She will not get a beer with the boys. Lucia Whalen has not been invited to the White House.
The three amigos — Henry Louis Gates Jr., James Crowley and Barack Obama — will throw back some cold ones on the South Lawn on Thursday as the whole world watches this “teachable moment” on race in America.
And they deserve a drink. They have been through so much! How they have suffered!
In reality, only Whalen, the woman who called 911 on July 16 to report a possible break-in at the Cambridge, Mass., home of Gates, acted responsibly from beginning to end in this whole affair.
And she doesn’t even get a free drink out of it.
Instead, she has been reviled. She has been scorned. She was pilloried in the mainstream media and abused in the blogosphere. “Whites like Lucia have bigotry programmed into them,” one Cambridge blogger wrote. “Her description of the two black males is just so, so bigoted. Not only that, it could have led to people getting shot unnecessarily.”
Facts? Truth? We don’t need no stinkin’ facts! And the truth is too slow! In this age of instant communication, we must publish conclusions first — no matter how hurtful or how dangerous — and then let the truth catch up.
In fact, Whalen did not describe “two black males” breaking into a house. She volunteered no racial description at all when she called. (When she was then asked by a police dispatcher to describe the two men, Whalen said “one looked kind of Hispanic, but I’m not really sure.”) Whalen didn’t even say the two men were trying to break into the house.
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