“Like a banana-eating jungle monkey”

A Boston cop on Henry Louis Gates. But don’t worry: he didn’t mean it “in a racist way.”
Good news: his fellow cops turned him in.
But can we now have a little less shocked surprise that Gates suspected racial animus behind the way he was treated by a cop in neighboring Cambridge?

In case you were wondering why Henry Louis Gates might have suspected racial animus in his treatment by a Cambridge cop, take a look at this email – sent to the Boston Globe – by a cop from neighboring Boston. The hatred of blacks and the self-righteous self-pity are both thick enough to cut with a knife. And I wouldn’t doubt that Officer Barrett is utterly sincere when he says “I didn’t mean it in a racist way.” This is the true voice of the hate talk radio listener, unfiltered.

Diagnosis: chronic testosterone poisoning, complicated by pernicious melanin deficiency.

Prognosis: poor.

A reader from Berkeley, commenting on Lowry Heussler’s analysis of Officer Crowley’s behavior, found the racial angle hard to believe, because he was assuming that since Cambridge and Berkeley are both university towns they must have similar police forces. Wrong! First, Cambridge “townies” hate the “Harvards.” Second, the general level of white hostility toward blacks is much higher in the Boston area than it was in, for example, Baltimore, where I grew up.

The good news: Barrett obviously misjudged some of his fellow Boston cops, who promptly turned him in after receiving his email.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com