As many of us learned early this week, Henry Louis Gates Jr., the eminent Harvard scholar of African-American culture, was arrested a week ago outside his own home in Cambridge, Mass. Gates had returned home after an overseas trip and found his front door was jammed. He forced it open with the help of his driver. One of his neighbors saw the men forcing the door and called the police to report a burglary. When the police arrived and demanded that Gates come outside (or "asked" depending on which account of events you believe), Gates refused and a confrontation ensued, which ended in Gates being placed under arrest for disorderly conduct.