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Posted by on Feb 19, 2009 in Society | 4 comments

Holder Speaks Out Against American Cowardice on Race

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 generally 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, at times, to express racism outright).

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 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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