February 19th, 2009
09:00 AM ET

'Nation of cowards'

Anderson talks with his panel members about their reaction to comments made by Attorney General Eric Holder.

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. joe

    Who cares ? Much wasted talk-Still many cling to the past.Whine and argue history just to gain or verify an agenda.Too much drama -Who needs a panel to debate any controversy?

    February 20, 2009 at 12:23 am |
  2. Vince in Cali

    I am deeply offended at the US Attorney General's characterization of America as a 'nation of cowards'.

    Mr. Holder, you sir are the coward because you can not see past your prejudice to the advances that people of color have made in this country. You sir, are despicable, and you deserve to be removed from office.

    When I voted for Obama, I had no idea Mr. Holder would consider that vote an act of cowardice. Nor did I have any idea someone with such a low opinion of my fellow Americans would be elevated to such a high position as US Attorney General.

    Eric Holder, you are a disgrace to every American that has fought and died for this country. And you deserve to be exposed for the real coward that you are.

    February 19, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  3. Marilyn Murphy

    I understand where Attorney General Eric Holder was coming from. However, I feel that he used a wrong choice of words. But I salute his candor and courage for bringing this issue to the forfront. We have come a long way in the area of racism especially with the election of our president, Barack Obama. I attended 3 Obama rallies during his campaign and it just lifted up my heart to see so many white and African-Americans coming together with the same goals and aspirations. I don't think that we, Americans, are Cowards. I just feel that many Americans feel uncomfortable when asked to address the issue of racism.

    February 19, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  4. jarrod

    I think now that we have a African AMERICAN President we drop the race issue and fix this economy but i do not beleive public officials have the right to push agenda's and i think that there is is a time and a place for it but not on my dime or others white or black.......and i do agree that becuase of slavery it is hard to break that wall down and the fact that racism seems to be a two way street but since this election there has been complaints about black history month not being long enough, and the fact is its been everyday for two years.

    February 19, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  5. Diane Hauptman

    Although I think the term "cowards" may have been better phrased, his point isdead-on.

    We interact during the workday, but on weekends seek out our own -the cultural divide has not yet been bridged, and both sides seem to be reluctant to say the wrong thing, so it's simply easier to maintain our current circle of friends,than to try and forge new bonds....I hope that this discussion will serve to make people think outside their comfort level, and that we may take a leap of faith to explore new friendships....

    No time like the present........

    Diane H.

    February 19, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  6. tracy

    Wow- Why do we have a man of this character representing us? He disgraced all of the men and woman who truly love and gave their lives for this country. He sounded like he has an axe to grind. I guess he was calling the First Lady a coward also. When she invited the school children to the White House yesterday, how many were non-black? Just something to think about........

    February 19, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  7. Mike in NYC


    You are aware that East Asians are probably the most racist people in the world, right? I don't see Chinese, Japanese or Koreans rushing to give their nations away to foreigners.

    How do you know American slavery was crueler than that practiced by others? Just talking out of your posterior, apparently.

    Get off your high horse and spare us the generic liberal lectures.

    February 19, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  8. Rusty

    Mr. Holder has earned himself a fair portion of enmity and derision. Nation of Cowards? As a white, I have felt the hatred, condescending attitude, and other-than-ness from most blacks throughout my life. The differences of race will never be solved but we can be professional and be Americans together without throwing out more labels.

    February 19, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  9. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    It was truly out of place for Eric Holder to make such a comment as the Chief Law Enforcement of the US. My recommendation to Mr. Holder is, "let he who has not sinned cast the first stone,"-–what about the last minute pardons in the Clinton Administration--one thing to be a coward--another to be a hypocrite.

    February 19, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  10. Pizzaman

    A nation of cowards is a very bold statement to make about a country that has tried to make steps toward unifying itself. A nation of cowards is also a wake up call for a country that has a identity crisis. America has elected its first "American President" and noone has realized that. Barack Obama is neither 100% white or 100% black what he is and what he represents are two of the more dominant pigments in American society. When everyone states that President Obama is the first Black or African American President, that shows that we are a country in an identity crisis. When I was in school I remember one of America's nicknames being "the Melting Pot". America is not a melting pot, America is not even a tossed salad. America is a country full of people who want to put a title before what we all claim ourselves to be, AMERICANS. Until we realize what we have here is a wonderful mix of cultures and not titles, we will continue to have an identity crisis and let statements like being "a Nation of Cowards" bother us.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  11. K-wag, Washington, DC

    Not everything is about race anymore than everything is about gender or age. Unfortunately, too many people make race their first defense. I live in D.C. I'm Caucasian. Every single day the issue of race is raised, usually unnecessarily: At the supermarket, if an item is out of stock or there's an error on a receipt, a customer says it's "because I'm black!" If there's a fender-bender accident, a screamer accuses a driver of hitting them on purpose "because I'm black!" Supermarkets in the District have predominently African- American personnel. That's the makeup of the District. Most are friendly, courteous and helpful. But there is a shocking element of workers who are blatently cold and rude to non-African-American shoppers, but then light up like a sparkler for African-American customers. Go figure. Atty Gen Holder has a good idea that was worded really badly. We aren't all cowards, Mr. Holder. Many would like to bridge the ethnic gap, but, like many Caucasians, are spurned by those we'd like to cultivate as friends or acquaintances. The response I usually get is "what for? Because I'm Black?" My question: How does Mr. Holder think we should start this evolution? As with any race, gender or age, we will continue to choose what works for us. The issue is developing TOLERANCE for the lives, histories and views of everyone regardless of our ethnicities. It also requires over-reactors to back off, think before speaking and realize that feelings of entitlement are a heavy burden to carry mainly because no one wants to help you with that load. It's going to take time and patience in the process. That doesn't make us cowards.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  12. MzKim

    One more thing, in response to the other posts here. I am so sick of Americans, yes mostly Whites, who think they are above being told the real history of this country. Sorry that as White people you have benefited socially and materially from 400 years of White Supremacy, but the truth is the truth. You didn't ask for it, you just got it. For people of color like Eric Holder who simply tell historical truths to be told to just leave this country is so ignorant and racist. if White people don't like facing up to the racist history and culture of American, then you leave. GO BACK TO EUROPE!!!

    February 19, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  13. Len

    Mr. Holder could have used another word to convey his message. America is not a nation of cowards. The history of this nation on race relations has quite a few people who struggled for justice, and few lost their lives in doing it. so "cowards" is out of line.

    However, there is a truth on Mr. Holder's message about not touching the race issue. We live under a dictatorship called "political correctness" which prevents us to express openly our feelings. We have to tiptoe in our comments, even in our jokes. We are becoming a very serious, timid country.

    Look at the Tv ads. When there is a situation that has a role of breaking the law, a black person is never shown. When there is a role of playing stupid, a black person is never shown. Why?

    The Sharptons and the Jacksons of this country has damaged the efforts and victories obtained by Dr. Martin Luther King. Those two characters are bigots, and they do not allow a black person to think for him or herself. These two clowns need to control others for the benefit of these "leaders" agenda. The promote segregation openly, and yes we do not dare to dennounce for what they are: bullies.

    I don't belong to those who say "my best friend is a black, or Jew or whatever" that is hogwash. That is fear.

    I have friends that is it. I don't segregate them by religion, color, size, language. I despise the Sharptons, the Jacksons, and the Limbaughs too.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  14. Michael Adams

    Dear AC360;

    I response about the comment made by the Attorney general Eric Holder. I as a Black man myself am the least bit offended, however I truly understand what he was trying to say. However in todays times everything we say must be said with KIT GLOVES. That's something I myself have not mastered. I was truly upset by the lack of acknowledgment from one of your paneled guest last night (Ron Christie) It really upsets me when I see other blacks that act as if we live in a bubble and Racisim is not still very much alive today. The Racist cartoon was one of many signs that we see today. I love your show pls. keep up the great work. Advit viewer

    February 19, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  15. MzKim

    I praise Eric Holder for doing what many people of color elevated to positions of power do NOT do enough, and that is to speak the ugly truth about racism in an unapologetic way. Sure, White people talk about race and diversity but only when it is "comfortable" or "sanctioned." I'm an American of Korean descent and I could tell you stories about all the stereotypical, incorrect, and racist comments and assumptions White colleagues have said to me about Blacks thinking that I was in agreement with them. They feel more comfortable with me because I am a "model minority" in their eyes . . if they only knew.Racism IS at the heart of this nation . . . it was founded on the attempt to find and colonize India or the Orient by the Spanish, cleared out for White expansion through the genocide of Indigenous people, economically developed through the most cruel form of slavery ever chronicled in human history, and further developed through the economic exploitation of Asian and Latino migrants. And I'm just getting started.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  16. Jawan

    I think Attorney General Holder has some validity to his statement. His statement is being taken out of context. If you listen and understand to the whole speech, you will know that he is only referring to Americans as being cowards when it comes to race relations. Recently, there was a NY Post depiction of a chimpanzee being shot. I think the majority of Americans believe that this caricature has a racist inference, however only a few are speaking out against it, such as Al Sharpton, Roland Martin, Civil Rights organizations, and "brave" White Americans. Others want to ignore this and say that it is just humor. Americans need to not be "cowardly" when it comes to speaking out against these portrayals of African-Americans in the media. When Americans are not speaking out against these stereotypes, they are indeed being "cowards". As a proud American, I know that this country has made great strides towards racial equality, but we can do better. God bless America!

    February 19, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  17. earle,florida

    This example (#2) is an outrageous statement by the," Nations Top Law Enforcement Officer"of how things can get out of control?

    February 19, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  18. Denise

    That's right; We are a nation of cowards, because any time a white person disagrees with a black person, it's because the white person is RACIST, and not because the black person happens to be an idiot. Really, what is this guy talking about?

    February 19, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  19. bigjoerice

    let him leave this nation of cowards if he holds us in such low esteem.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  20. Mike in NYC

    Whites are understandably reluctant to criticize blacks and other non-whites because of the price to be paid in terms of job loss, media slander, penalties under "hate" crime laws, etc.

    That's not cowardice, just officially and unofficially enforced terror.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:01 am |