Per the title of this post, that been an angle I’ve been pushing subtilely on this blog for some time now. Of course the usuals, like Elizabeth Hasselbeck just now on The View get it wrong. What’s at the center of the controversy is the following quote made by Attorney General Eric Holder during a Black History Month speech.
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.
As opposed to taking what that man said as fact and reality of the situation, they feel the need to say “we just elected our first bl-African American [please insert hyphen if you will] president last month” and continue to show the progress that has been made.
DAYUM! Just how thick and dense are some conservatives–and self-identified Republicans?!?!?!
No one’s denying that fact, but what Holder was getting at was that which I condemned our then presidential candidate Barack Obama for: he took race off of the table when he dissociated himself with Jeremiah Wright. I was quite clear about it then, as I am now that race is an issue that requires one to have a backbone. Pusillanimous preachers and politicians and those who have bully pulpits have long swept this issue under the rug and always dealt with it in terms of black and white. Even now, unbeknownst to me until yesterday, there was a black guy, unarmed of course, who was shot while driving his own car by one of two plain clothes police officers driving unmarked cars–in his OWN DRIVEWAY–outside of Houston, Texas in the suburb of Bellaire. Then on Rick Sanchez’s hour, they interview a police officer who said he doubts seriously that racial profiling had anything to do with the shooting.
I’m not quite sure how else would I word that which is our systemic aversion to racial issues in America, but I still favor Holder’s choice. In racially mixed settings, we tend to avoid having real racial conversations. Those of you who kept up with my blog from last summer know just how awkward it is to breech these topics in a racially mixed setting. I mean, when the issue of race would come up, I generally wouldn’t back down (not unless I was just tired and didn’t care at the moment) and it was physically evident how uncomfortable one of the other interns got and even my host mother one time. However, as I wrote back then, the kids were more than willing to have that conversation. It was almost as if they were starving to have the whole Barack Obama conversation with me, and how did I really feel as a black male supporting him.
And I was more than happy to be transparent about my feelings. What I wrote on the blog was what I told a bunch of 14, 15 and 16 year old white boys who grew up in DC suburbia.
Well, why do I agree with Holder that we’re a nation of cowards? Here, look at the following cartoon below:
Perhaps I’m giving the cartoonist Sean Delonas from The New York Post cartoon that caused such a ruckus on the morning of February 18th, parodies the chimpanzee that was shot earlier this week when it mauled its owner in Connecticut. But it’s an interesting interpolation of the information about the stimulus package, which of course invokes Obama.
So, ultimately, we’re left with the image of two befuddled looking policemen (Congress perhaps?) shooting the author of the stimulus package, who happens to be a dark chimpanzee or monkey–which was really shot in real life for attacking a white woman.
COME ON TRUTH!!!!
Here’s what Al Sharpton had to say:
The cartoon in today’s New York Post is troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys. One has to question whether the cartoonist is making a less than casual reference to this when in the cartoon they have police saying after shooting a chimpanzee that “Now they will have to find someone else to write the stimulus bill. Being that the stimulus bill has been the first legislative victory of President Barack Obama (the first African American president) and has become synonymous with him it is not a reach to wonder are they inferring that a monkey wrote the last bill?”
But we don’t want to talk about race in this country.
So as Laurence Fishburne went on to say while he sat on The View, as the replacement of William Peterson’s character on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, the Las Vegas one, “we have a family disease and it’s called race.” He implied that Holder’s comments were a bit too incendiary. Clearly I beg to differ. I think the fact that most conservatives have criticized him and went on talking about just how far we’ve come as a country is proof-positive that he’s right–NO ONE wants to have that conversation.
Honestly, I was beginning to resign myself to Obama’s administration just being a bunch of middle of the road to centrist Democratic lackeys with no teeth. Most of the people he chose were white, and when he signed the executive orders on like day 2 of the job that hopefully will lead to the closing of Gitmo, EVERYONE standing behind him was eerily white–and male. Nothing against qualified white males in position, but still, coming from Obama, it’s still just kind of interesting to watch. So, the one black male on his cabinet was Eric Holder and many of us on the black blagosphere really weren’t holding out much hope for Brother Holder because he’s a Clinton holdover from 1993-2001. Many had high aspirations especially for him to clean up the civil rights division, that was virtually non-existent under Bush, and tackle many of these racially charged issues that arise, lest we have another Jena 6 situation, or the police shooting of Sean Bell where the police officers were accquited or even with Oscar Grant’s death in Oakland, California–we’ll see how that one is handled.
But, kudos to Eric Holder for taking a stand and holding to his guns. He’s definitely getting nominated for an Uppity Negro Award for 2009. In the words of Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell, “Holder isn’t putting us down. He’s asking us to have courage.”
Do you think Eric Holder’s remarks were uncalled for and just hyperbolic rhetoric that was used just make it a memorable speech? Or do you really think that we are a nation of cowards because of our tendency to look at progress of racial equality in this country rather deal with the hurts and grim realities of race in this country?
Stay tuned for “Response to ‘When Does Tolerance Go Too Far?’” within the next 24-48 hours, live on UNN
Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL