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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. NC VET

    HEH !Dave i can get over racisim but it always show its ugly face. im from NC and i can show you towns in my state if you are black you might get ran out of town. so dont sit here and tell me we cant get over it. tell your white counter parts to get over it. and you no whats sad most of us just want to work and live a comfortable life but cause the color of our skin we are denied jobs.

    February 23, 2009 at 7:38 am |
  2. Ckelly

    If we are going to have a discussion about race, discrimination etc..then lets have a REAL conversation that hears all sides and all stories: its not just a black versus white issue..there is the First nations and their genocide; the terrible treatment of the chinese building the railroads...the discrimination and prejudice against the Irish when they came to this country. A race of people in their own right oppressed for 800 years before escaping to the new americas to face more hatred..the imprisonment of the Japanese during WW2...the zenophobia towords Latinos and Arabs....this is a class issue and a fear issue....There are many, many well educated and sucessful, wealthy black people in all areas of politics, medicine, finance, business, professional teaching, medicine, science, entertainment and sports...the list goes on...yes, there are poor blacks who face discrimination and their are plenty of poor whites that face discrimination too. Are you smart enough? rich enough? thin enough? politically correct enough? talented enough? young enough? Somehow being "white enough" seems to matter alot less than it did 50 years ago. Lets get up to speed with the real issues.

    Being born female is still the greatest indicator of inequality out there.
    I predict that gender will be replaced with age as the greatest indicator for inequality in the future.

    February 23, 2009 at 5:11 am |
  3. A. Jones

    I think that some people may have been surprised by his candor on the racial topic as we have spent a lot of time trying to make sure that we don't mention it. To our progress, it is not always on our minds as it was more obvious in the past. However, we continue to have disparities that influence the progress of some groups of people. For this reaason, we need to continue to mention the not so obvious only as much as we look to improve those conditions for all. For example, it was mention on Don's disucssion of this comment, that our prisons are still disproportionately filled with men of African-American heritage. Children with disabilities are disproportionately identified to be mentally retarded around the county. These are the reasons we must never put a blind eye to issues when we can make a difference. After all dignity and respect begins not at the press conference but in the back room of the school and in the small corners of our homes where we may forget who once resided there.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:02 am |
  4. George in Valdosta, Georgia

    SUBJECT: A Special Prayer on Behalf of President Barack Obama our 44th President

    O Lord, we know thou are perfect and without fault like Rush Limbaugh, Hannity of FOX News, Columnist Star Parker, Armstrong Williams, Glenn Beck, Pat Buchanan, Pastor Hagee, Lou Dobbs and others.

    However, after placing President Barack Obama under the conservative microscope we found many faults and imperfections in him. And so we demand that you (GOD) apologize for creating such an imperfect PRESIDENT.

    As Patriots and Christians we discovered irrefutable proof. That President Obama ears are too large or too small, he is either too fat, or too skinny, too tall, or too short, over qualified to be president, or not qualified enough, too late, or too early, too Black, or too White, too criticized in the media, or not criticized enough, too smart, or too dumb, too far left, or too far right, too cool or not cool enough, he is either from Hawaii, Mars or Kenya, if he goes up, he should have gone down, if he goes in, he should have gone out. But we always find something wrong and nothing right with this-your imperfect created being.

    He is ether a Muslim or terrorists, he is either with us or against us, he tries too hard to win over republican, or he does not try hard enough, his speeches are too long, or too short, he is too confident, or not confident enough, he is too family oriented, or not family oriented enough, he is too liberal in spending tax payers money, or not liberal enough, he is too patriotic, or not patriotic enough, he either wakes up too early or sleep too late. But we always find something wrong with him and nothing right.

    He danced too good at the Presidential Balls, or not good enough, he either dress too good, or not good enough, his smile is too accepted by the American people, or not acceptable enough, he is too loved, or too hated, he respects Muslims too much, or not enough, he associates himself with too many different religious leaders from various religions, or he does not. But there is always something wrong and nothing right with our 44th President of the United States.

    Unlike The Honorable Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other perfect human beings. So please O Lord, make President Obama perfect like President Ronald Reagan, Hannity of Fox News and others.

    So, Lord, if you do this. We the patriots and Christians will preserve family values. And join you in your holy and conservative world in the hereafter. Amen, God bless America and thank you (God) for your service.

    GBR
    Retired United States Armed Forces
    A concerned citizen and brother of all humanity

    February 22, 2009 at 9:59 pm |
  5. mi ronn

    I agree with everything the att. gen said at news conference a few days ago. regarding americans & race.

    February 22, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  6. Liz

    By the way, Kathy, Jewish History month is in May. 😉

    February 22, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  7. Liz

    The people who comment here saying "stop playing the race card! just let it go! slavery is over, people!" just make me laugh. I experience racism nearly every day (and I don't even live in the Deep South) and I'm supposed to just laugh it off or keep it to myself? Why? Why shouldn't I be allowed to bring it to attention?

    I'm biracial and I grew up in many different environments and see myself first and foremost as a human being. I am not bringing anything upon myself or playing any sort of race card when OTHERS discriminate against ME. It's ridiculous how some people insinuate that racism is the victim's fault for not 'letting it go'.

    February 22, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  8. LaKeisha from Ohio

    Although I understand what the Attorney General was trying to say, better word selection was needed to prevent the play on words that is happening today. The real issue that the Attorney General was trying to highlight is that we have more work to do when it comes to race relations in this country. Many people are saying that well "there is a black President" so there is no race issue any more. WRONG!! I think we have started to talk about race relations in this country and by having a black President; this will help us start the discussion with more ease.

    However, what are we talking about? This is what the Attorney General was trying to get at. We have to have more substance in what we talk about and not talk just for the sack of talking. I work for a company where there is still inequality when it comes to the sheer numbers of blacks and whites employed. Many of times I find myself in the room of about 30 or 40 people and I am by myself....where there are no other blacks represented. Then I am approached by the others in the room with caution. This has been the case for years, even in college however, I believe I am not lucky to be the black in the room but that the others are unlucky due to they are missing out on the chance to interact with other blacks. Sometimes this is a problem, if the one black in the room doesn’t represent well, it leaves the others with an inadequate impression which they roll forward to each situation they have when they encounter a black person. Just like we come in multiple shades, we also come with multiple backgrounds, values and personalities.

    I believe that criticism of the word selection used is warranted, it is only fair but let's move on and not miss the greater point here or the bigger issue............we have to move race relations forward in this country and this could be the best time to do so.

    February 22, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  9. David

    Cowards might be an accurate description of Americans when it comes to the issue of race. I think a lot of the problem is that white people have almost nothing to gain from even bringing the subject up. If minorities really want to talk about race, sex, religion, ect., they are going to have to accept that they are going to hear things they don't like and disagree with, and they should stop going into attack mode every time this happens. Pointing fingers and calling people racists doesn't really help keep a reasonable and civilized conversation about racism going.

    February 22, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  10. Gail Ellis Duncan

    Worldwide, there appears to be a inside struggle concerning race since his-tory has been distorted somewhat to have one "class" of "people' appear better than others. This has generated anger and resentment. Until we all can see each other as one in spirit and treat one another as equals......the divide will continue. There is a shift occurring that is forcing us to look outside the box and embrace all cultures so as to establish lasting peace within our global planet. We all must 'know ourselves' and be honest from within before we can embrace the idea of a unified planet with all working as one yet still maintaining our individuality. This should be our aim and objective if we are to save this planet. It will take time but change is a way of life.

    February 22, 2009 at 4:46 am |
  11. mparkinson

    hang in there everybody, a new dawn is here. Old wound will healed.ONE LOVE.

    February 22, 2009 at 3:19 am |
  12. steve rodriguez

    Hey Eric Holder: We voted for a Black man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 22, 2009 at 2:11 am |
  13. mel lissner

    If Eric Holder has "us" as a nation of cowards when it comes to race discussions, let him discuss the issue with a 70 year old Jew, me, or, is "he", too, cowardly, and unwilling to accept my offer. I taught school in Newark, N.J. during the race riots! I have been teaching anti-discrimination in Real Estate for over 25 years. As I'm writing this I am watching Larry King and Tyler Perry, and feel inspired and hopeful while listening to this wonderful young man. While Eric Holder does have a point, he needs to rethink his comment and address the issue in a way that inspires "us" to want to be better. Also, as I begin my new career in my 7th decade as a life coach, I offer my services to Mr. Holder free of charge!!

    February 22, 2009 at 12:53 am |
  14. JM

    I gotta tell you, if you’re going to stand for something then stand for it across the board stop all this pick and choose. The cartoon that depicted the monkey shooting and the statement made by the Attorney General are one in the same both messages are derogatory in nature and have malicious intent. You cannot okay the one while condeming the other or comdeming the one while okaying the other got it so get it stand for it or stop it.
    As a post-op TS I have endured discrimination abroad from all groups of all kinds even the ones that lay claim to being discriminated against the most you would think they would be the least likely to commit a discrimatory act given their own trials but they are the first in line to discriminate against me how about that, now is that not the kettle calling the pot black?????

    February 22, 2009 at 12:49 am |
  15. Martin

    The cowards are the AFs who are still blaming the White population for the drug use, unmarried mothers, criminal activity, school drop-outs, etc of the young people of AF families.

    February 22, 2009 at 12:32 am |
  16. Vince

    Not sure if Holter should have used the language he used. We need to confront the race issue yes, and as long as we keep having the conversation that is an important step. When people stop talking about it and go back into their own corners and comfort zones, that allows the issue to simmer and explode.

    February 21, 2009 at 11:05 pm |
  17. Jun

    An honest talk? He doesn't mean that. If it were to be an HONEST talk, he wouldn't want to hear that it is time to stop making excuses, time to stop the self-pity whining and get to work because his race is NOT the center of the universe, nor the ONLY minority in America. The Obama election has done so much good for American Democracy and Holder is showing the ugly underbelly of his own white racism.

    I want to know what stories are being told in the African American culture that keep brewing anger and division and this low self esteem in each generation? It's like the Chinese Americans, Mexican Americans, Indian Americans and Vietnamese don't count as minority groups in the eyes of leaders like Mr. Holder. What about what those races have overcome? Honestly, let's talk about how those who built the Union Pacific Railroad in pseudo-slave conditions are now the most successful people in America. Asian Americans faced huge discrimination in California during the 1850's. Then, 100 years later, whole families lost their homes and businesses when they were forced into camps during WWII. In fact, they are now out working African Americans to the degree that spaces in top colleges are being kept from other 'minority groups' to make room for African Americans because it is not enough for them to earn their way, they want VIP victim treatment. We are sorry. Move on.

    February 21, 2009 at 11:01 pm |
  18. mike d utica ny

    Hello everyone. I think it is time to end the racism in America. I believe it is horrible and very detrimental to the cause of making this country stronger. The problem is racism is so deeply embeded into the minds of Americans and non Americans from all races it is hard to control. I have seen it personally to friends of mine back in the 70'S. I myself being of Italian, French, Irish and native descent saw hatred directed at me because of who my friends were growing up in the 70'S. People who are filled with hate no matter if they are African, Polish, Italian, German, ect... Do not care what you or I think. They will fight for their cause to the death just as the nazis did for their evil ways. Or just as the kkk did for their belief's. The unfortunate reality is it will not go away in this world system. I did my part by writing a book against racism in early 2000. It is called The-Multi Colored Cross. If you feel the need to do something than do it, but do it humanly and moraly just as Martin Luther King did. A man who had the same belief's in the same God and Lord I do.

    February 21, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  19. Bashir

    Watching americans argue about issues affecting its citizenry is amazing,variety of opinions either good or otherwise,anyway from my own viewpoint the AG hasnt committed any blunder by throwing up this question.Am nigerian,while i havnt seen any prejudice based on my colour largely because i live in my country,my folks&friends residing in the US do complain of such shameful treatment meted to blacks.America attained it present status through the use in part of black men &women shipped across the atlantic over 400years ago,they did defended the unity of the country during your civil war,and if am not wrong they constitute part of the military men in iraq&afghanistan.So Eric was right because you dont ask people who give their life to be second class citizen just because they have different colour of skin.Also african-americans,latinos,indians contribute to the economy just like any other whites.so the issue should be discussed and appropriate law should be enacted to sanction anyone using racial comments.

    February 21, 2009 at 10:07 pm |
  20. Wardell katrina Survivor

    Kathy, you miss the point,whether you know it or not, the home you grew up in has had an adverse effect on you, it's not black history month, it's american history month, and the look in the mirror is evil, ugly, an disgraceful,no other ethnic group, other than NATIVE AMERICANS, INDIAN, have endured, more than black folks (in) this country, you get to assimulate,I'm a black, black man, want to trade places, I don't think so.You see in the deep south, rather than look in that mirror, everybody else just turned their backs, and assimulated, your sick of it all because it's not you and your children experincing these horrible things that are still happening to black folks all over this country, did you hear about the white man in NewYork , step out of his door, and got shot 41 times, by the police, NO , because it was a black man, not you child,did you hear about the white kid who came down to NewOrleans, from Georgia,to hangout in the FRENCH QUARTER,and two500lb men and one200lb man smash the life out of him, while the policeman turned his back, it's on film,NO,it was a black kid, not your child,his mother would like her child back ,did you hear about the old, old retired white school teacher,back after katrina to soon, in the FRENCH QUARTER,trying to buy cigarettes, got banged up against a brick wall, and repeatedly punch too the face, by NOPDand FBI,I'm sorry it was a old, old BLACK man, guess what they were found not guilty, change of venue, your sick of it because these things don't happen to you and your children,so it continues,down here four little girls got blown-up in church, the world saw it, horrible than ,still as horrible now, but it's not televised,you are not interested in AMERICAN HISTORY, it's still being written,stay tuned, or turn your back.GOD, help US.

    February 21, 2009 at 9:18 pm |
  21. Joel Radney

    As an "American", I am sick and tired of the word "African American". What does the black community think of the Americans that were born in Germany, India, and other countries. Do they think that just because they are black that they are special? They don't seem to understand that all of us who are not black love who we are, but we are not German American, or any other type American. WE ARE AMERICAN!!!!!.

    February 21, 2009 at 8:26 pm |
  22. KIm

    Today you're the color of a rainbow !

    February 21, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  23. Carolyn

    The election of Barak Obama, did not surprise me. It wasn't a shocking event when 52% of Americans of every flavor voted to elect him. All along, I saw Americans as Americans just fulfilling their civic duty of voting for the individual, and consequently for the party, they believed was the right one for the times. The Presidency is not a person but an Office. I firmly believe that thinking Americans didn't vote skin but what they reasoned to be the right choice.

    No candidate's personal characteristic marked a single voter's ballot. Each voter, in secret, marked their own ballot and cast it to be counted. In this democratic way, Barak Obama was elected to fill the Office of President of these United States. That is the fact, the reality and the voice of our nation.

    Rather than believing in any person, I believe in the idea that is America. The idea that receives periodic checkups and maintenance by calling on its citizenry to elect fellow citizens to fill its government Offices.

    I had no doubt that Barak Obama could be elected, so it was no surprise to me when he was. To me, it was all just another normal election process except, that is, for the grossly engorged and obscenely obese lady named Dollar singing...

    BTW, have you recently heard the phrase: "Well, we won, so ...." The election was not a landslide mandate although the results were decisive. Let us unite to stand guard against establishing “a tyranny of the majority.”

    February 21, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  24. Mike, Syracuse NY

    @lampe. Well said. I believe that what a person makes of their life is 95% in their own control, and 5% due to what happens to them. When I see people like Sharpton whining about a newspaper cartoon, yet doing nothing to combat rampant AA dropout rates and illegitimate births, I wonder how he can be viewed as a leader. The legal framework for equality is now in place, the rest is up to the individual.

    February 21, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  25. Angie

    Not all blacks take advantage of so-called minority "hand-outs" for college, etc. I personally have not and don't know of any at the colleges I've been to that exist. I for one don't know personally any black person that is sitting around waiting for assistance and hoping for a hand-out. The fact that we have Essence and Bet, etc is only because when they were founded blacks were being left out. They are still around because they are successful. And I don't personally believe that BET/Essence are only for blacks, just mostly. If a white person sings R & B, Hip-Hop, etc., then they are featured in these magazines/networks. For example, John B or Robin Thick. And if we do get a little bit more "assistance" than whites, then get over it because we wouldn't have to if the doors hadn't been closed to us in the first place. Procedures were put in place to try to even the playing field for blacks; they wouldn't have been needed if things had been fair in the first place. I for one don't need or want them but others may and I say in some cases it's justified. Everyone is racist in their on way and that's just life.

    February 21, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  26. velez

    What is CNN's responsibility to stop the division? In the U.S. alone, we are now the DIVIDED STATES OF AMERICA. Rich vs poor, democrat vs republican, black vs white, wall street versus main street, conservative versus liberal, large families versus small families.

    February 21, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  27. Noel Anthony Haughey

    I hope Anderson Cooper reads my blog....I admire Anderson Coopers AC360 CNN Nightly News bringing the dark truth to LIGHT IN AMERICA...

    Noel Anthony Haughey

    February 21, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  28. Mark

    As a Hispanic and attorney, I did not have an easy life with racial prejudice lurking around but it is unfortunate Holder has a chip on his shoulder and doesn't see what accomplishments have came with all man and woman of every walk of life. His comments are pointless and are a disgrace to all real American heroes unlike what he has proved to be. DISGRACEFUL!

    February 21, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  29. Everett Richardson

    The reaction to the comments made by the first black attorney general were spot on. People tend to say that racism dosen't really exist so much in the U.S., but the fact is passive racism still exists. "A nation of cowards", that is how I would describe it in a way also, because people would rather stay inside of there own comfort zone then to truely understand why things are the way they are. The racism that is experienced in this country has many roots, and most are social and economic in nature. Example's of segration are everywhere, but most people would say that is a self inflicted issue. Poor spanish families living in one neighborhood, poor blacks living in another, and upper class whites and asians living in another. In short though.....We as a country are divided on all things because of class issue's, morals, and our overall and underlying inability to understand that we are not different in the fact that we wish to be all the same; to be happy in our lives.

    February 21, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  30. Katy

    The media report on missing children, example of Cassey Anthony. They have a long period of report time / air time on this case, for example. The missing little girl was a cute little white girl, but what about cute little Black / Asian / Hispanic / other ethnics little girls? will the media spend their expensive air time to report in details? not a case; it is also same for big white girls too.

    It it is not racism, then what?

    First the media must have a courage to report / face / talk openly about race.

    If any one does not see the recent cartoon about a white police man shooted a chimp with the message, as racism, then AG Holter's message "nation of coward" is true.

    February 21, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  31. Kimberly

    I agree with Larry's comment. I feel that Blacks have TV programmes just for them and awards and even an entire month, but apprently that's not enough. It's not enough for us to finally have the first black president either. The Jews and the Holocost ... now there's a group that deserve a month. Holder's comment was completely inappropraite. Let me ask you this ... How many times has Al Sharpton rallied for a white person? Maybe Holder should start with him.

    February 21, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  32. jarrod

    why do we use the words "Celebrate black hisory month" when thier is nothing but horrible memories regardless of strides of accomplishment...I am not a racist but i am tired of everytime i turn the television its black,black,black and its turning to blah,blah,blah......

    February 21, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  33. Katy

    It is true in AG Holter message. the "race" subject is hidden under the rug / table for long time and now one has the courage to face it. It happens in the work place more than any where else. At the surface, management team saying they support diversity, EEO, etc, but when the performance review / promotion review, salary review, etc, at the end of the year, "standard" people often get higher performance / promotion, higher salary raise. the "others" have to work double / triple hard to prove they are competence in compariing with the coworkers. So unless, American face/deal/talk about the "race" opening then this national is "courage". I find Ron Chistie is ignorance and stupid with his comments. What planet is he living on. To me he is in a denial stage and blind, although he is black and talk like white. I switched channel when he opened his mouth on Cooper & Brown shows.

    February 21, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  34. nate

    I think he must have meant elected cowards ,affraid of addresing our severe border problems, heck illegals can now sue us for turning them in!!! DISGUSTING

    February 21, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  35. Larry L.

    All the LARRY'S on this blog AGREE !!!!!

    February 20th, 2009 8:55 pm ET

    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 21, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  36. Deborah Marquit

    Will someone at CNN instruct everyone that it is totally inappropriate when speaking about President Obama, to refer to him as 'Mr.' Obama. This is totally disrespectful of the position he holds. Please correct it!

    February 21, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  37. Virginia in Tennessee

    I'd like to say two things here this morning –

    First, how to contact CNN on-line? It shouldn't be this difficult. Other networks make it easy to contact them. I don't believe that CNN is very anxious to hear from viewers; they'd much rather impose THEIR views on US than hear any of our views.

    Second, I wish CNN would give up the obsession and worship of BLACKS. I'm weary of hearing black, black, black, racism, racism, racism...so I keep the remote control in my hand and when these subject matters come up, well, I click! Give it up, CNN, and move onward and upward. You're beating a dead black and racist horse!
    And, if you open your eyes and minds, you just might see that there are other people in America, and we come in all colors, all of us with our own ethnic triumphs and tragedies. None are better or worse than the others, for all peoples have triumphed, and all peoples have suffered throughout the ages.
    Believe it or not!

    February 21, 2009 at 6:51 am |
  38. Josh

    Maybe people, especially young people, don't naturally address the issue as much, because to them, it's not an issue. Personally, I've had many college roommates and good friends of many different races and backgrounds. There's not a single racist bone in my body. Sure, we have differences. We tend to listen to different types of music and enjoy doing some different activities to a certain extent. (etc..) But that's based on culture and background. In the end, both sides influence eachother and each individual develops his own identity. Why is that a problem? Complete integration is not something that should be enforced by government. The only thing that should be enforced is the prevention of racist crimes and segregation promoted by public organizations.

    February 21, 2009 at 4:38 am |
  39. mb

    I'm right in the middle. I grew up at the end of Vietnam and remember the whole "Black Power" phase. At the same time, I was going to school with black kids, etc. The older generation seemed more concerned about race than the kids my age. I remember seeing my first bi-racial couple. When I look around today, no one thinks twice about it.
    I believe kids today wish the "old folk" would just shut up about it. We've got white rappers, black country music artists, and I personally feel if people quit trying to cram the stuff down everyone's throats there'd be a lot less tension.
    Unfortunately we have "extremists" who love throwing fuel on the fire. Roland Martin, Al Sharpton, and others search for anything they can twist to stir up racial tension through accusations of racism. Some days I swear they dream of a violent uprising and leading the way into battle. Kids don't want to deal with the crap and just want to get along. They don't want people out there telling them why they should hate.
    There are going to be idiots on both sides of the fence who want to play the blame game for their own shortcomings and failure to succeed. There are going to be those who play the race card because it makes them feel powerful and they've learned it's a great way to get their way. Over time, they'll disappear and become irrelevant. Racism will always exist as long as people are different. There's prejudice against women, obese people, smokers, drinkers, athiests, and almost every other "category" you can put people in. As my friend would say, "Don't let the bastards grind you down". The most dangerous thing is people who listen to others instead of forming their own opinions. Say hello and see who says hello back. As someone how their day is going. You might find there are really good people out there. Some aren't, but the majority are. However to discount an entire race because Sharpton, Martin, Naverette, Duke, or others say you should is the greatest form of ignorance.

    February 21, 2009 at 3:37 am |
  40. RC Hayden

    Whittes are afraid of and reluctant to discuss race because they have to tip-toe and walk on egg shells around the issue for fear of being accused of bigotry and racism.

    For exaample what would the reaction be to questions like:
    Why are black but not white student unions on campuses OK ?
    Why is there a black history month but not a white history month?
    Why is a "Black in America" TV program OK but not a White in
    America TV program?

    Honest discussion could result in devestating consequences e.g loss of employment.

    February 21, 2009 at 2:09 am |
  41. Mike

    I found Mr. Holder's comment to be inappropriate and out of step and inconsistent with the current dirextion of the country.

    The election of Barack Obama as President and his selection of Eric Holder as AG has me speechless. I am a 45 year old Black Male who sat in segregated theaters in the South.

    I must admit. I had no idea that this country had come this far. I once felt that most whites were racist, but I was wrong. America has proven me wrong and my blinders are off......

    February 21, 2009 at 1:34 am |
  42. J.V.Hodgson

    Personally I do not know which side to take for, against ,somewhere in the middle on Holders comments. I do know how preciously the Media as whole demands its right to freedom of speech, and I hold that truth to be self evident. Consequently it matters not whether any "person" government official or not expresses and opinion as Holder did.
    The problem is the perceived need for everyone to be "Proper" in your eyes or morally or religiously justifiable. I believe your duty is to report exactly what he said in full context, and the environment and circumstances in which he said it.
    Then, as an old proverb says "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" or put another way whether what he said is either "fair, reasonable or extreme" will be decided by the reader or listener and he will have his supporters, aginst peopleand others who choose thier own approach like Kathy above. We Americans ( in general) get so hung up on Propriety and morality and the so called right and proper, we forget what made this country great. THE DIFFERENCES, and nothing wrong with comment on that. We could all think of better ways of saying something said after the event, but thats free speech, like it or not!
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    February 21, 2009 at 1:06 am |
  43. Jennifer

    Yes, we are cowards that masquerade around the world as "the brave and righteous." But, we do not have the courage to take a stand against the minority of racist Americans ruining our country. Just today I got a message from the Dyer IN police station full of threats and racial remarks. Over what? My dog that got picked-up! America "the Cowards."
    I have the message if you'd like to air it.

    February 21, 2009 at 12:24 am |
  44. Sylvia

    Racism seems to be alive and well in America. There are blacks who are racist and veil their feelings through comments such as Eric Holder. President Obama was not only elected by blacks, but by whites, hispanics, and asians. Without the votes of whites, hispanics, and asians, he would not have won the election. I remember the Civil Rights Protests of the 1960s and there were whites that marched along side blacks in protest of the treatment the blacks were receiving. Lets remember these folks during black history month.

    February 20, 2009 at 11:18 pm |
  45. Laverne P.

    I really think some white people feal guilty for there treatment of Blacks. I also know it is something they refer not to be reminded of. One thing every one must remember , no one on earth had a choice as to what color they were to be. Since we are not makers of ourselves how can any one question what God has made. All people of color lived in different climaxs. Some people from India,Pakistan,Egypt and other places are just as dark or darker than some blacks. I respect everyone regardless of color. I think it's wonderful that there are all different races. The world would be a very sad place if everyone looked the same. Every artist loves to paint and create . What makes an artist famous, only his desire to create beauty with the use of different colors and imagination to be different.. To live is to love,give,share,care,understanding and peace to all.

    February 20, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  46. Larry M

    @ Kathy, Chicago

    The unfortunate reality is that MLK is right but the majority has not fully accepted this ideology. Therefore, there are black organizations that foster African American equality and feel that it is imperative to recognize that the majority will never tackle social responsibility for the minorities. It is also important to realize that ancestry nationality is not the base for racial indifference but color is. To be exact, we do not classify people as Irish American, or German American. These groups are generalized as AMERICAN. There is no special need for ethnic recognition because it bleeds through everyday life. I dare you to turn on the T.V and flip through the channels. I guarantee you will see a consistent homage to the majority that is not limited by a month or an insignificant organization.

    February 20, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  47. Kathy, Chicago

    I think that Mr Holter was wrong to voice his opinions so soon after he was accepted as AG. I have turned him off. I don't consider myself a racist or prejudice. I grew up in a prejudiced home. My parents resented the fact that they had to pay taxes for others who did nothing to help themselves. I have strived to spare my children from that thinking. I do have to repeat MLK's speech-we are not a Black America or a White America, but the United States of America. All I hear about now is Black Caucus, Black History Month The Historic Black President. Where is the Irish Caucus, Polish Caucus, Jewish History month? I think we all need to find a way to get along. I just turn it all off now. I'm not iterested in going down that path again.

    February 20, 2009 at 10:06 pm |
  48. angie

    I appreciated our new attorney general's comments and call for Americans to be in dialogue about the race issue. I celebrate that millions of American voters decided to elect President Obama based upon his character, credentials and not his color. But that doesn't mean that racism is gone. The increased internet chatter documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center verifies the rise in hate talk and racist remarks. I'm also concerned that the opposition of many Republicans to the Administration's efforts to resolve the economic crisis is beginning to look like the return of the Confederacy which is ironic as the nation just celebrated the 200th birthday of Pres. Abraham Lincoln. The recent comments by governors that they may not accept the stimulas package is frightening- they are more willing to let their constituents suffer, then be apart of the solution for fear that the Obama Administration will get the credit. One cannot but suspect that there is some "subconcious" racism operating here.

    February 20, 2009 at 9:59 pm |
  49. ut7

    dear coopper
    my name is paola, my question is what is the new govrnment going to do about illigal immigrants. President Obama promise us a lot of thing,like he would give them their green card and paperwork. my mother, she a immigrant from haiti who has no paper but she has three of us. A new born baby, a five year old boy, and me. life is rough for us she can not work, basically life is not easy. i do believe family should kept together, if you send her back to her country which is destroy by hurricanes and there is insecurity too.illigal mothers non criminals immigrant should be able to stay in this country because they been waiting patiently for their paperwork(green card) . you should not separe them from their family.

    February 20, 2009 at 9:22 pm |
  50. GS

    The biggest obstacle to desegregation is the will to segregate oneself. The government can open the door to integration, but it's up to the people and their "cultures" to allow themselves to actually go through it.

    February 20, 2009 at 9:20 pm |
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