CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Thurs. Feb. 19, 2009: The U.S.` first Caribbean American Attorney General stirred controversy in some quarters on Wednesday by declaring that the U.S in many way was `essentially a nation of cowards.`
Eric Holder, Jr., at the Department of Justice African American History Month Program insisted that, `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.`
`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 race,` he added.
The comments stirred controversy on the right and with programs such as Lou Dobbs on CNN, who rushed to question how Holder could make such a comment given the fact that America just elected its first black President.
But Holder, in his speech insisted that if the U.S. was to make progress in the area of race, nationals must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us.
`As a nation we have done a pretty good job in melding the races in the workplace. … And outside the workplace the situation is even more bleak in that there is almost no significant interaction between us. On Saturdays and Sundays America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some fifty years ago. This is truly sad.`
AG Holder urged that Black History month be used as a means to deal with this continuing problem.
`Perhaps the greatest strength of the United States is the diversity of its people and to truly understand this country one must have knowledge of its constituent parts,` he added. `But an unstudied, not discussed and ultimately misunderstood diversity can become a divisive force.`