Saturday, February 21, 2009

Eric Holder's Statement on Race

Cross-posted by Gary Fouse

Attorney General Eric Holder

No sooner did Eric Holder slip through with his confirmation as Attorney General in spite of his links to questionable pardons under President Clinton, now he comes out with a divisive statement on race. Holder, for some reason, has now told us that America is a "nation of cowards" when it comes to discussing race in America. I would like to add a comment or two.

With all due respect to Americans of Latin, Asian, Middle East and Native American origin, I assume Holder is talking about black-white relations. Assuming that is so, what discussion does Holder want us to have? If he is talking about our history of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow and discrimination, I respectfully suggest that is a discussion we have been having for 40 years. America has not only passed civil rights legislation, but admitted its wrongs in that area. We educate our children as to the past and the need to treat each other as equals.

I often hear calls from prominent black figures for an "open and frank" discussion or dialogue on race. I agree. Yet, it seems that what they are calling for is more discussion of slavery, discrimination and racism (white). To that I say, "been there-done that". What is needed is a truly frank discussion in which whites can express their own concerns about racial questions including black crime rates, fear of entering into black neighborhoods, black illigitimate birth rates, never-ending cries of racism and affirmative action. Let's be honest. It is on our minds, but no one wants to talk about it because it only leads to more accusations of racism. If this is part of what Holder was talking about, then he is onto something.

To me, it seems that America is a country with serious racial issues and divisions, but not a racist country-as it clearly was early in my lifetime. The problems that plague black America are daunting, but in my opinion, whites are not the enemy. White people are not holding black people down. Let me repeat that; white people are not holding black people down. Sure, there are black voices-like Maxine Waters, for example, who really believe that whites are poisoning the black neighborhoods with drugs-as opposed to the black drug dealers themselves. Likewise, whites cannot be blamed for the alarming break-up of the black family, which in my view, is the most serious problem facing black America. In the worst days of Jim Crow, black illigitimacy was about 25%. Today, it is about 70%. How can that be-unless we blame "The Great Society", begun under Lyndon Johnson, a system of well-intentioned welfare that discouraged 2-parent families? What about black gangs that terrorize inner-city neighborhoods? Did whites organize those gangs and send them out on the streets to kill and maim?

In my humble opinion, the problems that plague black America cannot be solved by white people or even government. They must be solved by black people themselves at the grass-roots community level (families, churches etc). I realize that the historical legacy of slavery still plays a role, but frankly, "white racism" has become a tired old phrase that masks issues that must be addressed directly by black America. Unfortunately, when people like Bill Cosby bring up unpleasant truths, they are excoriated as "sell-outs".

While not discounting the fact that there are still racist fringes out there, most everyone knows that black success is a success for all of us. Nothing will be better for America than seeing blacks all rise into the socio-economic middle or upper classes. It is just that many of us, including myself, are wondering what more we can do.

So Mr Holder, if you want to discuss race some more, then I suggest that it be truly open, frank and respectful -on both sides. If not, than I suggest that black America needs to hold an open and frank discussion- with itself.

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