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An Open Conversation with Eric Holder
I am Black and I don't agree with Eric Holder. I think Americans, North and South and everywhere have open and honest conversations about values and ideas of groups with different skin colors, and other traits of diversity. They talk about black-on-black crime, the lost generation of young African-American men, the outrageous pregnancy rates of African-American teenagers, the foul insensitive language of gangsta hip-hop. Sometimes the honesty is not so nice. Sometimes it stereotypes and slurs. But other times people ask geniune questions about the attitudes and views about the African-American part of the American mosaic.During the American early years, the voices of abolitionists and slaveholders hotly and openly debated "race" as a legal, pyschological, and human condition. The debate was carried on in churches, legislative chanbers, and meeting halls--as well as coffee houses, stage coaches, and family dinner tables. Race is an old topic in America, and many think its time to give it a rest.As an African-American, I enjoy the challenge of climbing out of my own skin and seeing the world wholly. I refuse to play victim, or to fit into a box. And I certainly never speak threateningly or shrilly to call out others for their voices or their silence. The experience of being an African-American in America has been a journey of wonder. The discovery of insights has matured my understanding beyond blind allegiance to the closed doors and discrimination of my early years. Yet surprisingly, many folk believe that African-Americans lose their critical eye when assessing the positions or ideas held by others with whom they are linked by common history and blood. These folk think the African-American response is often knee-jerk, unthinking and uncritical. Eric Holder is currently—and rightly—their poster child. His loud, brash, big brush wolf statement probably won't draw anyone out to sensitively and sensibly dialogue about how race or other diverse traits affects individuals and communities. For example, SwampGator wonders in Beaufort, SC why people who differ with Obama politically are often labeled racist? Well, I don't think legitimate differences are examples of racism. In fact, I wrote a book (www.lulu.com/content/528212) (e-book, 147 p, 100 photo pages; free!) about the bitter conflicts and comments directed at Obama during the campaign and specifically said it wasn't racism that lay behind the attacks and pancake boxes and cartoons and school bus chants and threats. I invite Swamp to join those like me who can discuss differences without labels, and examine positions and ideas on merits. I'll happy to talk and blog with Swamp and others who want to engage in lively exchange about political differences or race. In fact, I'll start the conversation. The common history of African-American heritage is a good place to launch into the discussion. One thing African-Americans have in common is that many outside of the group see the group as having the same attitudes and views! Many outside the group think the majority of African-Americans think alike. I see it constantly on my blogs.Like jazz, or cooking, African-Americans are diverse!That's why I am brave enough to say I disagree with Eric Holder! I think he is wrong. Certainly, the more than 60 million whites who voted for Barack on November 8, as he was attacked as elite, naive, inexperienced, Muslim, hate monger, and scary socialist with the wrong friends, showed plenty of courage. They spoke up loudly and boldly.And if you think they were all stupid, and that's your point of view, it doesn't make you racist.But it doesn't mean I agree with you!