Friday, February 20, 2009

Eric Holder and cowardice

Our new attorney general recently claimed in a speech that we are a nation of "cowards", because, according to him, we don't discuss race enough; here's the best comment I've seen so far on this:

"Many have weighed in on Eric Holder's "cowards" slur. He obviously hasn't paid much attention to college campuses, where the obsession with race permeates departments, curricula, hiring, faculty profile, student events, funding, etc. Bumper-sticker identification and hair-trigger readiness to accuse someone of racism to further a particular ideological or even personal agenda are now 30 years old and institutionalized in higher education. He is right on one count, however — in the university, public schools, journalism at large, the foundations, and politics, there is a reluctance in one aspect to broach the subject. It is absolutely taboo to suggest that personal behavior, particular ingrained attitudes, and pernicious cultural assumptions — far more than contemporary racial oppression — could have contributed to ordinately high rates of drug use, crime, illegitimacy, unemployment, high-school drop-out rates, sexist attitudes toward women, and incarceration among a subset of young African-American males."

Bingo. I know at a number of campuses, there are endless attempts to have conversations on race, panel discussions on race, student clubs just for African-Americans, academic departments for the study of race...and just what has all this gotten us? According to Holder, we're still a bunch of cowards.