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Buncha Bigots

unicorn-rainbowEric Holder, America’s first African American Attorney General under America’s first black President, said in a speech to Department of Justice employees celebrating Black History Month, that we are a “nation of cowards”  because we don’t like to talk candidly about race.  This is wrong on so many levels.

Any time we still have to describe people and their accomplishments as “history making” based on skin color, we have a problem with race.  It’s 2009, for Goodness sakes, and we still have cause to celebrate racial “firsts.”  Not only that, we’ve barely scratched the surface; we have yet to have our “first black” lots of things, like, Senate Majority Leader; hell we’ve barely had any black Senators, given that the nation’s fifth is now president.  We, as a nation, have never had a Native American much of anything politically significant, either; the same is true for many other racially diverse groups.  And, as we all know, our history regarding women’s history, contributions, and employment issues, not to mention those of LGBT people living openly, and people living with disabilities, is woefully deficient.

But, does not talking about it make us cowards?  What good does endless recriminatory discussion do?  Does that really advance anybody’s cause, or does it merely inflame passions needlessly?

In this little community we’ve established here in this little corner of the blogosphere, nobody is required to declare their race, ethnicity, gender, or anything else, nor are they expected to check them at the door, unless they choose to, and we seem to get along pretty well.  Our commonality is based on things other than physical characteristics, like opinion and ideology.  How we think and feel is much more important than how we look, love or pee.

Barack Obama should not be president because he’s black, Eric Holder should not be attorney general for that reason, either.  Because that issue was promoted as justification for their attaining their respective positions, many of us were offended, while, to be honest, many more felt vindicated.  The disappointment was not limited to people of any particular group, though African Americans disproportionately embraced the counter opinion.  Just as many men felt, and still feel, that Hillary Clinton was the better Democratic choice, and many white Republicans felt similarly about John McCain, many black Americans, like me, feel that Barack Obama was not.  Race and gender most often had nothing to do with it.

I call our president Black Obama because his racial background played far too large a part in his election.  When he secured the nomination of his party, fraudulently in my opinion, that fraud was validated by “the historic nature of his candidacy,” blah, blah, blah.  His, and his campaign’s, deliberate, subtle, and blatant exploitation of his racial background was shameful to me.   Race should never trump integrity.  Just because we’ve never had a black president is no reason to embrace this one.

Yet, once he was elected, all sorts of racial baggage was either laid at his feet, or more often, exonerated, while the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement’s triumphs was awarded to him simply because of who his father happened to be.  His own lack of accomplishment, experience, preparedness and qualification was magically rendered irrelevant because he’s a black man.

Seems to me, as long as all we’re expected to do is talk about what’s wrong, and what has been wrong in the past, those things will continue to happen, and continue to be wrong.  Once we decide that these things don’t deserve discussion, contemplation, or consideration, there won’t be anything to talk about, anyway.  When it comes to equality and diversity, let’s all just shut up and do the damned thing.

That being said, when racism, sexism and/or any other “-ism” rears its ugly head, it should be immediately, and uncategorically, rejected by all.  The only caveat, and it’s a big one, is that “-isms” are like pornography, hard to define quantitatively.  While we claim to know it when we see it, ultimately, offense is in the eye of the beholder.  On those occasions, just like any other when one experiences hurt at the hands of another, protest is only to be expected.  Yet that protest should be limited to that particular incident; revisiting old issues only opens old wounds and diverts attention from the problem at hand, greatly increasing the odds that nothing will be resolved.  “You hurt my feelings,” will usually result in an immediate apology, “you always hurt my feelings,” will probably result in a fight.

Eric Holder said:

…”we, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.”

I think he’s half right; we, as average Americans, don’t talk to each other, period.  If we did, race would probably never come up.  And when, and if, it did, we’d probably be able to work it out.

Cross posted at Cinie’s World with one modification; I removed a link to the post below, since, it’s the post below.

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63 Responses

  1. Ironically, Obama was advertised as the “post-racial” candidate and yet race played a bigger part in this past election than any since 1968.

  2. That’s because “post-racial” is a made up, jabberwocky, doublespeak, KoolAid word without meaning, like hopium.

  3. We’ll be “post-racial” when race has about as much significance as eye color or height.

  4. We seem to be all alone. Whatcha wanna do?

  5. I’m here, but intimidated by prolific authors.

  6. Thank god Obama’s people are in charge of the diplomatic corps. They seem to have some trouble with the idea that insulting people isn’t teh best way to open up a dialogue. And that ‘we can be braver’ is a much more effective phrasing than ‘we’re cowards.’

  7. I am dropping back in. Just read this post over at Cinie’s blog.

  8. Every thing this bunch does seems to be trying to inflame racial tension. I can find no good reason for these actions other then to hurt the country.
    I really do believe backtrack was put in office to finish draining the wealth and freedoms of this country.
    Inflame racial tension, impose martial law, take away freedom.
    The American people of all colors and creeds lose.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  9. Seriously, I just read that Indonesia loves Hillary, and N Korea says they’re ready to throw down against S Korea. Hillary’s on her way there and they’re threatening missile launches. S Korea says they’re bluffing, but, who knows. What I do know is I’d much rather Hillary be going than Susan or Condoleezza Rice.

  10. Our commonality is based on things other than physical characteristics, like opinion and ideology. How we think and feel is much more important than how we look, love or pee.

    Thank you for this, cinie. You’re highlighting something very important here: the relative anonymity of posting online can be a very positive thing when thought and expression take center stage and the temptation toward human categorization recedes into the background.

    Male? Female? Straight? Gay? Black? White? Hispanic? Old? Young? Rich? Poor? Other? Unless and until we identify ourselves, we are simply human thought and expression flying through the ether, our destination a series of small glowing screens viewed by people we will almost certainly never meet and whom we can only imagine. Because we cannot see one another or hear another’s voice, we abandon our preconceptions to a degree we may never have experienced before, even when identifying details gradually enter our consciousness.

    Here at the Confluence, we are equal in one of the purest forms we may ever experience.

  11. Let’s just hope she can manage to lock up Samantha Power before she runs into the room and calls Kim Jong-Il a monster and demands unconditional surrender and public abasement. ;)

  12. I said earlier and I will say it again.

    If Obama sucks, it’s because he sucks. Not because he’s black. I’ve had with this crap.

    Hillary looks like she’s having a good time on her trip. I’m so proud of her.

  13. Uppity woman had a couple of pics of HRC meeting the Japanese Empress. She **does** look like she’s enjoying herself.

  14. Prolix, I’m intimidated by thoughtful commentors, so we’re even.

  15. I’m intimidated by thoughtful commentors too. I enjoy all the prolific authors here.

    I was just thinking as I was getting ready to wash the dishes about Why calls on r@cism were rubbing on my nerves. And I realised that it was the whole Obama will be assassinated/RFK meme. Things just went over the top, so much so that Hill could never have become VP.

    Papers like Newsweek, were saying that he might need his food tasting…. Very tired of all of this, and the use of r@cism as a pol diversion.

  16. I’m gonna try and get some sleep

    Call me if you need me.

  17. I’m intimidated by Tupperware

  18. Laurie, I believe that the first time the “r” card was played in the campaign was way back in May of 07, when Dick Durbin and Harry Reid went to Homeland Security to get Secret Service protection for Obama, though there was no credible threat issued. They claimed that because of the size of the crowds he drew, they were worried about “racially motivated” information. I did a post about it back in September, but the crux of the matter was summed up by CNN:
    ” Illinois’ senior senator, Democrat Dick Durbin, told reporters Thursday night that he relayed concerns about the size of the crowds Obama was drawing and other issues to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

    Reid decided to take the matter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff as an issue for a congressional advisory board, Durbin said.

    “I knew the crowds were large … but some of the other information given to us, unfortunately I think, raised a concern among many of [Obama's] friends,” Durbin said.

    “Unfortunately, some of the information we found was racially motivated. It is a sad reality in this day and age that Mr. Obama’s African-American heritage is a cause for very violent and hatred, hated reactions among some people.”

    Durbin would not elaborate. “I’ve been advised not to talk about any specific security problems or any threats,” he said. He also would not say how he received the information, only that it was from “credible sources.””

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/05/03/obama.protection/index.html

    Gimme a break. Racially motivated info only they had access to? It’s not like they would have any incentive to lie, is it?

  19. I’m going to attempt to lighten to mood a bit (for those of us left). Somebody got the amusing idea to spoof Battlestar Galactica with McPalin–twice. They’re pretty entertaining actually.

    They apparently have a plan

    No, no they don’t

  20. Alas, I’m so confused as to what the hell is happening on BSG.

    I do know I’m gonna be unhappy when it wraps up. :-(

  21. This Holder speech is assinine. He’s worried because we don’t spend time with our co-workers on the weekend??? Maybe it’s not because we’re afraid to socialize and talk with people of another r@ce. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because that’s the ONLY time people have to get done what needs to be done around the house. Or maybe, like me, we’ve seen enough of our co-workers during the week and we’d like to spend some time with our FAMILIES. Segregation, my @ss.

    I am soooo f*cking sick of these imbiciles calling people r@cist.

  22. Think they’re pulling a “Dave” in North Korea with a Kim Jong-Il look alike, as they prep one of his son in laws for succession. A little extra saber rattling to deter people from nosing around while they’re in the changing room.

    Hillary will be fine in Seoul. She lands in a few hours, so gotta hustle over there with the ride. Tomorrow, among the planned events, she’s having lunch with the Prez, totally unprecedented for a non head of state. She does seem popular, wherever she goes.

  23. I doubt that the likes of Obama, sharpton and Holder want racism to end. Why should they, this how they make their living.

  24. 3Wickets – Hillary is very loved down here in Oz. I don’t think they would have minded one bit had she been the President instead of PBO.

  25. Why should they, this how they make their living.

    That’s like saying that doctors don’t really want to cure cancer.

  26. As everyone know from the “Adult Bible Stories” that as the sun was setting onn the 6 day G-d/dess called the pinicale of her/his creation man and womyn forward…

    And the Creator Spoketh “Lo Eve and Adam I have set creation in motion and all my work is near finished…In this sack there are but 2 miricales left…ye shall each get one for yourself with the remaining going to the other…who shall choose.”

    Spoketh Eve “I shall let this man creature go first as he wrongly believes he is my master and I chooseth to humor him”

    The creator Spoketh to Adam “Man ye shall choose the first of these miricles is the ability to pee standing up…”

    Adam intrupts G-d/dess-“Yippee! I want that I dont care what the other one is I want that I want to pee standing up!”

    So the Creator raised his hand and a mighty thunder clap let forth and she/he said-“So Let It Be Done!-well Eve I guess you get stuck with MUTIPLE ORGASMS!”

    thus spake the prophet!

    morning fuzzy has allergies and a head cold!

  27. my next Adult Bible Story” will be about how Mrs Noah built the Ark with her sons wives while Noah Supervised and at the end was pad only 69 cents on the dollar and taken fora 40 day ride!

  28. Fuzzy:

    Men have multiple orgasms – just not at the same time.

  29. Hi all,
    I know the MSM is not really following Hillary’s trip to Asia but the following sites have day to day stories & beautiful pictures of all her stops:

    allthingshillaryclintonDOTblogspotDOTcom
    secretaryclintonDOTblogspotDOTcom

    and of course stateDOTgov

    Enjoy!

  30. dont tell the sec of treasury he thinks woman are not good at math

  31. I will admit to being a huge fan of Cinie!!!

  32. I will admit to being a huge fan of Cinie!!!

    Isn’t everyone?

  33. I am a fan of yours as well. But then I love Raisinettes.

  34. Excellent post!
    It has and still does bother me that Obama has gotten away with using the race card. He says he identifies himself as being black. But, is he really? To me, a black person is risen from the persecution that the person’s forefathers suffered as a result of enslavement. (That doesn’t mean it should be used as a crutch, rather a stepping stone). By that definition, Obama isn’t black even though he calls himself such.
    Furthermore, to identify oneself, in the whole, as one set of parameters – ie saying that he is black, isn’t that an archaic mindset put in place by the old slavemasters?
    Not acknowledging, except when convenient (ie “mutt like me”), that he is bi-racial has set into motion a poor precedence.

  35. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think Holder was veing venal. But I do believe race was exploited shamelessly during the primaries. Shamelessly, because while claiming to be post-racial, they used the race card to silence and intimidate the opposition.

    I do think that one good point was made by Holder namely that our communities are still largely segregated. When my family moved into this Flatbush section of Brooklyn in the late 60s, it was a mostly white and Jewish community. In less than a decade, it was all black and remains so.

    I’ve always admired my one white neighbor who refused to be scared away, pushed out or whatever term you want to use. He and his wife were the last remaining white people on the block until they moved to Virginia two weeks ago.

    We’ve come a long way, but race still looms large in every thing that we do; that’s just a fact.

  36. I pretty much agreed with the sentiment in his speech, but he exercised poor judgement with his word choice. It’s hard to start a dialogue with someone when the first thing they do is call you a coward.

  37. Great post – I especially liked this:

    When it comes to equality and diversity, let’s all just shut up and do the damned thing.

  38. I would also add that when it comes to discussing misogyny and homophobia, there is no bigger coward than Holder’s boss….

  39. Joanie: The irony is that unless someone reveals their ethnic identity online, I have no idea what color they are. Nor do I care. This blog is a mixture of every stripe and what makes it unique is that it is what flows from their heads and hearts that draws us, not the color of skin.

    Most of us here, I believe, would like one another in real life as much as what is shown online. A meeting of the minds so to speak.

  40. gary: I had dinner with my son the other night and I found myself tearing up just considering that someone may hate him just because of who he is. He had no idea what caused this little fit of emotion but it made me realize how much hate there is in this world against someone who has no control over his gene pool.

    It makes me angry and sad at the same time. Does that make sense?

  41. I think Holder was trying to grab the headlines.

    But he did make me angry. Speak for yourself, Eric.

  42. I do think we would like one another, Pat. I agree completely. I do wonder, sometimes, though, let’s say we encountered each other someplace, PUMA identities unknown to each other, would we like each other? or would the physical characteristic ie. race, gender, age, accents, prevent that from happening?

  43. Pat, it absolutely makes sense. injustice has a way of eliciting those emotions in fairminded and caring people. Your son is a lucky guy :)

  44. Having known my son since the day he was born, I consider myself the lucky one.

  45. Joanie: Good point. Pre conceived notions often get in the way of reaching out. But wouldn’t it be nicer if they didn’t?

  46. Joanie, when mawm and I went to Unity NH last year–two southern gay boys who had never ventured that far into yankee territory–we met a group of men and women of different backgrounds and races (not to mention accents I thought couldn’t possibly be for real), and we all got along famously. That trip was one of the best experiences I had last year. So I feel confident that most of us would get along…

  47. People self-segregate. Unfortunately it appears to be something humans naturally do, identify with people who look like them and categorize those who don’t. It’s why I’ve spent a lifetime answering the question “Where are you from?” They’re trying to figure out which box I go in.

    As commenters have already mentioned, I spend all week with my co-workers. I want to spend time with my family on the weekend. I’m really getting sick and tired of the finger wagging this administration engages in and we’re not even two months into it. Are they really going to scold us for the next four years?

  48. garychapelhill, on February 19th, 2009 at 8:47 am Said:
    I would also add that when it comes to discussing misogyny and homophobia, there is no bigger coward than Holder’s boss….

    Excellent point, gch.

  49. I think the problem is people talk to much about race. gmx17 is right: people self-segregate. And that is sad.

  50. where was eric and his conversation when they were calling hillary and bill r@cists? Why didn’t he step forward and lead the nation in a conversation then?

  51. Offended by Holder’s comments??

    Call the White House and let them know:

    202-456-1111

  52. Yeah, I really feel like having a conversation about race when any criticism of someone black is met with accusations of racism.

    So, you are a coward to not talk about race, but If you mention that Obama used race to get elected you are metaphorically clubbed over the head.

  53. Mawn: yup, catch 22, I talk less about r@cism now because the charge gets thrown around regardless of the topic … critique obama’s policy or decisions, you’re a hater !

  54. Thank you, Gary, I like to think so too.

  55. While we are on the subject of race. Can I say that I hate the expression “people of color”. What does that mean? The only thing I can think of is “not white”. I really don’t want to start using phrases that pit whites against anyone who isn’t. I think the expression is extremely racist.

  56. I forgot about the banned word and I’m stuck in moderation.

  57. I found Holder’s choice of words to be very provocative. Cowards? Why that label?

    My second idea was picturing what Stewart could do with this juicy bit.

    My third thought was: Thank Gosh, he shamed everyone, since I was getting tired of everyone picking on anyone with a Southern accent or who hadn’t gone to an Ivy League school as racist.

    Strange speech, eh?

  58. I found his comment to be arrogant.

    Mr. Holder would never invite me and my husband to his home for a weekend barbecue.

    Not because of our color, but because of what he would perceive as our “class.” We’re quite unpretentious, do not namedrop (although we could), and don’t play the crowd at the barbecues for our own advancement. But we are interesting people.

    “Separation” comes in all shapes and colors.

    Bad choice of words on his part. It won’t gain any allies, and it won’t help Obama.

    I suggest Mr. Holder take his cues from Bill Cosby instead of Jesse Jackson Jr.

  59. Obama has gotten by on affirmative action and in your face race-baiting all his life. If we were to actually unseal all his records and find out the truth of his “life story”, we would find a much different story of his life than the one he chooses to tell. He said he was president of the Harvard Law Review, yet how did he get that position? Was it the same way he got to be US president, by lying, scheming, race-baiting, intimidating, guilting people into giving him a chance? MLK said NOT to judge people by the color of their skin, and yet that is ALL Obama’s presidency is about. I do not believe that Obama’s presidency ends all the issues about race in America. White people in large numbers opened their hearts to Obama, just like white people embraced O.J. Simpson, and look at how that turned out.

  60. CINIE: ” he’s half right; we, as average Americans, don’t talk to each other, period. If we did, race would probably never come up. And when, and if, it did, we’d probably be able to work it out.”

    And THAT hits the nail on the head! Thank you for a well considered post.

  61. Holder: Bork, bork, bork.

    OMG, I will be glad when PostRacil History Month is over.

  62. Lady parts scare me

  63. I’ve noticed the two biggest factors for self-segregation are class and age. People often have friends of different races, nationality, and creeds but they often will have the same education-level, types of occupation, and comparable income. In fact, some fields are well-insulated. Take for example medical professionals. Doctors marry other doctors, nurses, or even medical case workers. Often they marry within the same hospital. The only color that matters is blue or white collar.

    Then most people tend to pick friends within their age group. How often do you see best friends where one is 50 and the other is 30? How often do you see close friends with a 10 year gap? I’m partially guilty of this as I don’t but casual acquaintances under 27 and I’m 34. However, I have great pals in their late 40s-60s. Cultural tastes and life experiences have much to do with this.

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