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From The Root

Given President Barack Obama’s reluctance to dwell on the issue of race in America, it was a surprise to hear the president’s forceful comments on last week’s controversial arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Root’s editor-in-chief.

At the close of his prime-time press conference on health care Wednesday, the president addressed the touchy issue head on. He criticized the police officer who arrested Gates, saying “any one of us would be pretty angry” about the intrusion into a private home, adding that the Cambridge police department “acted stupidly” in going through with the arrest.

Obama’s remarks had the authority of a lawyer who knew the specifics of the applicable law, and it gave him the chance to spotlight an initiative he worked on ardently while in the Illinois state senate, where he wrote a bill to deal with racial profiling by police officers. But his comments also carried special resonance because he is a black man in America.

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