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Talia Rivera's picture Talia Rivera


I absolutely agree that the media has run this story into the ground. Even I have turned the channel and yelled out loud – please stop. However, there is a piece of me that is very disturbed about what happened.

When I first heard about the arrest I was frustrated. I thought immediately he was arrested because he was black (I am sure that is what most black people assumed). But the more I began to hear about what transpired I realized that it wasn’t racial profiling.

Racial profiling is what happens to the boys that I work with everyday. They are walking down the street, a police officer jumps out of their cruiser, with their firearm drawn, pointed at their head just to ask them, “What is your name?”

Not to defend Gates but there is an underlying animosity between African American communities and police officers (whether they are black or white). As a black woman I sometimes feel threatened when approached by a police officer.

I was picking my son up from school one day (the school is located in the heart of downtown Boston at a very busy intersection). Parents double parked which can back up traffic. I was pulling along side a car and a police officer yelled, “HEY, YOU MOVE”. I felt completely insulted. I parked my car, walked up to him and said, “There is a right way to talk to people”. He could have said, “Can you please move your car”.

I can’t imagine what would have happened if I was a black man in that situation. What frustrates me about this whole situation is that Gates made this about him and it is bigger than him. Young black men are being racially profiled everyday. I had one young man tell me that he is stopped, frisked and searched everyday. I asked him to keep track of how many times in one day he is searched.

I wish you could hear the stories my boys tell about their interactions with the police. It is disturbing! Do I think that Henry Louis Gate’s would have gotten arrested if he was Bill Gates – no, I don’t. I do believe that Gates could have handled himself better (and is even blowing this out of proportion) but until we have walked a mile in the shoes of a black man we will never know what it feel like to humiliate by a police officer in your own home.

Talia Rivera's picture Talia Rivera

Did anyone see this article in the Boston Globe?

To make matters worst...