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Race and a “Nation of Cowards”

Scott on February 19, 2009 at 9:43 am

Eric Holder, President Obama’s choice for Attorney General of the United States, gave a speech yesterday in which he said:

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

Maybe it’s because I’m white, but that comment doesn’t sit well with me. He went on to say:

It is an issue we have never been at ease with, and given our nation’s history this is in some ways understandable.  And yet, if we are to make progress in this area, we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us.”

I grant that our nation’s history has been abysmal at times in dealing with various forms of prejudice. And yet time and again our history shows that citizens of the country move to correct those wrongs, to change the course of the country in a more positive direction. Eric Holder makes it sound as though we haven’t made “progress” and still aren’t making “progress” because, somehow, we all refuse to have frank conversations about racial matters.

It sounds as though he believes that people in this country (white people in particular) want to forget about our nation’s past and don’t want to deal with “stuff.”

Am I wrong?

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