Nearly 46 years after the March on Washington, the Attorney General says Americans remain in their "race-protected cocoons." (PHOTO CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
From CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Some tough words from the nation's first African-American attorney general.
Eric Holder says the U.S. is "essentially a nation of cowards" when it comes to openly talking about race relations.
Holder was speaking to Justice Department employees celebrating Black History Month. He says that although the workplace has become mostly integrated, Americans still self-segregate themselves on the weekends and in their free time. "Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards," said Holder.
Holder says race is often a political discussion, but not one among average Americans. He says he was motivated by President Barack Obama's speech on race last fall. At the time, then-
candidate Obama called on the nation to break "a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years." He delivered that landmark speech to try to distance himself from the hateful sermons of his former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
Holder echoed Obama's words in saying there's still so much work to be done in this area. He called on people to be more honest with one another and open to criticism. The attorney general described Americans as being stuck in what he calls their "race-protected cocoons" and said that when it comes to how most of us spend our free time the country in some ways isn't so different from 50 years ago.
Here’s my question to you: Do you agree with Attorney General Eric Holder that the U.S. is a "nation of cowards" when it comes to race?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
CJ in Atlanta writes:
Jack, I agree with the attorney general. Race is a taboo topic, especially here in the South. There are still lots of racists among every race, especially among middle-aged to retiree-aged people. Until they move on, out of roles where they currently shape company and public policy, we who are among younger generations will not be able to make race an open topic for discussion.
Emma from Ashtabula, Ohio writes:
No, we are not a nation of cowards. Attorney General Holder is exhibiting traits of most of Pres. Obama's appointments so far: very intelligent, but with a total lack of common sense. Let’s hope that Holder is better at enforcing the law and the Constitution. Stick to what you are good at, Mr. Holder.
Tom from Philadelphia writes:
Who let the black man in on closed-door racism? We have gone from overt, in-your-face racism, to closed-door, let-me-make-sure-who-I-am-talking-to racism. Overall, on the outside it’s going away. But in the hearts and minds of many and in private, it’s the same as it always was. He is bold and brave to confront it. Good job.
Anne from Seattle writes:
Americans do have issues when it comes to being up front about matters of race. Yet using the word "coward" will do nothing to encourage more openness. Mr. Holder would have been wiser and have facilitated exchanges between all people if he had instead stated his willingness to engage in honest dialogue about race issues and encouraged all Americans to do the same. We've made significant progress and it's not the time to demean or speak negatively.
Jasmine from Germany writes:
Yes, I do agree. Blacks and whites (and all the others in our melting pot country) still continue to "blame" each other for whatever might not be just right. It's time to get over it… Holder is courageous to have made the statement. PS: I'm a Caucasian person, but why would I have to add that?