I try to avoid politics on this blog, but every once in a while I have to.
CNN wrote a piece about Attorney General Eric Holder who called America a ‘Nation of Cowards’. Why are we cowards? From the article:
“”Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards,” Holder declared.
“Holder urged Americans of all races to use Black History Month as a time to have a forthright national conversation between blacks and whites to discuss aspects of race which are ignored because they are uncomfortable.
“The attorney general said employees across the country “have done a pretty good job in melding the races in the workplace,” but he noted that “certain subjects are off limits and that to explore them risks at best embarrassment and at worst the questioning of one’s character.”
“On Saturdays and Sundays, America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some 50 years ago. This is truly sad,” Holder said.”
I agree with Holder 100 percent. I think there are topics that are ‘off limits’ and we hesitate to explore them. Why? Well, because if we try to explore them, we are often called racists. Consider a ‘scandal’ that is currently going on right now.
Sean Delonas draws comics for the New York Post. His most recent is being called not just offensive and violent, but yes…racist. You can see the comic here. Al Sharpton had this to say about it:
“”The cartoon in today’s New York Post is troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys. One has to question whether the cartoonist is making a less than casual reference to this when in the cartoon they have police saying after shooting a chimpanzee that “Now they will have to find someone else to write the stimulus bill.””
However, how many of us have seen images like this over the past eight years? Heck, there is even a web site devoted to the topic. Who is more racists, the artist comparing Obama to a monkey, or the person declaring that comparing Obama to a monkey is racism? Maybe Delonas was just doing what we’ve been happily doing in this country since 1776–making fun of our leaders.
Let me be very clear. I think it is very disrespectful to compare or call any sitting president (heck, any person for that matter) a monkey. I didn’t find the pictures of Bush and monkeys funny, nor do I find the comic hinting at Obama funny. But if we are to move past being a ‘nation of cowards’, and be able to discuss “certain subjects are off limits” then we need Al Sharpton and other similar folks to stop crying racism anytime something like this occurs. How can we ‘explore’ these topics when everytime we try we risk “at best embarrassment and at worst the questioning of one’s character.”
I think the Attorney General is dead on. But until we can truly discuss these things without being called racist, nothing will change. We will all smile at each other, we will all be friendly at the office, but deep down we will constanlty worry about what we are saying. We won’t be able to open up and really have the discussions that need to take place.