February 19, 2009

US = "nation of cowards" on race

Holder:  'Nation of cowards' on raceAttorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that despite advances, the United States remains “a nation of cowards” on issues involving race.

“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial, we have always been, and we, I believe, continue to be, in too many ways, a nation of cowards,” Holder said in remarks to his staff in honor of Black History Month. His comments appear on a transcript provided by the Justice Department.

“Even as we fight a war against terrorism; deal with the reality of electing an African-American, for the first time, as the president of the United States; and deal with other significant issues of the day, the need to confront our racial past and to understand our racial present, and to understand the history of African people in this country—that all endures,” the attorney general added.

“Though race-related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about things racial.”
Comment:  Fortunately, we're not afraid of tackling the tough issues here at Newspaper Rock. <g>

For more on the subject, see The 2008 Presidential Campaign and Highlights of the US Report to the UN on Racism.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

So what? It's just his opinion; also note the distinct afrocentric overtones. Here are a few good stats:

http://americaintheworld.typepad.com/briefings/2008/08/america-and-rac.html

Also just out of curiosity what's your opinion of Cuba?

dmarks said...

Cuba is a white-power paradise. They have a much larger black population than the US, but they have been entirely shut out of power. All the power is held by one white man (and now his brother), and has been for decades.

Anonymous said...

Yup, google a fella by the name of Oscar Elias Biscett to get an idea how Black people are treated there.

Melvin Martin said...

I just hope that my daughter, who just turned two years old, will not have to experience what I went through as an Indian person in this society. For the longest time I chose not to start a family because I did not want to bring another Indian child into this particular vale of tears that we as Indian people have been so horribly subjected to throughout our lives. I, in the darkness of my own sickness as to race in America, waited until I met an Indian woman who was "sufficiently" light-complexioned enough so that the children that we would have would not be made to feel inferior as a matter of degree in terms of coloration. I know that many blacks seek out mates who are of a lighter skin color with the reproductive objective in mind that the less dark their mates are, the less racism their offspring will experience. My little girl’s mother is from a tribe in the Great Lakes area and since she is Ojibwe, French and Lithuanian, her racial admixture is such that she strongly resembles the actress Kate Beckinsale (with a slight Asiatic quality to her eyes and cheekbones) and I thought that any child we would produce would take after her. But no, my daughter looks more like me and I am close to full-blooded with a fairly dark complexion. I know that this type of reasoning may seem like a very peculiar obsession, but to be totally honest, I have been plagued by deeply rooted and intrusive thoughts as to the nature of race in this society all of my life. At any rate, my daughter is here and I have extremely high hopes that by the time she goes off to college that most of today’s “old school” racists will have died off - and she will not have to suffer through life as I and so many others have.

Stephen said...

Sorry to hear that Melvin.

Anonymous said...

The Attorney General thinks this is a nation of Blacks and Whites. Like most of the Washington elites of both hues, he really should get out more. Perhaps he is unaware that Brown people now outnumber Black people and are the largest ethnic minority in america. Here is what is really cowardly. In choclate city, also known as DC the local NFL football team is known as the Redskins. More than half the team is African American. How would the Attorney General feel about changing the team name to the Darkee's. Or even more couragous, the Niggers? Hummm, think about my Brothers.

Rob said...

So what, you ask? Holder is the Attorney General. Since he leads the Department of Justice, his opinion carries weight throughout our justice system.

True, he didn't mention Indians or other minorities--at least in his published remarks. That's not too surprising since he was speaking in honor of Black History Month. But he did discuss race issues in general.

For more on Holder's comments, see If Not a Nation of Cowards, Then Certainly a Nation in Denial.

As for your statistics, I'm not exactly impressed. 18% of white Americans don't have a favorable opinion of blacks. 23% of Americans don't think it's okay for blacks and whites to date. Sounds to me like a fifth of the country (60 million people) is still plainly racist.

I help document the racism in America several times a week. And I'm dealing only with the 1% of it related to Indians. The Obama chimp cartoon, Miley Cyrus's slant-eyed gesture, non-Natives being cast as Natives...the list goes on and on.

Rob said...

I presume you're asking about racism in Cuba? I haven't thought much about the subject. Here are some postings on it:

http://www.historyofcuba.com/history/race/index.htm

http://www.afrocubaweb.com/raceident.htm

http://www.fiu.edu/~fcf/raceque111200.html

Intermarriage between whites and blacks is commonplace in Cuba. Race relations, especially among individuals, are much more relaxed and amicable than in U.S. neighborhoods--and unlike in the United States, virtually all Cuban neighborhoods are racially integrated.

But many young Afro-Cubans--those too young to remember what things were like before the revolution--contend that a form of structural racism exists in Cuba, and that it is getting worse.

The Cuban version of the "New Economy" is based not on computers or the Internet but rather on tourism, which is growing by leaps and bounds while the rest of the Cuban economy languishes. Young blacks say they are underrepresented on the staffs of the big new five-star hotels and the ancillary service businesses springing up around Havana, the Varadero beach resort and other major cities. In today's Cuba, with the economy substantially "dollarized," those with access to tourists--and the dollars they spend--form a kind of new elite, and this elite of waitresses, doormen, tour guides and cab drivers appears much whiter than Cuba as a whole.

The government's position, famously expressed by Cuba's independence hero Jose Marti, is that race does not matter, that "we are all Cubans." But to scholars, including those who remain fully committed to the revolution, some worrisome racial issues have become self-evident.

Academics say that black Cubans are failing to earn university degrees in proportion to their numbers--a situation to which Castro has alluded publicly. The upper echelons of the government remain disproportionately white, despite the emergence of several rising black stars. And while perceptions are difficult to quantify, much less prove true or false, many black Cubans are convinced that they are much less likely than whites to land good jobs--and much more likely to be hassled by police on the street, like Cano's husband, in a Cuban version of "racial profiling."

Even the most outspoken critics of the way the government has handled, or ignored, the issue of race in Cuba do not believe the racial problems here are as acute or widespread as in the United States.

Stephen said...

"I presume you're asking about racism in Cuba?"

I'm talking about that and the tyranny of the Cuban government in general. I mean if you're critical of the US you should have absolute disgust for the Cuban government. It's a standard form of leftist hypocrisy to hate America and revere Cuba as a 'paradise'.

"The government's position, famously expressed by Cuba's independence hero Jose Marti, is that race does not matter, that "we are all Cubans." But to scholars, including those who remain fully committed to the revolution, some worrisome racial issues have become self-evident."

A revolution that was fought and instigated by the upper and middle classes; contrary to popular belief most of the poor turned against Castro.

"Even the most outspoken critics of the way the government has handled, or ignored, the issue of race in Cuba do not believe the racial problems here are as acute or widespread as in the United States."

Calling it a 'government' is a stretch it's a dictatorship; let's call a spade a spade. And as dmarks pointed out it's a white power wet dream.

Stephen said...

"So what, you ask? Holder is the Attorney General. Since he leads the Department of Justice, his opinion carries weight throughout our justice system."

Which is disturbing.

"True, he didn't mention Indians or other minorities--at least in his published remarks. That's not too surprising since he was speaking in honor of Black History Month. But he did discuss race issues in general."

It's not exactly that hard to toss in a few references to other minorities, which is why his comments are afrocentric.

"As for your statistics, I'm not exactly impressed. 18% of white Americans don't have a favorable opinion of blacks. 23% of Americans don't think it's okay for blacks and whites to date. Sounds to me like a fifth of the country (60 million people) is still plainly racist."

True but the point is that the majority of Americans are not racist.

"I help document the racism in America several times a week. And I'm dealing only with the 1% of it related to Indians. The Obama chimp cartoon, Miley Cyrus's slant-eyed gesture, non-Natives being cast as Natives...the list goes on and on."

I'm not denying that we don't have racism here, just that the majority are not racist.

Stephen said...

An example of the left's island paradise:

"One month after recovering his liberty,[7] on December 6, 2002, Biscet was arrested in a private house with 11 other dissidents while discussing a petition drive and human rights.[9] Dr. Biscet's wife later said the activists "were beaten and violently arrested". During their removal from the house they shouted "Long live human rights" and "Freedom for political prisoners".
Biscet was one of the 75 dissidents imprisoned in 2003 by the Cuban authorities for his association with the head of the US Interests Section in Havana, James Cason. He was given a 25-year sentence for "disorderly conduct" and "counter-revolutionary activities", he is currently being held at Combinado del Este Prison in Havana, where he is generally not allowed outside visitors, including medical practitioners and clergy, under conditions described as "wretched".[10] He had previously been imprisoned in the "Cinco Y Medio" prison in Pinar del Río. A replica of his cell while there was displayed at the residence of the head of the U.S. national interests section, James Cason."

All standard business in an island prison.

Stephen said...

Info on Biscet for those interested in the plight of this brave man:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Elías_Biscet

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/CubaCompanioni/blog/2009/02/09/Who-Is-Dr-Oscar-Elias-Biscet

http://babalublog.com/2009/02/dr-oscar-elias-biscets-cuba/

Rob said...

Re "I mean if you're critical of the US you should have absolute disgust for the Cuban government": I'm not convinced Cuba is worse than the US when it comes to racism or Native rights.

Re "It's a standard form of leftist hypocrisy to hate America and revere Cuba as a 'paradise'": Fortunately, I've never said anything like that.

From what I read, Biscet was imprisoned for his political activities, not for being black. If so, his case is irrelevant to the US/Cuba comparison on racial issues.

Finally, the majority of Americans aren't racists? In their own minds, perhaps, but that's not a good measure of racism. People don't think they're being racist when they tout Indian mascots, for instance, but they are.

For more on the subject, see Anti-Indian Racism Explained and Everybody Is Racist.

Rob said...

Stephen wrote:

"Cuba's racial situation is more complex than you're making it out to be."

No it's quite simple, Cuba is a totalitarian white supremacist statelet. Also let me answer your post here:

"I'm not convinced Cuba is worse than the US when it comes to racism or Native rights."

No it's way worse, what else do you call a country that makes people get permission to travel and locks people in jail for discussing a petition drive.

"From what I read, Biscet was imprisoned for his political activities, not for being black. If so, his case is irrelevant to the US/Cuba comparison on racial issues."

Except that while imprisoned he was tortured and insulted for his race. His case is very relevant seeing as he's an example of a Black man being oppressed by a dictatorship controlled by whites on an Island that has a large Black population.

"Finally, the majority of Americans aren't racists? In their own minds, perhaps, but that's not a good measure of racism."

The stats I posted prove the majority aren't racist.

"People don't think they're being racist when they tout Indian mascots, for instance, but they are."

How much of the American population do fans of teams like the washington red***** make up? Probably a significant minority but still a minority.

Rob said...

Re "what else do you call a country that makes people get permission to travel and locks people in jail for discussing a petition drive": I call this irrelevant to a discussion of racism or Native rights in Cuba. Try again.

Re "Except that while imprisoned he was tortured and insulted for his race":

One, do you have any evidence of this? Or is it another of your unsubstantiated opinions?

Two, prison officials often do bad things to prisoners. That says nothing about the people who decided to imprison Biscet. They may not have acted for racist reasons even if the prison officials did.

Three, it's one case. Individual cases are irrelevant to Cuba's situation as a whole.

This is a great example of how your ignorance of generalizations hurts you. Again, one case of Cuban racism doesn't prove Cuba is racist. Until you can prove something about Cuban society in general, don't bother wasting our time with this nonsense.

Rob said...

As for US racism, the statistics you posted prove the majority of Americans claim not to subscribe to overtly racist beliefs. Period. The stats don't prove anything about what Americans really believe, especially at the subconscious level.

Many Americans follow one of the thousands of pro, college, or high-school teams with an Indian mascot. When you add them up, you're talking about a substantial portion of the country. Therefore, your point about the Washington Redskins is irrelevant.

The phrase "for example" means I used Indian mascots as an example, bright boy. Almost every American knows something about Indians in general, and what they know is stereotypical if not racist. Holding on to these beliefs when we prove them false is evidence that people are racist--whether they think they are or not.

And of course you've ignored Eric Holder's original point. He didn't say Americans were racists. He said Americans were cowards when it came to dealing with race. Stop being so defensive about your white compatriots and start addressing the issue at hand.

Stephen said...

"I call this irrelevant to a discussion of racism or Native rights in Cuba. Try again."

No it's fully relevant, I find it very hard to believe that Biscet's race wasn't a factor.

"One, do you have any evidence of this? Or is it another of your unsubstantiated opinions?"

I believe Biscett, after all do you think thugs employed by a white supremacist statelet would be racially sensitive? Do you think they'd say "oh get into your squalid cell you person of color you."

"Two, prison officials often do bad things to prisoners."

That's understatement, imprisoning somebody in a cell like this is far too inhumane to simply be a 'bad thing'.

"That says nothing about the people who decided to imprison Biscet. They may not have acted for racist reasons even if the prison officials did."

Even if that's the case Cuba's dictatorship is still racist simply because of the fact that it's run by whites on a island with a large black population. And I find it very hard to believe that Castro doesn't hold racist views. Also if Cuba isn't racist then why are 85 percent of Cuba's prison inmates are black or mestizo?

http://www.fiu.edu/~fcf/montenegro.castro.html

"Three, it's one case. Individual cases are irrelevant to Cuba's situation as a whole."

Biscet isn't an isolated incident, he's one of the countless examples of victims of oppression by white supremacist dictatorship which tramples Cuban human rights like grapes in a wine press.

"This is a great example of how your ignorance of generalizations hurts you."

Oh yes let the guy who thought CAIR was an unbiased source lecture me about ignorance.

"Again, one case of Cuban racism doesn't prove Cuba is racist."

This isn't just one case and like I said a dictatorship on an island with a large black population run by whites only is white supremacist. Not to mention that cowardly murderer che was a racist, he wrote "the negro is lazy and spends his money on frivolities."

"Until you can prove something about Cuban society in general, don't bother wasting our time with this nonsense."

Just so we're on the same paage I'm talking about the racist dictatorship. Not to mention I'd say those prison stats definitely prove something.

Stephen said...

"As for US racism, the statistics you posted prove the majority of Americans claim not to subscribe to overtly racist beliefs. Period. The stats don't prove anything about what Americans really believe, especially at the subconscious level."

And we really have no way of knowing how many 'seeeecret racists' there are lurking among us unless you're telepathic and have a ton of time on your hands.

"Many Americans follow one of the thousands of pro, college, or high-school teams with an Indian mascot. When you add them up, you're talking about a substantial portion of the country."

Americans of all races, do you know how many Black washington red****s fans there are?

"Therefore, your point about the Washington Redskins is irrelevant."

I'd like to see stats on how many fans there are of those vile teams.

"The phrase "for example" means I used Indian mascots as an example, bright boy."

Obviously.

"Almost every American knows something about Indians in general, and what they know is stereotypical if not racist."

Do you have stats to proe that Americans in general hold stereotypcial views of Indians? I'm not saying that Americans haven't been exposed to such stereotypes, I know I was as a kid but now I know that's all nonsense.

"Holding on to these beliefs when we prove them false is evidence that people are racist--whether they think they are or not."

No doubt however the question is just how many Americans hold such views.

"And of course you've ignored Eric Holder's original point. He didn't say Americans were racists. He said Americans were cowards when it came to dealing with race."

Which is still anti-American bigotry. Also I think this dmarks quote makes an excellent point:

"Compared to elsewhere, the US acts on such differences with incredible reserve. Large-scale race and religion riots (or even massive pogroms or ethnic cleansing efforts) are common in the recent history of Asia, Europe, and Africa. Even civilized France has had hundreds of thousands march in "down with the Jews" protests in recent years."

"Stop being so defensive about your white compatriots and start addressing the issue at hand."

This doesn't have anything to do with my skin color, it has to do with how much anti-American bigotry pisses me off.