Why Eric Holder’s “race speech” was better than Barack Obama’s

From The Root:

Holder Eric Holder’s confrontational speech to members of the Justice Department on Wednesday spoke plainly and bluntly about the level of racial discourse in America. “Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot,” he said, “in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.” However equivocal his windup, Holder’s line was a punch in the face to America. As top cop of the United States, it’s his job to play the disciplinarian—but the lengthy admonition, given in honor of Black History Month, by the first African American attorney general, was the verbal equivalent to shock and awe.

“On Saturdays and Sundays, America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some 50 years ago,” Holder said. “This is truly sad.” He spoke, with a tinge of bitterness, of the “polite, restrained mixing that now passes as meaningful interaction but that accomplishes little.” Sure, blacks and whites mingle at the workplace or in the marketplace, on the subway or in line at the deli, but voluntary segregation, he assured his listeners, is still rampant.

America talked a lot about race during the 2008 campaign. We chewed over Barack Obama’s biraciality, his cleanliness and articulateness, the question of whether he'd be black enough, the reluctance of older blacks to back him, Michelle Obama’s American-ness and her collegiate views on race relations, the role of the Hispanic vote in sending western swing states into the blue column, and the maelstrom of commentary that followed the “revelation” that when it comes to race, Pastor Jeremiah Wright is not, in fact, a big fan of the United States.

More here.