Welcome to the ‘Club’ – NYTimes.com

Op-Ed Columnist – Welcome to the ‘Club’ – NYTimes.com.

This week, the fog of racial profiling hung heavy over Harvard Square.

The arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., the eminent Harvard scholar, at his own home thrust the police’s treatment of minorities, particularly black men, back into the spotlight.

Whether one thinks race was a factor in this arrest may depend largely on the prism through which the conflicting accounts are viewed. For many black men, it’s through a prism stained by the fact that a negative, sometimes racially charged, encounter with a policeman is a far-too-common rite of passage.