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Slowly, slowly with today's Gates "shocker"--updated!


So: Lucia Whalen, the woman who triggered Gatesgate, is disputing the notion that she identified Skip Gates and his driver as black. What does that tell us?

Maybe not too much. For one thing, as Dan Kennedy rightly notes, the details remain extremely muddled. The original police report has Whalen identifying Gates and his driver by race in a discussion with Crowley at the scene. The Herald, which has Whalen saying she never mentioned race at all, suggests that she's disputing this part of the account. The Globe, which has Whalen saying she didn't mention race in the 911 call, suggests she might not be.

Also, let's remember that even if Whalen didn't mention race in her call--or at the scene--she still might not have dialed the Cambridge PD if the men weren't black.

Like most of you, I expect, I'm eager for this story to fade away. This latest twist is going to prolong it a bit, but we should still hold off on giving it undue significance.

NOTE: I've revised this post to emphasize the divergence in the Globe and Herald's accounts.

  • Mark said:

    You're assuming a lot to say "she still might not have dialed the Cambridge PD if the men weren't black."  What in the world is wrong with calling the police when you see two people trying to force their way into a neighbor's house?  This is a good thing, and you turn it around by suspecting racism when there's no reason to do so.  If everyone hesitates to call the cops when they see suspicious activity at their neighbor's house, we'll end up in a much more dangerous place.

    July 27, 2009 10:14 AM
  • Adam Reilly said:

    Mark, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I'd want someone to call the police if they saw someone breaking into my place, whatever their skin color.

    My point was this: in the Globe, Whalen suggests that the absence of any race reference in her 911 call proves that race wasn't on her mind as she processed the situation. All I'm saying is that it may have been, no matter what she said or didn't say.

    July 27, 2009 10:44 AM
  • Ernie Boch, III said:

    Hey Adam,

    This is like the Chubaka Defense from South Park. It doesn't make sense.

    July 27, 2009 2:11 PM
  • southie said:

    How about revising it to reflect the fact that she clearly states on the 9-11 call that she can't tell the race of the people that she saw pushing in the door when directly asked. She says I don't know, maybe one could be hispanic...

    So to say she may not have called the police if they were white is crappy reporting, blogging, or what ever and just another liberal flame fanner trying to keep this story about race, when the facts show that it is becoming less and less about that every day.

    July 27, 2009 4:45 PM
  • Adam Reilly said:

    I've just listened to the call tape, Southie, and while I think my point about Whalen's words/thoughts was valid in the abstract, I feel pretty crappy having made it. Not only does she not have much to say about race, even with the dispatcher's prompting, but she makes it clear she's calling on SOMEONE ELSE'S BEHALF. I eat crow and offer an apology here:


    July 27, 2009 5:16 PM
  • Jon Rawlins said:


    It's not racism, it's realism.  It's not profiling, it's deductive reasoning.


    August 2, 2009 11:31 PM

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