The Boston Herald has published an article that implies James Crowley, the officer in the center of controversy over the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates, cannot be a racist because he gave "mouth-to-mouth resuscitation" to deceased Celtics basketball star Reggie Lewis in a failed effort to save his life. I assume for the sake of argument that Gates's arrest was unrelated to racism. The fact that Crowley tried to save one black man's life, however, does not negate the possibility that he is a racist.
Discrimination and Complexity
Racism, like all other "isms," operates with a level of complexity that the Boston Herald article fails to appreciate. During Jim Crow, whites in the South flocked to watch black artists perform -- even though local laws would not permit them to dine at the same restaurants, stay in the hotels or to marry. During slavery, many white male slave owners did more than place their lips on black women, and they fathered many children, whom they subsequently enslaved. Similarly, one of the officers who was involved in the violent act of ramming a plunger in the anus of Abner Louima denied that he was a racist because he was in a relationship with a black woman. And one of the oldest expressions, "I don't think of you as black" reveals the psychology of a white person who normally "thinks of blacks as blacks" but who creates exceptions to this rule.
The same complicated behavior exists with respect to other forms of discrimination. Virulently sexist men claim to "love" their wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters. Also, some of the most homophobic people learn to embrace and defend their gay or lesbian children. This behavior undermines the central theme of the Boston Herald article. Regardless of whether the officer's actions were motivated by race, this article does nothing to resolve the question.
Note: Even the conservatives on the Supreme Court have not obliterated a longstanding doctrine in civil rights cases which establishes that an employer cannot disprove an allegation of discrimination by arguing that it treated other persons in the same class fairly.