In remarks made during a 2009 speech to honor Black History Month, Eric Holder said the country remains “voluntarily socially segregated.” Holder said, ”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, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race-related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about things racial.”
And yesterday, he doubled down on that statement, saying that “racial animus” is behind the criticism of himself and the president.
Eric Himpton Holder Jr., in an administration of “firsts” — at least as far as race is concerned — is the first African-American or black American to hold the position of U.S. Attorney General. He serves at the pleasure of the first African-American or black American president, Barack Obama.
Anthony Renard Foxx (born April 30, 1971) is an African-American who has been the United States Secretary of Transportation since 2013. He served as the Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, from 2009 to 2013. I choose to refer to him as “American” if I want to speak about him at all.
Then there is Jeh Johnson. I have never known anyone with this first name, but on December 23, 2013, Johnson was sworn in as the fourth U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. The Washington Post reported that “Johnson, an African-American, would bring further racial diversity” to Obama’s Cabinet.
On October 29, 2009, the Senate unanimously confirmed President Barack Obama’s choice of Regina Benjamin for the position of Surgeon General of the United States and as a Medical Director in the regular corps of the Public Health Service. She is African-American as well, and is no longer in office, but is being replaced by another African-American yet to be confirmed.
I could continue on and add in Hispanic appointees, but hopefully you get the picture. It requires a level of talent, education, and “pluck of luck” or “friends in high places” to make it into these ranks, but it can and will continue to be done.
I ask you, do you see this diversity in the governing bodies of Europe, Canada or Latin America? What about in Asia? I will answer that: NOPE. And this diversity didn’t just begin with Obama — does anyone remember Condoleeza Rice or Colin Powell or Clarence Thomas or any of the other African-Americans who served in high places for other administrations?
So in what way is this country a “nation of cowards” or a “racist” nation? Perhaps because no one is willing to step up and say that this nation is 13 percent black or African-American and the African-American race is well represented in the ranks of government. There is no other country on the face of this earth with or without the population representation that can make the same claim. The cowardice comes in when not one person is willing to stand up and say this simple fact.
The president, his adviser Valerie Jarrett, and many of the people who surround him in an important way are all black or African-American. The representation by people “other than white males” is at an all time high — in fact the Democrats have a minority of the dreaded white males. Colleges and universities bend over backwards to make sure the “under-represented” are more than represented sometimes even to their detriment. And the racial detectives are still searching for clues to “hidden racism.” I think the latest target is the World Bank.
Last night watching Hannity on Fox News, a Caucasian woman was trying to explain why she was against the president’s actions, or inaction, on illegal immigration. She lost her son as a result of a head-on car accident involving a repeat offender illegal immigrant — who had no license or social security number. This woman’s precious son was DEAD and yet she found it necessary to exclaim that she was “not racist” when speaking about the president’s policies. This is the intended consequence of Holder’s statement, to make everyone uncomfortable in criticizing him or President Obama — and it is working, hence why they use race. I admit, she is better than me — much better, because the “ghost of Angela past” would have taken over my tongue with the loss of my child. God bless her.
We ARE a nation of cowards when we move our children to private schools because, as the Washington Post reported in March of this year, “Six decades after the Supreme Court mandated school integration, racial and gender disparities in school discipline stubbornly persist, according to a study by the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Education. The report offers a snapshot of the experiences of 49 million students across the country from 2011 through 2012 and is based on data from all 97,000 public schools across the country. The findings are stark: Students of color, boys and girls, are suspended at three times the rate of white students, and the disparities begin in preschool.”
So, instead of confronting the reality almost three-quarters of these children grow up in single parent households, many with scant supervision, and are simply behaving in a “bad-assed” manner, it must instead be HIDDEN RACISM. We cower away FROM TELLING THE TRUTH. Teachers second-guess themselves, hold black or African-American students to a lower standard of behavior, as the well-mannered children of all races flee the public school system, and the teachers themselves become frequently assaulted “wardens” in an asylum.
So, what of these “kids” when they come out of high school? They become problem citizens, with very little socialization skills because of this tolerance and that becomes yet another problem for another day.
I’m not saying racism, sexism and all of the other “-isms” do not exist – of course they do. What I am saying is that to cower in the face of “wrong-doing” on all levels, whether it is to get votes or to live in fear of being called “racist” only sets back ALL civilization. We are living under that mantle right now.
More than one GOP member is afraid of his or her shadow — in large measure because of the unwarranted lack of diversity in their ranks. They grasp at straws, jumping from one color to the next or one sexual orientation to the next trying to show that they are not “like the others,” thus frustrating “the others” who were neither racist, sexist or homophobic to begin with.
The GOP reps are terrified to make a statement that something is unlawful and search for reasons or words to make excuses for inertia. “Let him have what he wants, he will own it” from the budget to the multitudes flooding the borders and many trillions of dollars in between. Just let him have his way has been the mantra because of the fear, this cowardice. We can paint it pretty and put a cherry on top but make no mistake “it is what it is.”
Makes you feel good to give it, but remember when you gave your kid the third helping of ice cream even though you knew it wasn’t going to be good and he vomited on your lap? Your child “owned it” but it was your fault — and it’s the same with this. Even when he (the president) owns it, you’ll get the blame because you gave it to him.
And as Eric Holder said yesterday, he won’t walk back his words because, why should he? You have been played.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com.