Saturday, February 21, 2009

The schizophrenia in black leadership: President doesn't mention race while his AG scolds us

To preface my conclusions here, I need to recite from my resume.

In response to racial problems in the upstate New York community where I lived, I directed a program of racial dialogue called Study Circles among 300 readers.

It had an amazing effect. It provided a guide on how to enter such a difficult conversation. And it worked. When we had another racial incident, 500 people of all races turned out for a church service of protest to tell authorities they had better deal with the white offenders with force. They did.

And a clergy committee was created to keep the movement going. Members were from the suburbs and the city, black and white. This program of dialogue I directed from my job as editorial page editor for the Utica Observer-Dispatch was one of four efforts for racial healing cited by the White House in 1998

So it was with great disgust that I listened last week to the race-hating remarks by the new Attorney General Eric Holder. His most outrageous remark was:

“In things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards,” he told his Justice Department employees in remarks prepared to honor Black History Month on Wednesday.

Holder went on to call Americans self-segregators.

He is wrong on both counts. Holder should go to a good therapist to deal with his anger before unleashing it on the American people again.

First, America is not self-segregating. If you go to the suburbs such as Williamson County, TN., you'll find blacks and whites living in the same neighborhood, joined by a common desire to escape the ills of urban life and poor public schools. I know. I've lived there.

If you go on the athletic fields, you find the different races there, and parents sitting together on the sidelines talking and cheering for the same thing.

In actuality, Black History Month is self-segregation itself. AG Holder failed to remove the sty from his own eye before lecturing others. We all should be Americans first along with our history, before being black, white, Hispanic or Asian.

That is a lesson the AG has yet to learn in all the baggage he is carrying.

Second, you don't bring people to dialogue by calling them cowards. And people are not going to sit at the table with people such as Holder there to just unleash their anger.

Study Circles provide a way for both sides to discuss matters without anger. No race gets the advantage in such talks. White and blacks have experiences to share. Both sides have done wrong.

Now consider Holder's supposed boss, President Obama. He never brought up his race in the election. He called on people to just be Americans. So are we to listen to Holder or Obama when it comes to race relations?

The two should have gotten together and talked. Their mixed messages are doing more damage than we supposedly cowardly Americans are inflicting.

The Obama administration has already done damage to the economy and investor confidence. Carrying that incompetence over to race relations as Holder did promises to stagnate social progress this nation should be most proud of.

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