From the first sip to the last dregs, the "suds summit" failed to produce a "teachable moment," because the teachers were not invited. From the circumspect Lucia Whalen-- who stuck only to the observable facts in her 911 call-- President Barack Hussein Obama could have learned not to substitute subjective assumptions for objective analysis. From Sgt. Leon Lashley-- who was derided as an "Uncle Tom" and accused of "betrayal" for supporting the actions taken by Sgt. James Crowley at the scene-- Henry Louis Gates could have learned about the prevalence and destructiveness of black-on-black racism.
Though the white cop and the black professor remained at lagerheads over their respective actions at Gates' home a couple of weeks back, the brew-haha was a goldmine for what ales punsters who hitherto could not find anything funny about Obama. For instance, when ABC News reported, "the president will drink Bud Light ...Gates has said he likes Red Stripe...Sgt. James Crowley mentioned to the president that he prefers Blue Moon" the happy hour was immediately dubbed the "the Red, Lite and Blue summit."
Hate to ruin a good pun, but there were two skunks at this Rose Beer Garden party: Despite his stated preference for the Jamaican lager, Gates ended up drinking Sam Adams Light (though, coincidentally, the brewery is located in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood) and Vice President Joe Biden ambled over to join the Group of Three. (NPR speculated that Biden, with his white working-class roots, was brought in to avoid the appearance of two black elites double-teaming a blue-collar cop.)
Given his own history of racial profiling ("you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy" and "you cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent") The Stiletto expected Biden to hoist a forty to show he was all jiggy with the ebony-and-ivory-perfect-harmony thang, but someone wisely poured him an alcohol-free Buckler instead.
Clearly, the White House hoped Obama's beery bonhomie would induce all of us to put on beer goggles and continue to view him as post-racial. For Crowley and Gates, however, it was an invitation they could not refuse. While Obama and Biden -- in short sleeves, dressed down to come off as a regular guys -- offered their guests a beer, they apparently did not invite the two men to take off the jackets and loosen ties they wore out of deference to office of the presidency. It was all just another phony photo op.
After the wingding, Crowley, the "racist cop," helped Gates, the "police profiling victim," negotiate the White House steps while Obama walked ahead obliviously. When Crowley reached out a protective hand and Gates accepted it, the two men negotiated the racial land mines that have been exploding around them without Obama's help. They never needed it.