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February 20th, 2009
11:55 PM ET

The racial divide vs. the generation gap

Eric Holder spoke to an overflowing crowd for Black History Month at the Justice Department Wednesday.

Eric Holder spoke to an overflowing crowd for Black History Month at the Justice Department Wednesday.

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Are we cowards for not talking more about race?

Attorney General Eric Holder says that is exactly what Americans are for not directly engaging in that thorny issue. His statement has raised a lot of eyebrows from people of all colors, especially considering Holder is the first African-American to hold that position while Barack Obama, just one month ago, became the nation’s first black president.

For many Americans – black, white and otherwise – these are signs of extraordinary progress and it hardly seems the time to be putting on a fresh hair shirt over this issue. There is, after all, that whole economy business. One could argue that the only color we should be worried about at the moment is green.

Holder is certainly right, however, when he says that we remain a largely segregated society. Despite decades of cheerful talk about better days coming, the vast number of our communities tend to be largely monochrome. Sure, you can find places where brave racial explorers have established outposts in neighborhoods where almost everyone else is a different color; you can even find some areas with dazzling mixes of ethnicities, religions, ages, and political views; but towns like that remain rare compared to the size of the country’s population.

Still, despite our bird-like tendency to flock by the feather, the attorney general may be overlooking some important signs of racial progress because of his age.

Holder was born in 1951. I was born eight years later. We’ve both been around long enough to have witnessed some of what sure-enough segregation was about: teachers telling white children to stay away from black children, racial fights raging at bus stops, restaurants where only whites were welcome, older white people openly disparaging black people and the list goes on. It is little wonder the subject remains raw for people over forty.

But younger Americans are a different story. A study by New York’s Hamilton College some years ago found that people born after the civil rights struggle of the 1960’s (which is to say ‘born into a country free of formal racial barriers’) view race in far more relaxed and accepting terms than their parents. Most favored the idea of multi-cultural teaching to reduce racial misconceptions. More than 70 percent said they would consider dating someone of a different race. Almost half said if they adopted a child, the race would not matter. All of that is undeniable progress.

To be sure, America still has real racial problems. The recent history of our prisons, our courts, our politics and social structure all say the Attorney General has a point. But for many younger Americans the change of heart he is after may already be old news.

soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. Evelyn

    Racism does exist. When you talk about BET and blacks having their own churches...and stuff what about when white america demanded that blacks come in the backdoor, drink from different fountains and don't you dare forget about ROOTS. The pain and memories do exist and our counter parts must always remember that even thou they may not have been apart of history their forefathers where. And what their forefathers lived and felt in their hearts they passed on to their children. Yes, some of that generation has not died off and those that remain are still harboring undisclosed hatred. I wasn't raised to hate but love everyone and its hard when some don't want to be loved by black people. I too wish that racism would end and that all men could just get alone. A strong discussion about racism and some very formal training should be provided to all americans. We still don't GET IT. We have to live on earth together and become helpers of one another.

    February 20, 2009 at 9:11 pm |
  2. Fay - California

    please do not insult the intelligence with this stupid statment that our younger generation does not see color and racism with them is irrelevant now because they see past that because not all of them dont.

    @Tyra, 8:35 pm, thank you for pointing out something that I was going to mention, but left out of my post. It is too simplistic and not particularly realistic to claim that "the younger generation" is totally racism-free.

    February 20, 2009 at 9:07 pm |
  3. Larry M

    1st black President, 1st AG, ect…. These are effective smoke screens that mask racial issues. Moreover, just because African Americans are progressing in society does not rid the country of prejudice toward other races. Politics aside, both black and White America perpetuate this problem in many ways. For example, Many African Americans feel that whites are boring and snobbish. On the other hand, there are many whites that think blacks are substandard and not even worthy of simple common gestures. It all boils down to misconceptions and a lack of WANTING to accept each other. To fully understand what I am saying, take a fair and unbiased self analysis of how you feel about the other races. I predict that there is a hint of racial pride in your prospective! This is the point that Holder was trying to make.
    Lastly, I hope that American can see that the media is the biggest instigator of racial tension.

    February 20, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  4. lampe

    I am a AA women, who has seen racism from both Whites and Blacks. I worked long and hard to get where I am today. I never blamed anyone for anything that I was able to change myself. Now, that being said I do have some remarks I want to make. When Blacks weren't allowed to attended all White Schools, people were mad, and went about changing the laws. No, there are Black Miss America Pagents, and Black only schools. Now, how is that right? If you want to be treated as an equal, then you must act like an equal. I am very proud of all the advancements Blacks have made,but I am also still upset that there are still so many people in this world who blame everybody else for their problems,instead of getting out there and making things happen for themselves.

    February 20, 2009 at 8:45 pm |
  5. Tyra

    As a Black Woman who is apart of this younger generation that is talked about. I date outside my race have friends of different races, but that is not to say that I do not know racism when I see it or that it no longer exist because a)its 2009 and slavery and segregation no longer exist b)majority of white america voted for our current president. So dont lump me in you catagory and I would suggest going into inner city schools and HBCU's and talk to those people of this generation that you speak of and see what they say because I gurantee that they will also say that racism still exist.

    I live in Kansas City Mo and this past October a young black man went into a Journey's to return some shoes and one of the young caucasian store clerk typed "dumb n*gger" please do not insult the intelligence with this stupid statment that our younger generation does not see color and racism with them is irrelevant now because they see past that because not all of them dont. This was done to a young black youth by a young white youth.

    I also like to add that just because I have white friends or friends from different ethnic backgrounds that accept me for me does not mean that we have moved on as a country, only that some have. We may have crossed some hurdles but doesn't mean there are no longer anymore ahead of us.

    February 20, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  6. Janet

    I see talk in these comments about "blacks and white" and "the white community" and "the black community" and this is precisely the ill we need to address. I am Caucasian (not "a white") and living in a community that is largely African American and Hispanic in demography. I live here by choice because we really do need to integrate. I could move 3 miles west and the demography would better match my own skin but we seriously need to stop that! Sometimes I am uncomfortable. Sometimes my neighbors ignore me but I don't care. If we don't integrate properly now, then when?

    I love America. I love the diverse cross section of humanity that calls America home because America is not a race of people – it's a special place where people pull together to self-regulate and dream up great things. Where the religiously oppressed and politically or socially oppressed can come and decompress and make a new life – as my ancestors have done. I am so proud of us for electing President Obama and we need to take this ball and run with it. And I might add – if you claim to be religious and yet use terms like "the blacks" or "the white people" or think everyone from south of the border is "A Mexican" then you might think about spending a few extra minutes on your knees. There is no way that God can be happy with that.

    February 20, 2009 at 8:22 pm |
  7. Dave from PA

    Fired up by AG Eric Holder's comment? Good! Now that he's got your attention, I hope that we continue to have this conversation. What many fail to see is he wasn't speaking to a specific race but all Americans. This country isn't just black and white. Let us NOT be color blind but embrace who we are and appreciate our similarities just as much as we do our differences.
    AG Holder dares us to interact with people outside of our comfort zone. Is that so bad?

    February 20, 2009 at 8:16 pm |
  8. glen

    I through his remark was fair and true just think about it. He was simply saying what everyone else was afraid of saying, on the acception of President Obama. I don't understand why so many people are making a big deal about this important issue that we as a nation should discuss on a daily basic but don't. We as America's should have been came pass this generation gap among race and learn from the past. I will be happy to have a discussion about race any day, just being it on. In addition, I know this doesn't apply to the topic that we are discussing but hears it. Did they say all this would FEMA has so corrupt that many people was waiting and waiting then get denied when they were support to me eliable for assistance thought FEMA's emergency assistance program. They simply past good funks behind, and gave to people who didn't even stay in New Orleans or Chalmette Lousiana. I am on social security as has been for years, I was not able to just get up and leave Chalmette, LA were i was staying doing the time of Hurriane Katrina. I was denied for my rental assistance because i was in school and Fema simply denied me for my second rental assistance that was to help what housing for 18 months. I really Think FEMA should get sued, and people who was denied should receive something, because they know for a simply reason that i couldn't afford to pay for rental housing especially after such ordeal. I believe just because you are trying to became an better person by getting an education to be able to live a healthy and well live you should be penalise for that.

    February 20, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  9. Fay - California

    Race is a difficult and uncomfortable subject for people to discuss and any mention of it usually leads to anger and defensiveness, but it's still critical that issues that people of all races open up and start talking. It's interesting that some people believe African Americans are constantly whining about racism, but the people who generally say that are not the ones who actually experience it–blacks aren't bringing up the subject for no reason or because they are trying to play the "race card" every chance they get–there are still instances of racism present in nearly every aspect of society–it has not changed simply because a black President has been elected–not to diminish the enormous progress that represents, but racism still a prevalent and unfortunate part of life for some individuals. It's clear that Holder's use of the word "cowards" has obscured the basic truth of his speech–that we still have a long way to go to overcome this deeply ingrained problem in our society.

    I have to agree with the commentor who expressed disbelief and disappointment in GOP pundit Ron Christie–Roland Martin's description of him as "delusional" was a HUGE understatement–it was difficult to watch him bend over backwards to rationalize the despicable NY Post cartoon–his views were completely absurd.

    February 20, 2009 at 8:11 pm |
  10. Joy in Seattle

    We are all HUMAN. Race isn't real. There is no difference between people with blue eyes, green eyes, or brown eyes. It is time to STOP talking about this disgusting topic and wipe the entire concept off the face of the earth for good.

    February 20, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  11. Michelle

    Mr. Foreman, how come CNN has not run the
    entire speech? Focusing on 3 words is bad
    journalism. This is another one of the so-called
    controversies created by lazy journalists. Look
    at how the CNN and other media outlets cover
    the issue of race. It is only when there is supposedly
    controversy. 360 was lackluster in it's coverage on
    the matter by using political pundits. Mr. Holder
    speaks the truth. In California there are graduation
    ceremonies for Asians, Blacks and Hispanics. I
    think people's environment determine how they
    feel about race more than anything. Sometimes
    people are afraid to socialize with people of a
    different race. There is a great PSA on this geared
    toward kids. Yes, America took a giant step forward
    in electing President Obama. But it does not mean
    race does not matter.If it did not , how come I have
    to fill in race for a driver's license. The media needs
    to do a better job in covering race as well. Please
    visit a high school or college at lunch and see what
    happens.

    February 20, 2009 at 7:47 pm |
  12. bronxite10

    The U.S. is an amazingly multicultural society when compared to most places in the world. Try being Chinese in Malaysia or Christian in a Hindu village in India. Consider how many Hindus are left in Karachi. How many Jews were left in Jordan after the 1948 war not to mention the other Arab countries. Consider what it's like for a foreigner to live in Japan.

    The U.S. is one of the few countries in the world where ethnicity, religion and race are not fundamentally tied to national identity.

    February 20, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  13. T.

    Of course we are, but mostly denial. Denial about race relations. Denial that the octimom had those babies to make money from the publicity. Denial that republicans will never support The President because they want to win Washington back and they can't do it if he's successful. Denial concerning republican Governor's balking at federal funds for the same reason. Denial that we are already in a depression. Denial that trickle down economics doesn't work. Denial that the previous administration kicked their friends on Wall Street some cash before they left office. Denial that the previous administration invaded Iraq for monetary gain. Denial that the monkey cartoon was racially motivated.....and so on and so on and so on...........

    February 20, 2009 at 7:40 pm |
  14. Connie

    Judges, Attorney Generals, Police Officers, ect. who cannot be color blind and non-partisian harm our country. If they cannot interpret and enforce our laws without seeing color first should they really be in these positions. I am so tired of racism this and racism that. If the New York Post cartoon had been of President Bush or Clinton there would have been no outcry. How many pictures of President Bush did we see where President Bush's expression, face and ears resembled "Curious George"? Where was the outcry then? CNN seems to try to create a great divide – American's who voted for President Obama did so to unite – but our media and now Attorney General refuse to let us.

    February 20, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  15. Kevin

    Look, for God knows how long, African Americans have been telling America that we have a serious problem when it comes to race, yet White America continues to ignore or shy away from it like the plague, until one day, somebody says a statement that rattles their cages to the core. That jolting you’re feeling right now is from Black America telling you we need to have a talk.

    Now, if you want to compare apples and oranges, Okay, let’s do that.

    There are some that say that there is no way that we African Americans can be racist; well, we can, but not to the level that we have seen that has been exuded from the likes of the Ku Klux Klan and ANY of their afiliates. We are asked why do we celebrate Black History Month. Simple: OUR HISTORY IS NOT COVERED IN ANY HISTORY BOOK, AND IF IT IS, ONLY A CLIFF NOTE. We celebrate it because we teach our children that they come from a heritage that has sacrificed alot for the sacred promise of freedom, from the dawn of the American Revolution to the Global War On Terrorism, there has not been one conflict in which we have not participated in.

    Time and time again, we have been subjected to police brutality, there is a MAJOR disconnect when it come to the justice and education systems, the chances of a majority of us trying to get an economic foothold is dispariging, there is a great schism when it comes to the hiring practice and trying to get a home loan is grievous, to say the least.

    As an African American, I find it disturbing, but not altogether shocking, that every February, some fool kicks some dust up, and through ignorance or incompitence, either come up with an image or a statement that greatly maligns us. WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH!!

    Colonel Benjamin O. Davis,Jr, a Tuskeegee Airmen, said it best, "Are we merely to be citizens when the mood suits you?".

    We need to talk, and if there is ANYONE out there who thinks that just because the nation has elected its first president of color that we don’t need to talk about race issues in this country, I like to bring your attention to the devise and racially charged presidential campaign that John McCain and Sarah Palin ran, I like to bring to your attention to the Republican Senator who came up with that damning CD about President Obama, I like to bring to your attention the cartoon that was Depicted in the New York Post, and as a result of you choosing not to talk, the fiery sermon Reverend Jerimiah Wright gave in church, the conversations we have amongst ourselves that can be heard in our barber shops and at our kitchen tables at night when we eat.

    AG Eric Holder is right.

    WE NEED TO TALK. Let us sit down together, talk about the issues that trouble us so, and come up with ways to end this matter that has been a subject of heated contention between our two peoples.

    February 20, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  16. Tony W.

    I agree with Mr. Holder's comments. Reading the comments from SN in MN is an excellent example of why we need to talk seriously about race relations and not just surperficially. Do we think just because we have an African American President that racism has vanished? I am proud of our American Citizens who saw beyond color and voted for the best person for the job. Yes we have come a long way but we have a long way to overcome subtle racism. Or make this a country where we don't have to talk about racism. Survey whites vs. blacks on racism and see the varied difference in their response. Mr. Holder's comments meant to "jog" us into meaningful dialogue to better ourselves. Let's start doing that.

    February 20, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  17. Diana in NJ

    I don't like what he had to say, but he is right. I say this as a white woman who voted for our President.. Truth does not always make us feel good.. Now my husband as a bigot thinks he had no right to say that....

    funny isn't it... Guess we need to be uncomfortable to grow.

    February 20, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  18. Kevin

    Look, for God knows how long, African Americans have been telling America that we have a serious problem when it comes to race, yet White America continues to ignore or shy away from it like the plague, until one day, somebody says a statement that rattles their cages to the core. That jolting you're feeling right now is from Black America telling you we need to have a talk.

    Now, if you want to compare apples and oranges, Okay, let's do that.

    There are some that say that there is no way that we African Americans can be racist; well, we can, but not to the level that we have seen that has been exuded from the likes of the Ku Klux Klan and ANY of their afiliates. We are asked why do we celebrate Black History Month. Simple: OUR HISTORY IS NOT COVERED IN ANY HISTORY BOOK, AND IF IT IS, ONLY A CLIFF NOTE. We celebrate it because we teach our children that they come from a heritage that has sacrificed alot of the promise of freedom, from the dawn of the American Revolution to the Global War On Terrorism, there has not been one conflict in which we have not participated in.

    Time and time again, we have been subjected to police brutality, there is a MAJOR disconnect when it come to the justice and education systems, the chances of a majority of us trying to get an economic foothold is dispariging, there is a great schism when it comes to the hiring practice and trying to get a home loan is grievous, to say the least.

    As an African American, I find it disturbing, but not altogether shocking, that every February, some fool kicks some dust up, and through ignorance or incompitence, either come up with an image or a statement that greatly maligns us. WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH!!

    We need to talk, and if there is ANYONE out there who thinks that just because the nation has elected its first president of color that we don't need to talk about race issues in this country, I like to bring your attention to the devise and racially charged presidential campaign that John McCain and Sarah Palin ran, I like to bring to your attention to the Republican Senator who came up with that damning CD about President Obama, I like to bring to your attention the cartoon that was Depicted in the New York Post, and as a result of you choosing not to talk, the fiery sermon Reverend Jerimiah Wright gave in church, the conversations we have amongst ourselves that can be heard in our barber shops and at our kitchen tables at night when we eat.

    AG Eric Holder is right.

    WE NEED TO TALK.

    February 20, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  19. jarrod

    i think President Obama needs to step in on this AG oust him . One of the Post on here said it is a step backwards and i agree with comment he made regardless whatever context you wish to list it was inappropriate and no different than the cartoon STUPIDITY

    February 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  20. Barbara in Boston

    I am a white woman and I completely agree with Eric Holder. Covert racism is a HUGE problem. I hear it from my co-workers, who tell sly jokse to one another in whispers, I see it in the faces of the all-white bank CEO's called before Congress to testify (oh, one person of color but he is of Indian descent), I see it in Whole Foods Markets where practically the only people of color are the employees, I see it in my nice upper middle-class neighborhood which is lily-white, and on and on. White people who claim there is no more racism in this country are not really looking. They're assuming that such imbalance in our society is normal.

    February 20, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  21. Miranda

    Mr. Foreman-

    It could very well be a generational divide but I do not believe so to me it is a state of mind irregardless of how much time has passed.I liked when Mr. Martin asked the question on the ac360 program a couple of days ago about "would you eat at the table with the white kids", and the african-american student said no.

    I am white yet was raised by african-americans I learned that I was different early on but that it did not matter and have seen the difficulties of all kinds of race yet love was the first and foremost thing about how I was raised followed quickly by understanding then tolerance.

    When we stop identifying people by the color of their skin which also boxes them into their own culture and instead decide who they are by their character and choices, which is their mind, then we will see people for being people and then race would not matter.We would then be united as people not by ethnicity which is divisive and only causes no good to come of anything but as just fellow humankind of one human to another in unity together as one.

    I think it was great for Mr. Holder to cause this dialogue where otherwise there would have been no self-awareness or self-examination and I respect him for being willing to speak up and do just that by calling us cowards it spurred a reaction and debate.

    Miranda

    February 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  22. Derek

    Larry, I could'nt have put it better myself. Could you imagine the outcry if whites had a tv station labeled white entertainment, or a "white history" month. All these race labeled events just create more division among races.

    February 20, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  23. Jerry EZ, TEXAS

    YES, our country is a bunch of cowards, though it is harsh, however, it is true.

    I am an American/Native/Mexican. I have grown up with many different races,color of skin, and religions one common area amongst whites is that you hear them talk about other races, talk down and compare their standing as opposed to others along with very demeaning name calling and in some cases, provoked violence occurs.

    It needs to STOP! Whites must open up a dialog and we must stamp out those that promote HATE and LIES (Republicans & Hate/Divisive groups) need to learn about the truth and what it means instead of cuddling with SATAN and his minions, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, W, and etc...

    Our country will unite and we see this as an opportunity to go forward and grow up as a country as we have right now as we came together and elected the most qualified person for President. He was elected not for the color of his skin but by the content of his character.

    "And this will be the day - this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:"

    My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

    Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

    From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

    Dr. Martin Luther King.Jr.

    I am proud to be an American and so are many others of color, race, religions, have no doubts about that, our country is growing up to be an ADULT.

    United We Stand, Divided We Fall!
    E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, ONE)

    February 20, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  24. Don Edmond

    Anderson, racism isn't old news to me. What is most alarming to this African American is how hollow the dialogue on race continues to be. On the one hand, Attorney General Eric Holder confronts a silent but strong reality about race, while President Obama evades it.

    The 2008 Democratic primary was marred by CNN and other mainstream media outlets creating a racial controversy where there wasn't one. The press turned President Clinton, once known as the "first black President" into something he never truthfully was, and smeared Hillary out of contention for the nomination. Yet suddenly the media wants to have the 'right' dialogue about race? Forgive me for being skeptical of the motives here.

    Attorney General Holder doesn't have to look very far to play a meaningful role in changing the metrics of race in America. There are tens of thousands of African American youth (like me) who are out here, with advanced degrees, PhD's and in my case a law degree who would be great role models and leaders for the generation Anderson Cooper speaks about who share a chance right now to live a life free of the shackles of the civil rights movement and achieve true racial equality.

    My question is, will he? Will Attorney General Holder lead efforts to convince President Obama that the best way to enact real change is by facilitating a real chance? More taxpayer money? Handouts? Bailouts? Quotas? Absolutely not.

    What about opportunities for OUR voices to be heard? What about allowing us to be in our communities helping? I see none of that. Was all this talk of change nothing more than politics as usual? My President seems more taken with photo-ops appealing to red state voters than focused on any notion of racial equality or social justice. That is certainly not change and I certainly don't believe in it. As then candidate Obama often said bringing change requires the political will to try something new.

    I'm still waiting.

    February 20, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  25. Robert in CA

    We all have biases and while it may be true that the generation born after 1970 may be less likely to see things from a race perspective, I think it will be there children who will see a persons character, and not race a the first factor. I also believe that we talk about race like the family's dirty laundry, it must be discussed, within acceptable circles and in a manner that only attacks that which is no longer socially acceptable. The wold will get better.

    February 20, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  26. Doona

    Racism exist because people can not let it go. Racism also goes both ways and is taught to our children by their parents. I have a bi racial marriage and it frustrates my husband when African Americans play the race card every chance they get. He had worked hard and served his country for 23 years and feels so many more people had the same opportunity as he did. Holder is right that African American history should be taught throughout the school year so lets get rid of Black history month and teach it throughout the year but reality is people will still be upset. He should have picked a better choice oe words when preparing his speech. But is a white man would have made that speech he would have been labeled a racist or taken serious but an African American speaks and we assume his word is true.

    February 20, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  27. Mr Independent

    February 20th, 2009 12:19 pm ET

    Do white americans have awards, tv stations, churches that are for white people only? IE, BET, Essence, etc? African Americans are recipients of Oscars, Grammys, etc. if those awards were for whites only can you imagine the outcry from the elder statesman of the african-american community who still live in the sixties?
    _________________________________________________

    I hate to pick "Larry" out because the above argument is voiced by many people...even minorites. But, what promoters of that argument don't understand is that black colleges, black tv stations, black churches, etc were established because blacks in America weren't allowed to participate in the mainstream establishments. These "black" institutions were formed as a direct result of segregation and discrimination.

    If you wanted to argue the fact that those organizations and establishments have outlived their usefulness I can understand your point, but it is ignorant to pretend that there never was a "white" Grammys or "white" churches or "white" magazines or "white" Oscar Awards, or "white" colleges... Just because "white" was not in the name doesn't mean that it was open to all people.

    That is why dialogue is so important...many people of all races are holding ignorant ideas and thoughts that are becoming more entrenched because they are not shared and explored. Of course some people will retain their erroneous beliefs regardless of evidence to the contrary, but I believe the vast majority of Americans are sincerely looking for a realistic understanding of the racial situations in America.

    I'm American and I love America. Our country is the greatest country now and any time in the past, but think about how much better we can be when we shed some of our dysfunctional luggage.

    February 20, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  28. Bill

    Look at the current university system in the U.S. and how for-profit universities seem to take advantage of minorities using taxpayers' dollars?

    We pay for these for-profit universities to make their profits using tax dollars while many people agree that the for-profit university students do not receive an equitable educational service in return?

    We should ask ourselves, What race compises the majority of the stockholders in these companies? and What race comprises the majority of service recipients in these companies?

    This might be a perfect example of racism based on educational services offered and provided to U.S. citizens.

    February 20, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  29. steve rodriguez

    Racism is universal! I grew up in Asia, I can honestly say that America is light years ahead of Asia on the race issue! Racism runs amok in Asia, if you think it's tough being black in America, trying being black in Asia!!!!!!

    February 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  30. atsegga

    The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

    $30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
    $550 billion: U.S. Defense budget

    February 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  31. NYC REPUB

    Well written Alan Lai!!!!!!! I need to check out San Fran sometime!!

    February 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  32. steve rodriguez

    BTW CNN there was a women beheading by her husband in Buffalo NY, but I had to read about it in the Buffalo papers or Fox TV. Why didn’t CNN cover this? You were all over the chimp story! You were not afraid of offending chimps, but you were afraid of offending Muslim. A woman lies beheaded and you were too cowardly to report it! Shame on you CNN!!!!!

    February 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  33. Ali.

    I do believe on what he say,American needs to remove out races from their heart if the they believe that this nation was blessed by Almighty God.Race still very high special in employment,some companies want you to call so that they can hear your voice, and if your voice sound as black or foreigner,they done with you! I know we have lazy people who can not do the job very good but we need to be very careful,and intelligently to select the good worker among the lazies.Throwing away all black and foreigner do no good to white at all.

    February 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  34. NYC REPUB

    Hello Mr. Anderson,
    First let me address a comment I read on this blog (Larry)pertaining to BET and the like...... these entities historically were formed due to the fact that all industry at one point was not reaching out to people of color.... There's nothing more behind that..... In this day and age it does seem a bit irrelevant now. But at one point, BET, NAACP, and medias of this nature gave people of color hope for a better life, and made lofty goals seem acheivable for us as a people.........Okay fastf oward to 2009....... Race relations are way better now....... However E. Holder was right, we still have further to go(he shouldn't have used such a tough polarizing word though)...... I'm an african american and I wish I had white,asian,indian....basically a whole diverse group of diverse friends...... More than likely I'm probably to blame for not exposing myself to more......Sheesh even in my love life, I would have love to have dated white woman(their hot), and other races,(except people of latin descent..... I guess they live where I live)...... I harbor no hate for any race.... I've just never gotten past cordial relations to people of other races,which may be due to my lack of approach...however sometimes I do feel I've been timid on breaking the ice w/ different races.........Perhaps I do feel like, "OMG I don't want them to think I'm super ghetto or gangsta, as the hip-hop generation put's it. I only hate ignorance......And that's from any man/woman of any race..... I feel we all need to realize that we are way more alike than different....... I feel the United States is definitely getting closer to being more open about race....... Today's generation is so submerged w/ each other due to shared influences, in music, role models, etc...... They will be better than us....... However we should be proud of electing a biracial President......I have to say that again b/c it felt great..... A BI-RACIAL President...Wow God Bless America. It's ironic that this one man embodies our american story, of White, Black, and even immigrant (his father was Kenyan)..... I sure hope before Obama's term(s) is up, that he will revisit race relations....... After this crisis is over that is.....

    February 20, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  35. Brian Crooks

    I also want to point out that we have a Black President that faced plenty of racism, overt or otherwise. He had to go out of his way over and over to prove he wasn't a Muslim, that he didn't want to punish Whites, that he and his wife "truly loved this country," etc. These questions are never raised about a White candidate. I can clearly recall before the SC primary, people asking OUT LOUD on TV is Obama was "Black enough." When was the last time a candidate was questioned on the basis of "is he White enough?"

    February 20, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  36. Ray

    To: Larry

    While there may not currently be any TV Stations that are "formally" for whites only, there are many that are in practice (CMA Awards, Fox News, even the Oscars.) For all the great black actors out there, I can count on one hand the number of black actors who have ever won Oscars.

    But that isn't the point. The point is that Essence, Ebony, Jet, BET, etc. exist because they were established during a time when there wasn't such a forum for blacks at all. White people don't have to establish anything specifically for them, because in a society where they are the overwhelming majority, that is the default!! Why don't you move to Harlem for 5 years, and then tell me how you feel when you encounter a friendly white person on the street.

    I wonder if you typically pose these same questions about the Hispanic TV channels, or the Asian TV channels. Or is it only when you see things for and about black people that you become so indignant?

    February 20, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  37. Brian Crooks

    I get a little upset when I hear the argument "slavery was a long time ago, get over it." (White) People seem to think that things have been totally fine for Black people since slavery ended. That's absurd. I'll make an analogy. If you're a 60 year old woman who was sexually abused as a little kid or a 60 year old man who's father beat you silly and let the dog bite you, and you still had major hang-ups all these years later because you never got therapy, people would never tell you "get over it." I'm only 23 so I didn't go through the segregation-era brutality and violence, but my dad is 58 and my mom is 57 and they both experienced it. There's an entire generation that is emotionally and mentally scarred by the kinds of things they endured in their childhood, and NONE of them got any kind of therapy for any of it.

    People need to think before they speak. My dad had fire hoses turned on him and the dogs and the clubs and the whole nine, and for people to tell him to get over it is exactly the same as telling a victim of repeated child abuse to just get over that. And not for nothing, but a simple apology would do wonders. We don't want money or anything like that, just an issued apology from the government for allowing the atrocities faced by Black Americans to stand for so many years. It doesn't need to be "White America is sorry," just "the American government apologizes." They did it in Australia to the Aborigines and it made a lot of people feel a lot better.

    February 20, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  38. Tom of Philly

    Racism is like a cancer that has been almost cleared up on the outside but still grows and eats us from the inside. The beast has changed instead of overt, sit in the back of the bus, dont live in my neighborhood, drink from the same water fountain or use the same bathroom racism. It is a hidden beast rearing its ugly head behind closed doors in smaller groups that litmus test eachother before they share their view.

    Lets have this discussion again when the next white republican president gets elected and see if he spends his 100K rennovating the bathrooms.

    February 20, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  39. Melissa

    Eric Holder is brave for saying it and those of you uncomfortable hearing it are precisely the "cowards" he speaks of. Why should we fear the charge if it is untrue. The fact is that it is true and we know it. I see it everyday in my college classroom. I have felt it as a woman and a professsional and a native american in very acute ways throughout my life.

    Holder is the attorney general and now has a legal and moral obligation to confront those issues that stand as a barrier to our ability as a society goverened by the rule of law to truly achieve "liberty and justice for all." This is a legal scholar with a keen perspective and his critique, unlike most people, is one of educated insight and integrity. Saying what is politically correct or popular doesn't serve anybodys interest in America especially in the law. He has proven that he is the right person for the job of Attorney General and though his comments may have been indelicate they were honest.

    February 20, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  40. New York, NY

    Hi Mand,

    I preface this by saying I am a brown american. Having said that, you are right. Yes, there is racism (like police brutality) but there is NO reason for violence against one another, or unprotected sex which leads/led to the impoverished nature of some of the communities of which you spoke. In the 50/60's where were the gangs? where was the teenage pregnancy in the brown community? Non existant/slim. I think that brown people have to get themselves out of their OWN situation. We can't blame it solely on racism. The supposed stuggle is bourne out of what? (Slavery? No. Segregation? No. Nothing is stopping them but themselves.) Everyone can get an education, get a job, enter a courtship, marry and raise a family. Racism isn't stopping anyone nowadays.

    February 20, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  41. Mumba

    Mr Holder remained a great man whom I will always respect at any time , any hour and any day. His words on Racism shows that he wants dialogue and solution.

    Those who are calling Mr Holder a sinner does not know what it is and what Black man and woman sees in the work place, public areas and even how hard it is to get a home. They never become victim to racism before.

    Look at the US senate which is more than 200 years old;.only two blacks have ever had the opportunity , look at Attorney general, only one Black man who happens to be Holder, Check at the entire ministries especially foreign offices, it is hard to see black people in responsible positions,, Even now that Obama is the president, he is caged and surrounded by whites. look at Black schools,clinics and of blacks locations, very pitiable, very poor and shameful.etc etc etc..

    Racism is everywhere, it is alive and very much part of Americans. Blacks are systematically put on check like the Ibos of Nigeria who are meant to be blocked from growth and development..They are kept in perpetual hindrance and every area of development are poorly or not at all provided. Even their peaceful protest and quest for Biafran nation is always responded with brutality

    Why did Katarina hurricane issue handled so poorly by the then government, Jet almost one million Blacks are languishing in prison,why is the large Black population infected of Aids in a country that is helps outside world, why are the blacks underdeveloped,

    why did the Senat seat of Obama caused such a high profile problem and why is it that the whites do not need another black man in the senate . Upon only one Black man in the Senate, they whites are still calling for Mr Burris`s resignation. When will Racism ends?

    How many Black people are in Obama`s cabinet,? Es ist Schwer. und Traurig.

    Blacks are suffering and talking of racism is very important.and it is a matter Americans should be bold to discuss.

    I hereby boldly recommend "A National conference on Racism" . American president should apologise to Black people fort the obnoxious crime of slavery which emanated racism. And the senate should pass a law which will correct all forms racism , racist words and names. They should pass a law which redefine colour and sign the Durban Treaty which Bush refused to sign.They should pass a law that will inculcate Black history in school curriculum.

    Mr Holder is right,he is a man of God, very open and also he should be given credit for his addressing this issue in the presence of African American gathering.

    May God bless Mr Holder forever.

    February 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  42. Stephon

    So.. you all think that because we have a black president everything is fair. And there are a few minorities sprinkled throuhgout at top level positions. We are not talking about Will Smith and Oprah, Obama or Clarence. We are talking about equality for regular everyday hard working black folks. Contrary to popular beleif we are out here.

    February 20, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  43. Neo

    Green is the color to focus on bc it's universal. Multiracial communities are positive. However as long as communities are thriving economically etc. it's probably best to assume that they are a successful community. Great stastics. We base things visually but it's good to know statisically that we have come a long way. It seems as if racism is in the minority, if I dared assume at this. In a short amount of time everyone will be so Happa or multiracial that they will have to come up with other terms to define themselves. Good. This shouldn't be an issue and it looks like it won't be, in time : )

    February 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  44. Yvonne

    Larry:Essence magazine was created to celebrate black beauty.When was the last time a black woman was featured on the cover of Cosmopolitian? Also, how many non-white actors have won Oscars? I was born in 1969 & I experience racism on a daily basis and it is alive & kicking.

    February 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  45. davesmith

    by no means is america immune to criticism foreign or domestic. our long dirty evil history will not allow it. speak the truth AG

    February 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  46. Yvonne

    Larry:Essence magazine was created to celebrate black beauty.When was the last time a black woman was featured on the cover of Cosmopolitian? Also, how many non-white actors have won Oscars? I was born in 1969 & I experience racism on a daily basis. It is alive & kicking.

    February 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  47. kristen

    Great blog, Foreman!
    Cowards? Some of us are. Are we as a nation? That is a trickier question and one that I don’t have enough info to answer. But I do know this, I live in a big metropolitan city, Los Angeles. Youth and liberalism are as much in abundance here as sunshine. But just driving around through different neighborhoods with eyes open you can see the separation of races, even among the folks in their 20’s and 30’s. What will it take to make neighborhoods more blended? How much push will be needed? Only time will tell. Or maybe the real discussion is not how hard racial lines are to cross, but economical lines and how one relates to the other.

    TGIF!!!

    February 20, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  48. Annie Kate

    Living in the deep South, in Birmingham Alabama, I've seen a lot of each extreme of the racial spectrum. From white people who brag about their ancestor's KKK membership to African Americans who seem to try to fulfill every stereotypical image about them – its all here with a lot in between. The in-between gives me hope because that is where the majority is – young people who look at you in surprise if you ask a question about racial divides, who have best friends and dates with people of all colors and origins, who just look at people as people and not in racial groups. Remembering the struggle to integrate the schools down here and remembering the church bombs, I think while we have not yet reached that nirvana of perfect racial equality that we have progressed greatly from where we were a few short decades ago. Perhaps our grandchildren will advance society the rest of the way to where race no longer matters.

    February 20, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  49. Joe G. (From Illinois)

    I’m one of those 43% of Americans who don’t prescribe to Mr. Eric Holder’s church teachings “Whatever they may be.” And so his words neither hurt me or surprise me.. But in fairness to all the shallow and pitiful out there currently clinching on the prospect of Obama’s Riches and Prosperity.. It seems pretty clear to me that the newly appointed Attorney General is inciting a democratic debate. An argument per say.. One of which is unlike all others. Not a debate in which a victor arises (An argument is won or lost.) But one that spurges a level plainfield. In other words, Obama’s philosophy of Nondiscriminatory Anything Goes Family Moral Values. But then if I’m correct.. Neither Obama nor Mr. Eric Holder are religious figures.. Nor were they elected as such. Having said so.. My take on all this could be wrong.. As I said before.. I don’t prescribe to the Attorney General’s religion, and I don't go to their church to listen to their sermon or intentions.

    February 20, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  50. Mario Escobar

    The cartoon, drawn by Sean Delonas, absolutely compared President Obama with the chimpanzee. This type of imagery gives continuation to a racist discourse that has been part of this country’s history. It is sad and it is not acceptable. When are we going to learn to live in peace?

    February 20, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
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