The Attorney General has some harsh words for his fellow citizens:
Attorney General Eric Holder described the United States Wednesday as a nation of cowards on matters of race, saying most Americans avoid discussing unresolved 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 continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards,” said Holder, nation’s first black attorney general.
Race issues continue to be a topic of political discussion, Holder said, but “we, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.”
Let us put aside for the nonce the country’s chief law enforcement officer extending his public portfolio into the lives of private citizens on weekends. Let us ignore, for now, the constitutionally protected right of American citizens to associate freely with whomever they choose. Let us even concede arguendo that we, as average Americans, don’t talk enough about race.
Having done that, let us brush right past the tedious work of defining how much talk about race is “enough” in a country with African Americans serving as president, attorney general, in both houses of congress, in the judiciary at every level, and in statehouses and boardrooms throughout the country. A country that offers an unparalleled equality of opportunity based on merit. A country that is ceaselessly reminded of the ongoing legacy of its national birth stain.
Let us focus instead on Mr. Holder’s cowardice charge on “unresolved racial issues” – whatever those are – and examine its underpinnings: If Americans are reluctant to talk with one another about race, could it have anything to do with the fact that there is only one “approved” narrative on race, it is imposed by those most conscious of race as a social construct on those least conscious of it, and that any deviation from the heterodoxy leaves one instantly subjected to mau-mauing as a racist – the most witheringly pernicious public characterization possible. Let us ponder the insistence of those in ethnic studies departments of academies throughout the land that to be born white in this country is to be born privileged, and therefore born innately racist. There’s nothing you can do.
So, maybe it’s cowardice. Maybe there’s just nothing left to say. Maybe people would rather decline the opportunity to be “spoken to” on weekends without the option of speaking back. Maybe they don’t like being told that they “just don’t get it,” that they never can.
Maybe people should be free in their private lives to think their private thoughts, so long as their public actions impose no burden upon anyone else without being accused as cowards.
Maybe the attorney general should stop flogging his pet agendas from the bully pulpit and get back to doing his paid work.