February 24th, 2009
10:58 AM ET

Americans aren’t cowards on race

Tara Wall
CNN Contributor

First, we're a nation of whiners; now, we're a nation of cowards.

The coward comment comes from none other than President Obama's newly minted attorney general, Eric Holder.

The remarks were part of a speech Holder delivered for Black History Month. Yet, even in that context, the words came across as arrogant, condescending and not at all becoming a statesman.

One dictionary definition of coward is "lacking courage." Stinging words for a country at war, where white and black soldiers are shedding the same color blood. Are they cowards?

Ironic too that Holder's remarks come at a time when the nation has just elected its first black president and witnessed the confirmation of its first black attorney general (Holder himself). Forget that more whites than blacks cast their ballots for a black man to lead the nation. So this is how Holder says thanks?

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Filed under: Race in America • Tara Wall
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. CJ in SD

    Well spoken, Mike in NYC! When are people going to get it through their heads that racism is perpetrated by ALL races against other races, not just whites against blacks? My children and I, my sister and her family, and my parents have all been subjected to it. Racism will never go away as long as the very people who complain about it the most continue to perpetuate it against others.

    February 24, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  2. LaKeisha from Ohio

    I think Tara Wall needs a new job !! I know you are a republician but my goodness. If you can't write with substance, then write anything. I wonder how Tara was raised, what her background consist of.......I'm starting to wonder what race she represents with all of her chatter.

    If there is anyone that remembers Tara growing up, blog and give some insight to this shallow individual maybe I have it wrong.........maybe she's not a hypocrite.

    February 24, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  3. Mike in NYC


    I agree that we are in denial about race.

    We would, I suspect, have very different opinions on that subject.

    I'm ready and waiting for the Great Honest Debate to begin.

    February 24, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  4. Jim Carroll internet free press

    HOW CAN THE INTELLIGENTSIA OF AMERICA BE SO BLINDED that they cannot see that the Federal Government must have a money system that can create and maintain an equivalent ratio of money to the goods and services that its peoples’ hands and minds can produce? Nature’s Basic Law of Economics states: All goods and services flow from the action of people resources on natural resources— Money is the medium of exchange which should be equal to the value of the goods and services—and not to a gold standard or some other insane idea.

    February 24, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  5. paulernestshow

    Eric Holder was not generally calling America a nation of cowards, he was very much specific, on the issue of race and he is right. People like Tara Wall are really off the point and the fact that she is a republican makes her arguement more suspect. We are not just a nation of "cowards" on race issues, we are also a nation in great denial, on race issues. That is specific. Tara Wall talking about soldiers and cowards is off the point.

    February 24, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  6. JC- Los Angeles

    After the recent election of Barack Obama to our nation's highest office, it's both egregious and unfathomable to hear separatist comments coming from an African American like Eric Holder.

    The African American community as a whole has fallen behind Third World Countries and unless prevailing views change and opportunity is seized, the long painful slide downward will continue.

    While racial and religious misdeeds of the past should not be minimized, they should not be used as excuses for a lack of self respect, accomplishment, proper parenting, education or lawfulness.

    No more excuses.

    February 24, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  7. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Holder's comments were inappropriate as the Chief Law Enforcement Office of this Nation--It' would have been better for him to keep his mouth shut and give the impression that you're statement was ignorant rather than to open it and remove all doubt. I'm sure that Mr. Holder will regret his speech, but never his silence.

    February 24, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  8. Bruce Hoff

    Harder, do you hear the sigh, the resounding ringing in the ears, the disgust of those of us who have made great efforts to bring equality to the table? You have pushed equality back a few steps, but you will not stop the efforts of us cowards (of every race and background) to bring everyone together as one united America.
    You sir are the coward, hiding behind a high government office to make such an insulting remark to a nation united and fighting off common enemies.
    Now would be a good time for you to resign and crawl under a rock in shame. Your credibility is shattered and nothing you say can be taken seriously.

    February 24, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  9. GF, Los Angeles

    "Where is that same outrage and moral condemnation over Holder's loose lips?"

    Good question Tara, that outrage by whites does not exist because of reverse discrimination. It's ok for blacks to cry racism at every opportunity but for whites to declare the same when it's blatantly apparent i.e. affirmitive action and Holder's words – whites are not allowed to say anything. They are reminded that blacks were slaves by the whites yada yada yada even though slavery ended many years ago. The opportunity for blacks exist to receive an education yet they choose to speak ebonics and not go to school. I'm not even white and I feel bad for the position they're put in. How can a white person speak up without being labeled a racist?

    February 24, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  10. Jim in DC

    It has nothing to do with Whites not being able to criticize Blacks without fear of the race card being used. One CANNOT deny that through out history the Caucasian/European race has dominated most if not all minority cultures through out the world, as well as exploiting them and degrading them to the advantage of the more powerful White race. So, I can't accept a white person's whinning about not being able to criticize this race or that. While there will be small minded people who will try to advance themselves by using the race card, white, black, latino, etc. it is time that White Culture begin to accept the fact that they no longer own the world, that it is made up of a wide range of diverse people. With that, I tend to agree that many American's have been cowards in confronting their own personal issues regarding race in general, no matter which one. Why would so many people be fearful of having an African-American president. Only the younger generation, who have a broader exposure to multiple ethnicities, will start to minimize the emphasis we place on the color of our skin. Any caucasian doesn't really have much of a leg to stand on in this argument given history. As to dialogue, that doesn't exist in this country any longer. Just yelling and sound bites that have no context.

    February 24, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  11. Mike in NYC

    Fearing job loss, media smears and "hate" speech prosecution is not cowardice, it's what Whites face in today's America. It's effectively illegal to criticize blacks in light of the consequences one will face. Blacks and other supposedly aggrieved groups are free to say whatever they want, no matter how ridiculous, and they're always taken seriously. A sad, tragicomic situation.

    Guarantee that Whites can speak their minds freely, in a true dialogue where "minorities" and their enablers don't determine what can and can't be said, and this alleged "cowardice" will quickly disappear.

    February 24, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  12. Sharon S

    Holder is an idiot! People like him are the ones who keep this race war going if everyone would stop talking about our differences and start looking around they would see that people like Holder are the Racist! Not us!

    I was very offended by his comments not only am I NOT a coward I would love to say a few things to his face!

    It was very immature and extremely childish of a man in his position to make such a rude and hateful comment to the Hard Working people of this country trying to hang on as this economy goes down the drain!

    But since Mr. Holder started this racist crap, I would like to know why WHITE AMERICANS don't get a whole month to celebrate all WE have done for this great country?

    We did after all start the colonies, Right here where I live in Virginia!!

    So next time some idiot in the White house decides to open their mouths they should really think about the words that will be coming out and what those words will entail?

    February 24, 2009 at 11:09 am |