THE BLOG
08/30/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Gates Arrest: Racism? Not so much. Classism? You betcha!

Surely, there are racial incidents that capture the nation's furor and place the post-race America movement in limbo. But the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Skip Gates Jr. was definitely not one of them.

The post-race movement is alive and well. And as a Black woman living in America, I must tell you, flat-out, that we are steadily making progress. My Cuban relatives will tell you so. And my Samoan and white in-laws will tell you so, as well.

We are making progress--and our ability to unite, embrace change, and reject the b.s. of racism in order to elect our 44th President is just the beginning of what we can do. Those of us who believe in post-race America realize that color-based hatred is stupid. Poverty is the enemy.

The Gates arrest was not about Black vs. White; it was about blue ribbon vs. blue collar. Those were the colors mixing it up.

The Haves Vs. The Have-Nots

So, are we approaching a post-class America? To that, I offer the phrase made famous by Whitney Houston, HELL-TO-THE-NAWL.

And therein lies the rub.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested because he resided in the gated Harvard community and he disrespected Sgt. James Crowley, the hardworking guy with the handcuffs. He earns more than the arresting officer; and he was talking smack to the arresting officer--a guy that, surely, hears more than his fair share of insults from the Harvard intellectual elite.

Gates is a rock star within intellectual circles--and surely he didn't miss the opportunity to tell Sgt. Crowley so.

This was a classic town vs. gown drama, a show-me-the-power move, and Gates slipped up.
As long as Gates showed his disdain inside his home, he was safe, and he wasn't breaking the law.

But the Harvard professor took the bait and continued to bring the drama outside--and was arrested on the porch.

In this blue-collar vs. blue ribbon face-off, the old-school cop took the Harvard professor to school. On top of that, he got to share a beer with yet another blue-ribbon intellectual rock star with an even more impressive address!

Had Henry Louis 'Skip' Gates been entering his doublewide mobile home after a hard day's work, this epic clash of the egos would not have taken place. Skip and Sgt. Crowley would have sorted out the mess and then they would have enjoyed a cold beer without the presidential invite.

So don't allow the race-baiters to fool you. If there was any -ism involved in this incident, it was classism.

Had it been racism, this regrettable incident would have ended in very different way.
And those who know the evils of racism, know exactly what I mean.