitation to sit down for a beer with Sgt. Crowley.
President Obama said he hopes this can be a “teachable moment” – where “instead of pumping up the volume” American can focus on how to improve relations between police officers and minority communities.
“Whether I were black or white, I think that me commenting on this and hopefully contributing to constructive, as opposed to negative, understandings about the issue is part of my portfolio.”
Obama said at the end of his conversation with Crowley there was a discussion about Crowley and Professor Gates coming to the White House to have a beer together.
President Obama has not spoken to Gates yet and there is no time yet scheduled for their beer get together, although White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs indicated that the meeting would likely happen.
Gates' response below the fold. (Update: Also Crowley's)
Gates Says 'Yes' To Beer With Crowley
In a statement to The Root, the Harvard professor says he would meet with the cop who arrested him, as President Obama has suggested.
Statement from Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
"It was very kind of the President to phone me today. Vernon Jordan is absolutely correct: my unfortunate experience will only have a larger meaning if we can all use this to diminish racial profiling and to enhance fairness and equity in the criminal justice system for poor people and for people of color.
And to that end, I look forward to studying the history of racial profiling in a new documentary for PBS. I told the President that my principal regret was that all of the attention paid to his deeply supportive remarks during his press conference had distracted attention from his health care initiative. I am pleased that he, too, is eager to use my experience as a teaching moment, and if meeting Sgt. [James] Crowley for a beer with the President will further that end, then I would be happy to oblige.
After all, I first proposed that Sgt. Crowley and I meet as early as last Monday. If my experience leads to the lessening of the occurrence of racial profiling, then I would find that enormously gratifying. Because, in the end, this is not about me at all; it is about the creation of a society in which 'equal justice before law' is a lived reality."
Sounds like Sgt. Crowley is also open to the idea.
Crowley was also pleased by the call, according to a fellow officer who asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak publicly about the issue.
"Jimmy said, 'I'd be happy to come to the White House and sit down with you and Gates and have a beer,' " the veteran Cambridge officer said. "The president said he was acceptable to that."
Crowley also asked President Obama if he could use his influence to oust the news media from his front lawn in Natick. "The president said, 'I can't get them off my front lawn,' and Jimmy said, 'Well, your lawn is a lot bigger than my lawn,' " the officer's colleague said.
How cool is that? I hope they all sit down soon with a nice glass of beer and clear the air.