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Speaking at the 92nd Street Y Wednesday night, Ogletree said at the moment the nation isn't ready to advance the discourse on race even a year after the incident last July involving a racially charged confrontation between renowned Harvard scholar Gates, who is black, and a white police sergeant that resulted in the educator's arrest at his home.
“I don’t think we can have that conversation because America’s not ready for it,” he told the audience in Manhattan last night as he discussed, along with CNN reporter Soledad O'Brien, the significance of the incident and the larger issues of the race and class divide.
Ogletree, who penned "The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Race, Class and Crime in America," said such a conversation may be premature but he was optimistic about the state of race relations in the country.
"I've got granddaughters growing up in a world where race doesn't matter," he said.
The author emphasized the importance of creating honest dialogue on race. Gates' arrest last year sparked national debate and drew the attention of Obama, who invited both men to the White House for the infamous "beer summit."