Thursday, February 19, 2009

Quote of the Day: Eric Holder on race

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Attorney General Eric Holder, yesterday:

Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial, we have always been, and we, I believe, continue to be, in too many ways, a nation of cowards.

In predictable fashion, the right-wing likes of Michelle Malkin are turning this around and spewing their venom at Obama, among others, while claiming that "Holder doesn't want an honest dialogue about race." The right always likes to play the racist card against its opponents, much like it played the sexist card against Palin's opponents last fall, but its accusations are usually baseless. Yes, there is racism on the left, and perhaps even racial cowardice -- which is not what Holder was getting at -- but it is the right that doesn't want to address race in any meaningful or constructive way, instead preferring to ignore America's racist past (and present) in knee-jerk opposition to any possible slight against America and/or to stoke racism by using it for partisan political purposes (and/or to wallow in its own racist filth).

As for Holder, it's not that he, or Obama, wants "the rest of us shutting up while being subjected to lectures about our insensitivity and insufficient integration on the weekends," but rather that America ought to come to terms with its racist past (and present). The fact is, as Holder put it, "we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about things racial." Instead, the old wounds are left to fester, bandages applied now and then, but not treated properly, often made worse with wedges driven in from, and by, all sides -- yes, by overly sensitive race-obsessers among the politically correct, but also, and more noxiously, by Malkin and her ignorant, denial-ridden ilk.

America is a deeply divided country, with many of the deeper divisions following racial lines. Much progress has been made, but there are still bridges to be built, tensions to be overcome, and wounds to be healed. Obama and Holder are looking forward by addressing the truth about America's past and present, about the racism that was, and is. They aren't cowards, they're loyal adherents to the promise of America, to what is possible in America, to the ongoing project of making America a more perfect union, a project that requires courage to see things as they really have been, and are, to admit that all is not perfect, and to work towards a brighter future.

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8 Comments:

  • Give us Americans a break. Even IF the statement were to have some accuracy in it's foundation, it's one of the last things we as a nation, now in economic peril, need to hear one more time. It distracts us from a far greater danger.

    This is exactly the type of rhetoric that sets the black race back and African Americans need to follow the lead of our 1st African American President by extending an "open hand" and not a "clenched fist".

    By Blogger Mike, at 12:39 PM  

  • I think it is about time that a figure of our government speak out about the truth of America's cowardice and unwillingness to confront ugly injustices that American's continue to ignore.

    As a nation, we have made a remarkable breakthrough, in making an African American our President. I am terribly proud of our country for voting in such a good representative and leader of America. But the truth remains: our country continues live diveded by class and race, and we unwillingly or rarely address those issues. If ever these issues come to light, (as Eric Holder did in his address), often those comments or actions are meet hostile or ignorant response.

    If we are to truly follow our President's adivce to will be the strong and fair American's he asks us to be, then we would listen to our neighbors and fellow citizens with an open ear. We should respond to constructive self-criticism and if we see truth in those words, then we should open ourselves to those truths and take action to make a difference and thus become a nation of better people and individuals.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:23 PM  

  • Singling out a whole group of people and calling them "cowards" is both immature and counterproductive.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:32 PM  

  • "Our attorney general is black, both major parties are led by black men, the president is black," he wrote. "Last month, the nation officially honored Martin Luther King Jr. as it does every year, and Holder is speaking during Black History Month. And yet we're apparently a 'nation of cowards' on race."
    _Stephan Tawney

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:16 AM  

  • "Our attorney general is black, both major parties are led by black men, the president is black," he wrote. "Last month, the nation officially honored Martin Luther King Jr. as it does every year, and Holder is speaking during Black History Month. And yet we're apparently a 'nation of cowards' on race."
    _Stephan Tawney

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:17 AM  

  • For Holder to openly state that we are "a Nation of cowards" was wrong. To even suggest that Americans are cowards is unacceptable. But to broadly call us a Nation of cowards is beneath the dignity of a U.S. Attorney General.

    His speech for Black History Month has done little more than cause anger and embarrassment to many, many Americans. Calloused statements like his actually create racial tension, not fairness and equality. I expect statements like this from Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson – their agenda is based on propelling The Black Victim Syndrome. Holder needs to step back, reassess, and retract what he said.

    The responsibilities of the U.S. Attorney General does NOT include belittlement or bigotry through name-calling a Nation of people.

    He spoke of our population being “voluntarily socially segregated," believing that we remain separatists, by choice. So what is the point? What if we DO actually choose to live our own lives without "diversity"? I do not live in a “diverse” region in Virginia. Should I drive 60 miles to be in a more “diverse” area to help along this agenda? Are we not allowed to keep the company of our peers, of people who we share commonality with? Holder does. You do too, I am sure. Is your own private circle of friends and colleagues diverse – as diverse, say, as Holder is implying that Americans should embrace?

    Lynn

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:43 AM  

  • First of all one minor correction, Obama is not African American. He is of a mixed race. I could care less if is he or is not, but I do care about people being correct in their statements of fact.

    Holder should practice what he preaches. Failing to prosecute members of the new Black Panther Party, who clearly violated federal laws. Is that not racism? A large portion of the national black leaders in our government and society have done more to by selectively use race as a means to promote their individual social agenda.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:36 PM  

  • Holder needs to resign now! Period

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:03 AM  

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