Conservatives constantly screaming for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to step down are up in arms about Holder’s recent outspoken views on racial bigotry.

I’m proud of Holder for speaking up. Let the right-wingers continue to shout. Or just get over it.

Holder, the first African-American U.S. Attorney General, delivered a powerful commencement address at Morgan State University in Baltimore last week and said entrenched discriminatory policies are more detrimental to people of color than racist outbursts.

“Over the last few weeks and months, we’ve seen occasional, jarring reminders of the discrimination – and the isolated, repugnant, racist views – that in some places have yet to be overcome,” Holder said. “These incidents have received substantial media coverage. And they have rightly been condemned by leaders, commentators, and citizens from all backgrounds and walks of life. But we ought not find contentment in the fact that these high-profile expressions of outright bigotry seem atypical and were met with such swift condemnation,” he said.

“Because if we focus solely on these incidents – on outlandish statements that capture national attention and spark outrage on Facebook and Twitter – we are likely to miss the more hidden, and more troubling, reality behind the headlines.”

Although Holder didn’t mention any names, he took aim at racists who’ve dominating the news in recent weeks – people like Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy who have both uttered disparaging remarks toward African-Americans in recent weeks. Sterling was recorded telling a friend not to associate with Black people.

Bundy told a reporter that Blacks were perhaps better off as slaves. “These outbursts of bigotry, while deplorable, are not the true markers of the struggle that still must be waged, or the work that still needs to be done – because the greatest threats do not announce themselves in screaming headlines,” Holder added. “They are more subtle. They cut deeper. And their terrible impact endures long after the headlines have faded and obvious, ignorant expressions of hatred have been marginalized.”

Holder is right. There are far more insidious policies that are detrimental to African Americans – and he’s also correct that we must condemn racist behavior when it happens. Like New Hampshire Police Commissioner Robert Copeland, who’s 82 and white, and acknowledged in an email to his fellow police colleagues that he used a racial slur — the N-word – to describe Obama.

‘‘I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse,’’ Copeland said in the email to his fellow police commissioners. ‘‘For this, I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.’’

Copeland quit his post Monday after residents in Wolfeboro demanded his resignation. About 20 black people live in Wolfeboro, a town of 6,300 residents. The state is 94 percent white and 1 percent black. None of the town police department’s 12 full-time officers is Black.

For some, — like Sterling, Bundy and Copeland – it’s getting much easier to bring racist feelings to the forefront. And in Copeland’s case, he is unapologetic for disrespecting Obama, the nation’s first Black president. He would rather resign as police commissioner than to apologize to a Black man.

But what conservatives are really upset about is this: Holder’s speech about racial bigotry wasn’t designed as an isolated event: it’s part of a coordinated effort by the Obama administration to address race in America. The idea is to make people think – and perhaps change some attitudes.

Last week, for example, First Lady Michelle Obama, marking the 60th anniversary of the historic Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, said that racial prejudices are still prevalent in America and urged young people to help eradicate racism.

“This issue is so sensitive, it’s so complicated, so bound up with a painful history,” Mrs. Obama said. “No matter what you do, the point is to never be afraid to talk about these issues, particularly the issue of race, because even today, we still struggle to do that.”

This isn’t the last time Americans will hear about race in America from the Obamas – or from members of the administration. Expect to hear more about race, multiculturalism, and America’s rapidly-changing demographics in the months ahead.

This is about leadership – and I’m looking forward to it. What do you think?

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12 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: Attorney General, First Lady Are Right On Race

  1. He’s like so many successful black men he’s lost and may never wake up.he has a good job and money and now he turns on his race and start thinking like white men.hope he doesnt lose everything one day and has to return to the hood, will be a sad day.

    • Ivan Cohen on said:

      The cyber police are going to shock you with warrants for soliciting on a non-commercial web site. Mom of girlfriend liable to be also served with papers. Next time go to E-bay or Craigslist.

  2. Listen to yourselves. You complain that whites won’t let you in their schools, or hire you for positions in their corporations. I’ll tell you what will happen if it were reversed. White will merely build their own schools and businesses, and vow it will be better than yours. Once the whites have left your cities, you have Haiti, Detroit, Zimbabwe, and everywhere else where the schools are failing, and the factories are empty. If you need another race to provide opportunities for you, then you will never be equal. A white unemployment rate of over 25% is the end of diversity, so pay attention if that ever happens.

    • pjamesiii on said:

      It is people and attitudes (ignorant) like yours that incite violence because this sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity can only be eradicated through death. If you knew and understood the history of this country, you would think differently. You see, the real truth is that the majority of white establishment(money and power infrastructure) is FEARFUL of black because in spite of all that has been done to oppress the black man, we just keep fighting and moving ahead at a much faster rate than anyone who has suffered as we have is expected to do. Throughout history, black people have done precisely what you speak of (HBCU, Rosewood, Black Wall Street, etc.), but white establishment intervened because we were too successful. Detroit, Haiti, and Zimbabwe are more examples of the influence of white establishment. White establishment controls the system, the landscape (laws, financial institutions, land, etc) in which we must operate, so we have been (continue to be) forced to assimilate into a culture that does not accept us in order to survive and provide for our families. Even though I know the truth, I am not trying to justify anything negative happening in the black community nor am I using the past and present discriminatory practices as excuses, but I will acknowledge the impact of American Oppression on my people (something that White America refuses to do) and keep forging ahead. The bottom line is, your sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity is going to be your demise.

  3. African Americans know how some white folk feel about us yet those remarks won’t stop Black folk from sitting on Santa Claus you think they’ll put their children on random black men’s laps? I think not Black folk worship white images of Jesus.. Jesus movies are good for the soul..but there is sin evident & neglected by the world. People of color are not represented not even a the Table of the Last Supper. I beg to differ..I believe people of color was discipled by Jesus. It’s ok if your pastor is white but if your people can’t lead or are not represented properly sin in the camp! If Jesus transformed himself white accept it…We do Lord!.but who will accept him if he wasn’t? When people don’t accept the least of his people of color they haven’t accepted him.

  4. pjamesiii on said:

    Finally! The Obama administration is beginning to address the “elephant” in the room. In 2014, the big corporations are still predominantly white in spite of the qualified minorities (sometimes overly qualified) vying for many of the positions. Education is supposed to be the great equalizer, but when race is a factor, there is always some technicality that allows them to keep the scales unbalanced. Many, if not all, of the programs (i.e. affirmative action) that were put in place by government to equalize the playing field (against previously established government policies that oppressed blacks) have been used and abused by whites to justify hiring more white women over black men and women while hiring non-qualified black people for positions to provide example so of why affirmative action does not work. This is a long-winded topic. Will the speeches from high ranking and public officials about equality and race be enough to begin the revolution that needs to occur….?

  5. Timekeeeper on said:

    OK. Great subject, but beware that any time you have a subject like this the Trolls will certainly be patrolloing this site and look for an excuse to be belligerent and start a verbal war over words. Be advised, the Koch Brothers and other right wing groups actually pay people to come on this site and say negative things about people of color for their own agenda. Whenver they hear certian words, i.e Holder, Obama, Trayvon, Stand Your Ground, etc they get an alert in their email. their only goal is to be as mean and ugly as they possible can and attempt to spread their cancer as far as it will go. My advice it to not even bother to respond. Their goal is not an objecitve dialogue so you can forget that. They get their kicks ( as well as a few bucks from thier right wing affiliate) for being contrary. So please be advised.

  6. Linda on said:

    The fact that Caucasians are no longer the majority in Amerykah has them showing their insecurities.

    This country is becoming more diverse and they can not tolerate it.

    The issue or RACE will never be resolved until whites can show RESPECT towards others no matter the complexion of their skin.

    We they can see that we are all HUMANS created in God’s image!

    Untl then, we will continue to see the ignorant fleas come out of the woodwork spewing their hatefulness!!!!

    In addition, once Black folks unite and begin to respect themselves and each other–no one can deny us OUR DUE!!!! —

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