Charles Ogletree with Soledad O’Brien on Race, Class and Crime

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Charles Ogletree is interviewed by Soledad O’Brien about his book, The Presumption of Guilt. The book dealt with the 2009 arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. for attempting to break into his own home. Their fascinating discussion explored tensions between black and white, police and civilians and the privileged and less privileged. Mr. Ogletree also singled out class as playing a large role in the event, and framed the event as one between a white, working class Cambridge police officer and an affluent, accomplished, black Harvard professor.

“How is this about class?” O’Brien inquired. “Very simply,” he replied. “The very first thing Skip Gates said, when officer Crowley came into his house and asked him for identification, said, ‘do you know who I am?’ …his point was, he had achieved something…he wasn’t just a black man, he was a prominent Harvard University professor living in a prominent neighborhood…”