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A Modern-Day 'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?'

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A Modern-Day 'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?'

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A Modern-Day 'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?'

A Modern-Day 'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?'

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/111415276/111415272" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Henry Louis Gates and Sgt. James Crowley i

Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, left, and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley meet at the White House for a discussion on racial divisions hosted by President Obama. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Henry Louis Gates and Sgt. James Crowley

Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, left, and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley meet at the White House for a discussion on racial divisions hosted by President Obama.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Obama, Vice President Biden, Harvard Professor Henry Gates and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley met in the Rose Garden of the White House yesterday for beer and a reconciliatory chat centered on race.

The meeting comes on the heels of a recent incident in which Gates, a black man, was arrested by Crowley, who is white, at the scholar's home after neighbor mistook Gates as a burglar. A confrontation ensued between Gates and Crowley, landing Gates in police custody and charged with disorderly conduct.

Although charges were later dropped against Gates, who believes his arrest was the result of racial profiling, the incident touched off a larger national debate on race relations. That debate reached a new high when the president weighed in on the altercation with his opinion, that Crowley and police "acted stupidly" in their handling of the situation.

The White House get together, resembling an after-work happy hour, is being praised by some as a way to cool a distracting and increasingly heated public argument. But some have dismissed the meet-up as a superficial attempt to address very serious issues of racial division in the U.S.

But did it work? White House officials say neither Gates nor Crowley offered an apology for their role in the incident, but both men agreed to reconvene as part of an ongoing dialog.

Veteran journalist Callie Crossley, the Rev. Jim Wallis and Washington Post Reporter Sally Quinn — who is also known as one of Washington, D.C.'s, premier hostesses — discuss whether such gatherings are productive and if true reconciliation came about at the White House get together.

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