"U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has surely given Loudmouth Limbaugh a hot topic," said Mary Mitchell in the Chicago Sun-Times. In a speech this week, Holder said America is "a nation of cowards" when it comes to talking about race. Holder isn't putting anybody down, only "asking us to have courage," but that won't stop a whole lot of white people from taking offense.
If we're being frank, said Heather Mac Donald in City Journal, let's at least acknowledge that the "frank" discussion in the Clinton era, when Holder was deputy attorney general, amounted to "a one-sided litany of white injustices." So if we're going to talk again—after electing our first black president—let's remember that there are "irredeemable racists among Americans," but "they come in all colors."
As expected, said Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic, "the diarrhea merchants are having a field day with that 'nation of cowards' line." But the only reason to take offense at what was actually a pretty "unremarkable and vague" speech is "if you think 'the nation' only includes white people." Otherwise, you have to figure Holder was calling everyone, black or white, cowardly on race matters.
Holder is certainly not being bold, said Paul Mirengoff in Power Line. In one breath he calls for an open debate on, say, affirmative action, but in the next he demonizes people who hold what he calls "extreme" views on the subject. You see, "his real complaint is not the absence of candid discussion, but rather the articulation of positions he doesn't like."
Civil rights activists welcomed Holders comments, said Josh Meyer in the Chicago Tribune, while some conservatives found his rhetoric “overly confrontational.” One thing seems clear: Holder plans to make “issues as racial inequality and social justice” priorities while he’s the nation’s top law enforcement official.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- This is what happens when Republicans actually enact their radical agenda
- How I dug myself out of debt — and stayed that way
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 10 things you need to know today: September 17, 2014
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Is 'feminism' just another word for 'liberalism'?
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- What political elites don't understand about Scotland's push for independence
Subscribe to the Week