Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that despite advances, the United States remains “a nation of cowards” on issues involving race.
“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial, we have always been, and we, I believe, continue to be, in too many ways, a nation of cowards,” Holder said in remarks to his staff in honor of Black History Month. His comments appear on a transcript provided by the Justice Department.
“Even as we fight a war against terrorism; deal with the reality of electing an African-American, for the first time, as the president of the United States; and deal with other significant issues of the day, the need to confront our racial past and to understand our racial present, and to understand the history of African people in this country — that all endures,” the attorney general added.
“Though race-related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about things racial.”
Holder said that the Department of Justice, in particular, bears a singular responsibility.
“And we, in this room, bear a special responsibility,” he said. “Through its work and through its example, the Department of Justice — this Department of Justice — as long as I’m here, must and will leave the nation to the new birth of freedom so long ago promised by our greatest president. This is our duty, this is our solemn responsibility.”
Holder said that the country is now a “fundamentally different” place than it used to be, but that the nation “still had not come to grips with its racial past, nor has it been willing to contemplate, in a truly meaningful way, the diverse future it is fated to have.”
“To our detriment, this is typical of the way in which this nation deals with issues of race,” he said.
Let’s become Courageous!