Letter from a coward (on race).
This is a letter that I wrote to Eric Holder (never sent it, maybe I am a coward) after he made his famous comment about race. I was reminded of this the past week when Mr. Holder went to Ferguson Missouri for the new “white people are all racists, and cowards” du jour reality television show.
Hello Mr. Holder,
I picked up the paper yesterday and learned that I as an American (who happens to be white) am a coward regarding race. I was surprised to hear this. The financial world as we know it is crashing all around us. Iran is getting close to having a nuke while threatening Israel. and then of course all of us. This all happening just after the election of our first African American President, and I might add Attorney general (you). Why now Mr. Holder?
F.Y.I. I grew up in a mostly white community on eastern Long Island (Smithtown Long Island) . In the late sixties our Rabbi publicly was quoted as saying that he wanted African Americans to move from Harlem to our town. For his bravery and frankness our temple, and the Rabbi received numerous threats. We all survived, and our Rabbi didn’t back down.
Growing up during those times, I along with a lot of people my age were becoming great fans of Black singers, athletes and television stars. My generation became used to being fans of Walt Frazier, Tommy Agee, Dr. J, while enjoying the music of many African American Greats from BB King to Jimmy Hendrix. My bet Mr. Holder is that most people (including me) did not see you as an “African American Attorney General”. Personally I saw you as a liberal attorney General. Most people are long past the race issue.
I cannot presume to know what it is like being a black person. I know that there are idiots out there who are in fact racist. Unfortunately Mr. Holder there are white idiots, and black idiots. There are idiots in every society and every country that doesn’t mean that there is pervasive racism in this country.
We were probably the first generation who was exposed to African Americans through the power of the media. Our Jewish brethren fought alongside the Civil Rights movement in the South so that African Americans could receive the same rights and opportunities as we had.
Mr Holder, Barack Obama’s election was all about the “perception” that the country has put this all behind us, and that we are a “post racial society”. This message resonated with most of America. May I suggest that if we weren’t all exposed to some troubling associations during the election like the Reverend Wright even more Americans could have voted for your candidate. Mr Wright confirmed the feelings of a lot of white people that there is a simmering hatred among some African Americans for white people, Jewish people etc.
You wanted a frank discussion, here it is. Mr. Holder, over 90 percent of African Americans voted for Barack Obama. Is that because his opinions, mores, viewpoints completely aligned with them? Let’s be honest here if 90 percent of whites voted for the white candidate wouldn’t you scream racism?
What about the Reverend Wright?. If he were white and McCain sat in his church for 20 years ignoring racist anti American comments wouldn’t you call him a racist? If he were not a racist wouldn’t’ he be a racist enabler?
What is troubling is that you were given the honor of serving our country (all of us) as the attorney General. You are there to make sure that we are all treated as equals and that the law is meted out evenly. It seems through your comments that you don’t feel that way. Perhaps because of that you should recuse yourself and put in someone who has no prejudices towards any or against any particular group. We all need to feel that our judicial system is fair..
You have said publicly that we have ignored civil rights issues for too long. When was that Mr. Holder? The last the administration had two people who were at the highest of positions in the President’s cabinet.
There does seem to be inordinate amount of African Americans in jail. Is that because the American community is totally racist? Is it because the rate of out of wedlock babies is disproportionately born in the African American community? Single family homes without fathers are also a huge problem. While these are huge problems and we need to have a frank discussion about it what does this have to do with your job? Legislating equality, opportunity, is in your purview social engineering is not.
Last but not least your concern is that we as groups tend to be segregated voluntarily. How is that a legal issue? May I suggest that we as a “melting” pot celebrate our differences but tend to gravitate towards our own groups, people that we know and are familiar with, the same religions, culture, etc. Does that make me a racist? Does that make African Americans racist when they get together without inviting me?
I can tell you one thing about the United States neither you nor Barack Obama would be where you are if it weren’t for many white voters who elected you. Does that mean that those of us who didn’t vote for Obama are racists and cowards? I speak for many who didn’t vote for Obama in saying that when he was sworn in we had tears in our eyes because of the past history that we all felt was finally put behind us.
Perhaps Mr. Holder you need to get up in the morning look in the mirror and decide who is looking through “racist” or cowardly glasses.
Your (white) friend