Good victims make good movements possible.That's Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff at UCLA, chiming in on the Cambridge racial profiling incident. And he's right. But it is clearer and clearer that the "good victim" in this case is Sgt. James Crowley. Crowley could have been just another white cop. And then who would know: maybe he really is a racist?
Instead, it turns out that Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., picked on the wrong white cop. Dr. Gates profiled Crowley immediately, responding to the officer's initial request for I.D. with a tirade.
But Crowley doesn't play to type. Sgt. Crowley was handpicked by a black police chief to teach the racial profiling course at Lowell Police Academy for the past five years. Crowley's better spoken (and written) than the average cop: his public comments have been confident but not rancorous; his incident report is lucid. Also, it turns out Crowley already had his 15 minutes of fame - trying desperately to revive Reggie Lewis when the Celtics star's heart stopped in 1993. Crowley grew up in Cambridge, has black friends on and off the force, and knew protocol for working in and around Harvard.
Gates chose the wrong cop to write a "racial profiling" documentary about.
Crowley can be the "good victim" for a "good movement": restoring the presumption of innocence to crimes of political incorrectness.