Quotable Quote of the Month

What does it take for Republicans to take off the flag pin and say, 'I am just too embarrassed to be on this team'?".- Bill Maher

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Are We Essentially A Nation of Cowards?

In a speech to Justice Department employees on Wednesday marking Black History Month, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the United States is essentially a nation of cowards when it comes to dealing with race. Holder stated that although the nation's workplace is largely integrated, Americans still self-segregate in their private lives. Here is a portion of Holder's speech:

"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."

If you've read my inaugural post to this blog stating the Purpose of Diversity Ink, you can probably guess that I think U.S. Atty. General Holder is right on the money in his assessment. Just looking at the personal photos on Facebook of some of my co-workers, I can guess that in their personal lives they don't socialize much with people outside their race.

Although the office building where I work is diverse, the department itself (consisting of well over 100 employees) is predominately white. Just in my interactions with some of the whites, I get the sense that they aren't comfortable around blacks. Dealing with people outside their race is hard enough for some, so one might feel like a dentist if they attempted to get them to talk openly about racial matters.

To be fair, the street of race isn't one-way. There are blacks (as well as other minorities) who are reluctant to discuss race too. My guess is that some of them don't want to come off as militant or accusatory if the subject of race does arise. There are bound to be moments of tension and awkwardness, but I feel we have to start somewhere if we hope to ever have a chance at getting over our racial hangups in America.

Do you agree with Holder that we are essentially a nation of cowards?

For the complete text to Holder's speech, you can visit the Los Angeles Times site.

Below is a heated exchange between Pat Buchanan and Michael Eric Dyson during their appearance on Hardball the other night to discuss Holder's speech.

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