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A NATION OF COWARDS: BLACK HISTORY & TODAY SPEECH

WASHINGTON – Eric Holder, the nation's first black attorney general, said Wednesday the United States was "a nation of cowards" on matters of race, with most Americans avoiding candid discussions of racial issues. In a speech to Justice Department employees marking Black History Month, Holder said the workplace is largely integrated but Americans still self-segregate on the weekends and in their private lives.
"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," Holder said.

Race issues continue to be a topic of political discussion, but "we, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race."

Holder's speech echoed President Barack Obama's landmark address last year on race relations during the hotly contested Democratic primaries, when the then-candidate urged the nation to break "a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years" and bemoaned the "chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races." Obama delivered the speech to try to distance himself from the angry rhetoric of his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Holder cited that speech by Obama as part of the motivation for his words Wednesday, saying Americans need to overcome an ingrained inhibition against talking about race.

"If we're going to ever make progress, we're going to have to have the guts, we have to have the determination, to be honest with each other. It also means we have to be able to accept criticism where that is justified," Holder told reporters after the speech.

In the speech, Holder urged people of all races to use Black History Month as a chance for honest discussion of racial matters, including issues of health care, education and economic disparities.

Race, Holder said, "is an issue we have never been at ease with and, given our nation's history, this is in some ways understandable... 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."

In a country founded by slave owners, race has bedeviled the nation throughout its history, with blacks denied the right to vote just a few decades ago. Obama's triumph last November as well as the nomination of Holder stand as historic achievements of two black Americans.

Holder told hundreds of Justice Department employees gathered for the event that they have a special responsibility to advance racial understanding.

Even when people mix at the workplace or afterwork social events, Holder argued, many Americans in their free time are still segregated inside what he called "race-protected cocoons."

"Saturdays and Sundays, America in the year 2009 does not in some ways differ significantly from the country that existed almost 50 years ago. This is truly sad," said Holder.

Matt Miller, a spokesman for Holder, said later the attorney general used "provocative words to be clear that Americans of all races should stop avoiding the difficult issues of race."

Andrew Grant-Thomas, Deputy Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University, praised Holder's general message but said the wording of the speech may alienate some.

"He's right on the substance, but that's probably not the most politic way of saying it. I'm certain there are people who will hear him and say, 'That's obnoxious,'" he said, adding that what was missing from Holder's speech were specific examples of what painful subjects need to be addressed.

Hilary Shelton, vice president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, called the speech "constructively provocative."

"Nobody wants to be considered a coward. We've learned to get along by exclusion and silence. We need to talk about it. People need to feel comfortable saying the wrong things," said Shelton.

Holder is headed to Guantanamo Bay early next week to inspect the terrorist detention facility there. Obama has assigned Holder to lead a special task force aimed at closing the site within a year.

Holder's Justice Department will have to decide which suspects to bring to U.S. courts for trial, which to prosecute through the military justice system, and which to send back to their home countries.

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Comment by Diane Friday-Travel Specialist on June 25, 2010 at 5:40pm


John Hanson and others were the first black president and after all these years we get another one ~ Obama and Holder.
Why should Holders words alienate or be considered provacative by some? Geez, why should we continue to hold our tongue in front of the world? I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired when in the company of non-black!

I find we only have four leaders left: Dr. Rosie Milligan of http://www.911forblackamerica.com; Thomas Burrell of Black Farmers Association of America; Dr. Claude Anderson of the Harvest Institute; and Maxine Waters of CA.

The first three are trying address the issues of 400 years ~ The Freedman Federation and The Black Farmers Civil Lawsuit! Check out the 13th and 14th Amendment of The Constitution! The benefits we are to have~ the same as the Indians, land, $50,000 with an opportunity to get a low interest loan to invest and start a business! This has been on the books for years and the people you help put in office just roll over this fact!

You should be mad as heck! You let them cheat you out of what's rightfully yours and your children childrens!
That's one of the reason we do not have; yet, you continue to vote for and put these people back in office! Especially our black leaders; they have been bought out or sold out!

Why do you continue to put these people back in office?

The thing you should do is go to http://www.911forblackamerica.com, click on the link to contact your senator and send to ALL politcal leaders right down to the school board and tell them if they don't address the issue at hand~You nor any Blacks will vote for them in the next election!

For those who can, please Go to www.harvestinstitute.org and make a donation!

The Harvest Institute offers these recommendations because native Blacks are losing faith in civil rights and social integration. Our government continues a pattern of bestowing the rights that should first go to native Blacks to immigrants from foreign countries. Native Blacks are ignored and patronized with symbolic and ceremonial actions by both political parties. The issue of immigration is roiling within Black communities and has the potential to soon become a divisive issue of historic proportions. A 1995 Roper report indicated that 92 percent of Black Americans are opposed to an open door immigration policy. And, until the 1960s, Black leaders acknowledged the harm to their group and opposed it. Opposition to open-door immigration should not be interpreted that Blacks are against any other group. What it does mean is that native Black people expect concentric circles of justice for the people who built this country and they expect to be in the center of the circle of benefits.

Wake-Up!!!!! Or let our people, our children become beggars and criminals in the coming years!

Do Something Or Get Nothing!

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