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Holder Rings in New Era at Justice Department

Holder Rings Out Bush Era at Justice Department

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"It was vitally necessary that the nation's top lawyer use the occasion of Black History Month to shake up the department."

Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General, has said the first thing to come out of the Obama Administration that was refreshingly honest and absolutely necessary to the proper exercise of his duties. In a well thought out speech to the U.S. Justice Department commemorating Black History Month, Holder launched a strong critique on the bizarre nature of race relations in the United States. His remarks were clearly crafted to garner news media coverage, as he provoked American macho cowboy pretensions by describing the U.S. as "essentially a nation of cowards" when it comes to race relations. That was sure to get a rise out of the mush-mouths of the corporate media.

Much of Holder's remarks were not so much about cowardice - the fear of speaking honestly on racial questions - but an abysmal ignorance. To the extent that Black people are omitted or marginalized in the teaching of American history, American history makes no sense. As Holder pointed out, "the study of black history is essential because the history of black America and the history of this nation are inextricably tied to each other.... For example," said the Attorney General, "the history of the United States in the 19th century revolves around a resolution of the question of how America was going to deal with its black inhabitants." To which I will add: if you don't understand that, you know nothing of your country.

"The Bush gang turned the agency into a den of corruption and criminality where no ‘justice' could be found, and the term ‘civil rights' was an epithet."

It's been only a month since a gaggle of know-nothing, arrogantly racist and essentially cowardly white men ran the Justice Department. In the space of eight years, they turned the agency into a den of corruption and criminality where no "justice" could be found, and the term "civil rights" was an epithet. By the time the Bush men were through, "virtually all" of the career lawyers that were hired were right-wing ideologues opposed to the very concept of affirmative action, or the mere idea of "diversity." The Justice Department - and especially its Civil Rights Division - had been largely transformed into a racist club.

For this reason, it was vitally necessary that the nation's top lawyer use the occasion of Black History Month to shake up the department, and let the rest of us know that it's a new day, that George Bush and his Ku Klux klavern are really gone - something that is not so evident in the rest of the Obama Administration, for example, at the Defense Department.

Holder reminded his employees that, "outside the workplace...there is almost no significan

Holder Rings Out Bush Era at Justice Department

nm_holder_080620_mn

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"It was vitally necessary that the nation's top lawyer use the occasion of Black History Month to shake up the department."

Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General, has said the first thing to come out of the Obama Administration that was refreshingly honest and absolutely necessary to the proper exercise of his duties. In a well thought out speech to the U.S. Justice Department commemorating Black History Month, Holder launched a strong critique on the bizarre nature of race relations in the United States. His remarks were clearly crafted to garner news media coverage, as he provoked American macho cowboy pretensions by describing the U.S. as "essentially a nation of cowards" when it comes to race relations. That was sure to get a rise out of the mush-mouths of the corporate media.

Much of Holder's remarks were not so much about cowardice - the fear of speaking honestly on racial questions - but an abysmal ignorance. To the extent that Black people are omitted or marginalized in the teaching of American history, American history makes no sense. As Holder pointed out, "the study of black history is essential because the history of black America and the history of this nation are inextricably tied to each other.... For example," said the Attorney General, "the history of the United States in the 19th century revolves around a resolution of the question of how America was going to deal with its black inhabitants." To which I will add: if you don't understand that, you know nothing of your country.

"The Bush gang turned the agency into a den of corruption and criminality where no ‘justice' could be found, and the term ‘civil rights' was an epithet."

It's been only a month since a gaggle of know-nothing, arrogantly racist and essentially cowardly white men ran the Justice Department. In the space of eight years, they turned the agency into a den of corruption and criminality where no "justice" could be found, and the term "civil rights" was an epithet. By the time the Bush men were through, "virtually all" of the career lawyers that were hired were right-wing ideologues opposed to the very concept of affirmative action, or the mere idea of "diversity." The Justice Department - and especially its Civil Rights Division - had been largely transformed into a racist club.

For this reason, it was vitally necessary that the nation's top lawyer use the occasion of Black History Month to shake up the department, and let the rest of us know that it's a new day, that George Bush and his Ku Klux klavern are really gone - something that is not so evident in the rest of the Obama Administration, for example, at the Defense Department.

Holder reminded his employees that, "outside the workplace...there is almost no significant interaction" among the races, a situation that does not "differ significantly from the country that existed some 50 years ago." Holder juxtaposed the myth of the "ethnic melting pot" with the reality of racial cowardice. Although Holder didn't mention it, even the term "melting pot" as most Americans use it, is based on an incomplete quotation. The term originally came into vogue on the popularity of a 1908 play called "The Melting Pot." But the actual words in the play were, "America is God's Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and reforming."  That is, America was a diversity of white people, only.

And if you don't know that, you don't know white America and its history.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. 

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

t interaction" among the races, a situation that does not "differ significantly from the country that existed some 50 years ago." Holder juxtaposed the myth of the "ethnic melting pot" with the reality of racial cowardice. Although Holder didn't mention it, even the term "melting pot" as most Americans use it, is based on an incomplete quotation. The term originally came into vogue on the popularity of a 1908 play called "The Melting Pot." But the actual words in the play were, "America is God's Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and reforming."  That is, America was a diversity of white people, only.

And if you don't know that, you don't know white America and its history.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. 

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20090225_gf_holder.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:12am EDT