Attorney General

Holder Says US Is ‘Nation of Cowards’ in Racial Discussions

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Attorney General Eric Holder isn’t afraid to talk about race, and he says Americans shouldn’t be either.

In a speech to Justice Department employees commemorating Black History Month, Holder said Americans are reluctant to discuss awkward racial issues and tend to segregate outside the workplace, the Associated Press reports.

“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards,” Holder, the first black attorney general, said in the speech. “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 race.”

Holder says the nation has “done a pretty good job in melding the races in the workplace” but there is little significant interaction outside the job. Rather than debating issues such as affirmative action in a nuanced way, Americans embrace talk of quick, easy solutions and retreat to their “race-protected cocoons,” he said.

Americans can “hasten the day when we truly become one America” if we “engage one another more routinely,” he said.

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