I was out of the country during the shit storm national discussion on race that ensued over the arrest of Harvard University Prof. Henry Louis Gates. The only reason I was aware of it at all is that CNN was the only English channel I could access in most hotels (some had BBC as well), so I caught President Obama’s press conference live. Other bloggers have written eloquently about this issue so I wasn’t planning to say anything more than “amen.” [Just a note — the BBC anchor who reported on the “Beer Summit” could barely contain his laughter — I thought I was watching a British version of “The Daily Show” until I confirmed from other sources that this indeed was a real event).
This article by my colleague, poet Ravi Shankar, brings the issue close to home. Ravi describes being arrested by NYPD officers for driving home from a poetry event in NYC while being non-white (the arresting officer referred to Shankar as a “sand nigger”). Looks like the Cambridge police officers who arrested Gates are not the only ones who acted stupidly are in need of a Beer Summit at the White House.
On a lighter note — I suggest that we all continue this national discussion on race by hosting our own local beer summits. What brew would you choose? Since I just returned from Eastern Europe, I would pick the Special Lager from the Strahov Monastic Brewery in Prague (although I’m not sure I can find it in the states).