February 19th, 2009
12:58 PM ET
6 years ago

Bloggers blast Holder for 'nation of cowards' remark

Attorney General Eric Holder helps celebrate Black History Month at an event Wednesday at the Justice Department.
Attorney General Eric Holder helps celebrate Black History Month at an event Wednesday at the Justice Department.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - America is "a nation of cowards" when discussing race. That sentiment from the country's first African-American attorney general, Eric Holder, has stirred up pundits, bloggers and readers.

"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 essentially a nation of cowards," Holder told Department of Justice employees at an event Wednesday celebrating Black History Month.

Watch: Holder says America is a "nation of cowards"

And that impression of race in America has set off a firestorm of criticism.

"Holder doesn't want an honest dialogue about race. In the Age of [President] Obama, 'talking enough with each other about race' means the rest of us shutting up while being subjected to lectures about our insensitivity and insufficient integration on the weekends," conservative blogger Michelle Malkin wrote.

Stephan Tawney, writing on the American Pundit blog, said a glimpse at the national political landscape - namely the country's first black president - suggests otherwise.

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Filed under: Eric Holder
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. ari from virginia

    How about THAT,

    What a great attorney general:

    With one comment he has the country engaged in conversation.

    WHICH WAS THE POINT!!!

    WAY TO GO Counselor Holder Way to go!!!!

    Excellent work, Sir.

    February 19, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  2. Mercedes

    Which bloggers are those? I agree with Mr. Holder 100%. We are a nation of cowards for the racisim issues and others as well. The problem with americans is that we don't like others to tell us the truth and the truth will always hurt.

    February 19, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. Grog in Ohio

    Seriously... is CNN reduced to quoting Michelle Malkin? Sure you can do better than that.

    February 19, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  4. Baze

    Holder was out of line and stupid with these remarks. This sounds more like an empowerment speech and reprisal against being grilled by the G.O.P. than it does one of mending fences. Looking so subjective hurts his credibility as an interpreter of justice, especially when we're coming off the heels of a man with such biased vision as Alito.

    February 19, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. JohnNC

    He should go bury his hand in the sand.

    February 19, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  6. Lynn

    From what I have read of the CNN blogs there is a solid crew of malcontents that post negative remarks at every opportunity. The Attorney General said "race" which would equally apply to blacks, whites, Latinos, Muslims, Asians....To jump to the conclusion that he was speaking about whites treatment of blacks is ridiculous.

    February 19, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. Adele

    Holder is right. maybe he should not have use the word coward but what he says is the truth.

    February 19, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  8. Chris from NY

    This is absurd. How can you guys pick and choose which racist remark to pcover and which one to discard? Two things happened yesterday. Eric Holdre's remark and the NY Post's catoon. The media chose to go after Eric Holder but not NY Post. If that is not racism I don't know what is. You all hide under the umbrella of freedom of speech on NY Post's issue but not Eric's.

    February 19, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  9. luvangel330

    The greatest lie ever told:
    "All men are created equal...."

    February 19, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. John Pa

    You guys have an article about what bloggers wrote about an article.

    February 19, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. Voter

    I listened to Mr. Holder, and I came away feeling that he has an agenda that does not include most Americans. I thought the Attorney General was supposed to have ALL Americans on his agenda.

    A racist Attorney General, on either side of the black/white issue is a little scary. We've had our share of white racists in that job, but I don't think the answer is to bring in a black racist.

    February 19, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  12. shoegazer

    From the Government book on proper etiquette:Open mouth,Insert foot........

    February 19, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  13. Florida Dude

    I tend to agree with Holder. Obama did all he could to avoid the race issue during the election because it is taboo. People would rather ignore it than talk about it. It's not going away so people might as well have a constructive conversation about it. Bill Cosby has been doing it and he's getting heat from "some" black people but he is right on point.

    February 19, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  14. luvangel330

    looks to me like the truth hurts...and who listen to that shill Malkin anyway

    February 19, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. Tesap:Savannah, GA

    Whatever Michael Malkin........ the fact is he is right, and its hard for people to admit it.

    A serious conversation about the past present and future...........

    February 19, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. Patty in the CA mountains

    The bloggers blasting are the same people Holder's addressing....they prove Holder right !! We ARE a nation of cowards that get nervous when talking race....still expressing, "I'm not racist" in public, all the while talking smack at home.

    February 19, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. PL

    He said the work place is more integrated now, but on sundays, whites and blacks stay together in their own groups.
    Granted that the race issue will always be something for the nation to work on improving, but the ethnic affinity is voluntary, on both sides.
    Does he mean cowardice for not venturing beyond the group? How about both sides?

    February 19, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. Andy

    Leave him alone! He is entitled to his opinion just like Rush Limbaugh.

    February 19, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. no to corporate politics

    Holder missed this last election when Obama brought race up in some form or another in most of his speeches. And his followers talked of little else but the historic (race) election.

    The only people cowardly about race right now are those afraid to express any criticism of our president for fear of being called racist.

    This is going to get ugly – no politician can keep all their promises and Obama has made it clear he will blame race to avoid the image of failure. And he has his surrogates ready to whine.

    Questioning Authority is not racist.

    February 19, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. Kim in Canada

    When I was in school, they taught us that America was a 'melting pot', whereas Canada was a "mosaic" ~ each individual, race, gender and culture making up a unique part of the picture that is Canada, each contributing something special to the whole.

    How would things change if America thought itself a 'mosaic' and started celebrating each of the unique and valuable contributions that every culture brings to the big picture ~ rather than attempting to get each individual part to conform to one standard of ideal?

    February 19, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. naqib

    Comming from one of the most powerful people on the planet... yea... that makes sense.

    February 19, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. Scott, Tucson

    Seems to me that the only racist here is Holder and his fellow democrats who keep trying to beat us over the head with this issue.

    February 19, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. MAD

    One other thing. AG Holder makes a good arguement in light of the Post's cartoon yesterday.

    I don't recall every seeing a picture of our former President depicted as a crazed animal shot in the chest with blood coming out.

    Say what you will but that cartoon was racist. We still have a very long way to go.

    February 19, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. a newly blue state-VA

    I think it's unfortunate that we can't get past that quote. There is more to what he said than just that quote and if we don't address the rest of what he said, then yes, we are cowards. Just because Obama is POTUS does not mean we openly and effectively address racial issues in this country. Many people don't want to be seen as racist/politically incorrect/insensitive. On the other side, we need to be able to talk about it while understanding where the other side is coming from and calmly discuss our perceptions. This doesn't usually happen. Once something is said, one person gets called a name and the other gets defensive and it blows up. One side does not stop and at least try to understand the other side. We all want to be heard, but can't offer an ear to another.

    February 19, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. Thinking Person

    I am sooooo tired of politicians talking down the United States and its citizens. STOP THE NEGATIVITY AND HATE!!! We pay you to represent us, not insult and demean.

    February 19, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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