Thank You Sir!

In an editorial piece at CNN’s website, Michael Eric Dyson praises Eric Holder’s recent speech on race relations as “courageous and honest”, and suggests that Holder’s “nation of cowards” remark, which a great many morally stunted people have found tendentious and gratuitously offensive, has been “taken out of context”.

Since reading this I have tried to imagine what a favorable context for a remark like that might be, but so far have drawn a blank. I’m sure he meant “coward” in the nicest possible way, but I keep getting stuck on what that way could possibly be. Some remarks just don’t, I think, lend themselves to this sort of damage-control. If a husband tells his wife, for example, that she is a “stupid fat cow”, he will surely have more than a few long nights on the couch in which to search for the right exculpatory spin, but will do so, I think, in vain.

But Mr. Holder is surely right that many people — well, perhaps just white people who actually like the idea of racial harmony, and would like to see it flourish — are afraid to speak frankly about race. The problem, of course, has been that there is next to nothing they are allowed to say. Mr. Holder, to his credit, is attempting to remedy that, by offering strict but helpful guidelines about what sort of remarks will be permissible in the forthcoming “frank dialogue”.

Actually, it appears that his terms are generous; white people will be be given, it seems, broad latitude to express not only heartfelt appreciation of the virtues of other races, but also abject contrition for the hardships they have suffered.

This magnanimous gesture is real progress, I think, and I think I speak for all people of pallor when I say I feel braver already.


  1. Personally, I took offense to Eric Holder’s speech, and to Eric Dyson’s poorly written and inaccurate editorial piece…trying to make the argument that Holder’s speech was a 2009 Reagon, “tear down that wall” moment could not be further from the truth. But then Eric Dyson also tries to make the argument that American History is actually Black History, and goes on to claim that the Social Movements of America all owe their starts to unsung members of the Black Community…reading that, found myself wondering if Mr. Dyson had smoked one too many blunts before taking pen in hand.

    Curious here, where do you get off thinking it is right for Mr. BIGOT HOLDER to lay out the rules on what US WHITE FOLKS CAN OR CANNOT SAY in this so called discussion? Last time I looked, this was still America, and maybe if we are going to build a bridge to a unified tomorrow, it is time the Black Community hear the White voice unfiltered…after all, they want us to hear their voice unfiltered, should not it be a two way street.

    We can start with Affirmative Action…GET RID OF IT…this singular white person is tired of someone else getting a HEAD START on me based on the color of their skin. Let’s have EQUAL RIGHTS, NOT SPECIAL RIGHTS. The playing field is level, and the time has come to give people a hand up based ONLY ON THEIR FINANCIAL NEED, nothing else…that makes it fair for all of us.

    Posted February 23, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Curious here, where do you get off thinking it is right for Mr. BIGOT HOLDER to lay out the rules on what US WHITE FOLKS CAN OR CANNOT SAY in this so called discussion?

    Actually, I think it’s absurd, Royce; my expression of gratitude was, as readers may have guessed, strictly tongue-in-cheek.

    Posted February 23, 2009 at 4:48 pm | Permalink
  3. the one eyed man says

    I too was scratching my head after Holder’s speech. It reminded me of Phil Gramm calling us a “nation of whiners.” Wtf?

    Posted February 23, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Permalink
  4. Andrew Yu-Jen Wang says

    Speaking of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder:

    Eric Holder is a racial-minority individual, and in his heart and mind he inevitably does not endorse hate crimes committed by George W. Bush.

    George W. Bush committed hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism (indicated in my blog).

    George W. Bush did in fact commit innumerable hate crimes.

    And I do solemnly swear by Almighty God that George W. Bush committed other hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism which I am not at liberty to mention.

    Many people know what Bush did.

    And many people will know what Bush did—even to the end of the world.

    Bush was absolute evil.

    Bush is now like a fugitive from justice.

    Bush is a psychological prisoner.

    Bush has a lot to worry about.

    Bush can technically be prosecuted for hate crimes at any time.

    In any case, Bush will go down in history in infamy.

    Submitted by Andrew Yu-Jen Wang
    B.S., Summa Cum Laude, 1996
    Messiah College, Grantham, PA
    Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993

    I am not sure where I had read it before, but anyway, it is a linguistically excellent statement, and it goes kind of like this: “If only it were possible to ban invention that bottled up memories so they never got stale and faded.” Oh wait—off the top of my head—I think the quotation came from my Lower Merion High School yearbook.

    Posted March 7, 2009 at 8:33 pm | Permalink
  5. Malcolm says

    Well! Thanks for sorting it all out for us, Andrew.

    Posted March 7, 2009 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *