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Eric Holder is wrong about cowards

Regardless of what side you're on in the debate over Attorney General Eric Holder's speech last week in which he said in racial issues Americans have basically been cowards, hear me out.

I think Holder was wrong. But if that's your take, don't applaud me yet.

I get the direction he was aiming, but he missed the target. So I'm saying the overall premise of his speech - the whole speech, not just that snippet - was valid.

But where Holder went wrong was the remark about cowardice, at least where the past 25 years or so apply.

Not wanting to talk about a particular subject - in this case, race relations, racism, etc. - does not make either side cowardly.

What determines cowardice or bravery is why one side or the other (or both) doesn't want to talk.

If black folks and white folks - the two sides most often thrust to the forefront in race relations debates and discussions - don't want to talk 'cause they find the conversation weird and distasteful and too tough to start, then shame on us all.

But I don't think that's been the case. I think folks from both sides have been willing to talk about the subjects of racial differences and race relations.

What neither side wants to deal with is the crippling fear of being offensive or the major annoyance of not being understood.

Let's be blunt. No one wants to ask a question they think is gonna get them a scornful look in reply. On the other side of that coin, no one wants to explain something they've lived to someone they feel should already know the answer.

It's lose lose. The only solution, in my humble opinion, is for Congress - Ha, ha, I'm kidding! Congress bites. - to declare a one-year moratorium on getting offended over questions about race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Seriously - well, semi-seriously - we need a one-year no-harm no-foul period, so everyone can work it out.

By year's end we'll either be holding hands across America and singing Kumbaya or we'll be in civil war again.

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M@

I would rather talk to you about baseball, James.

Sometimes, discussion doesn't help to resolve issues. Too often, people go to cognitive-behavioral therapists, for instance, looking to rewire their brains. Too often, they succeed only in strengthening the neuronic (and neurotic) pathways of memory.

I don't think America gets enough credit. You go to a baseball game. You see white kids looking up to black men. Black kids looking up to a white men. And there is America.

Wavemancali

I can't agree with you James.

You say, "What neither side wants to deal with is the crippling fear of being offensive or the major annoyance of not being understood."

Isn't failure to act because of fear the very definition of cowardice? Does it matter what you are fearing when the end result is exactly the same? That no one will talk about race.

Lately I've felt that it's more of a laziness than a cowardice.

People have been blinded by a generation of people that never learned how to debate.

They don't know that it's ok to disagree and argue a point without being offensive or offended. And they're too lazy to learn how to debate properly.

I watched Maxine Waters on Bill Maher the other night comment on Holder's remark and I was a little bit enraged. She said,"You're the Attorney General of the United States of America, you don't get to say what's really on your mind." I downloaded the podcast of the episode to make sure that that quote was accurate.

How sad is it when someone from the upper echelons of government like Maxine Waters doesn't want people in certain positions to tell us what they truly think? It's maddening to me. Give me someone in power that speaks the truth about what is on their mind so that I can trust them and judge them on their words and actions rather some fake idiot being politically correct any day.

M@

I would rather talk to you about baseball, James.

Sometimes, discussion doesn't resolve anything. Too often, people go to cognitive-behavioral therapists, for instance, hoping to rewire their brains. Too often, they succeed only in strengthening their neuronal (and neurotic) pathways of memory.

America doesn't get the credit it deserves. You go to a baseball game. You see white kids looking up to black men. You see black kids looking up to white men. And there is America.

The CEO

Hi James, it's good to be back. The racial issue again. OK, I have a few comments. First, you picked black and white as the most commonly viewed racial discussion. I find where I am that it's more the Arab-Israeli issue. I agree that there is still hatred among blacks and whites, and I can tell you stories involving me where I have been told that I had to have been a bigot back in the 50's and 60's by a 30 year old, on more than one occassion. Not based on fact, just their view of history.

On the other hand, there is almost non-stop violence and blood shed between the Arabs and Israelis where real people are slaughtered. Maumbai had the terrorists searching out Americans, British, and Jewish targets in the hotels. Hatred seems to know no boundries.

There is ample evidence in this country that we discriminate against people who are fat. At the same time, over one third of the country is termed obese. We live in a country filled with hate and loathing for each other.

I am sorry to have strayed from your initial premise of race relations and cowardice in addressing the issue. My response is I deal with people from all over, India, Iran, Here, black, which, some smart, some less than smart, some old, some young, etc. I try to treat everyone exactly the same. Personally, I like the vast majority with the exception of a couple of white Americans who think they can treat everyone like garbage. I still treat them almost the same way I'd treat you (not quite as well, you I'd take to lunch).

In other words, I make my decisions about people by how I interact with them, and how well we get along. I don't care what they look like, what color their skin, or where they came from. I avoid their politics, and I avoid telling them mine. I try to find reasons to get along. I can generally get along with most people, so I guess that Eric Holder would consider me a coward. That's OK, I have been called worse. I can take it.

BobG

Personally, I don't talk about it because I don't see where it's relevant most of the time. Why should I care about someone having a better tan than I do? If you want to talk about cultural problems, then I can understand it, but to me race is just a minor difference in DNA that has nothing to do with most discussions.
Just my opinion.

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