Bermuda Fables

"I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians." – Charles De Gaulle

Holder is da man… February 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — alsys @ 12:59 pm

The first black-american Attorney General blew race out of the water yeaterday. During a speech to honour Black History Month, he chose to not take the pithy route. He chose to give a stern talking to America. One which resonates (or should) so loud here too. 

Attorney General Eric Holder: “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.

“We average Americans simply do not talk enough with each other about race. It is an issue we have never been at ease with and given our nation’s history, this is in some ways understandable. And yet, if we are to make progress in this area, we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us.

“As a nation we have done a pretty good job in melding the races in the workplace. We work with one another, lunch together and, when the event is at the workplace during work hours or shortly thereafter, we socialize with one another fairly well, irrespective of race.

“And yet even this interaction operates within certain limitations. We know, by ‘American instinct’ and by learned behavior, that certain subjects are off limits and that to explore them risks, at best embarrassment, and, at worst, the questioning of one’s character.

“And outside the workplace the situation is even more bleak in that there is almost no significant interaction between us. 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. This is truly sad.

“This will be, at first, a process that is both awkward and painful, but the rewards are, I believe, potentially great. The alternative is to allow to continue the polite, restrained mixing that now passes as meaningful interaction, but that in reality accomplishes very little.”


Now, what’s the solution?


12 Responses to “Holder is da man…”

  1. Martin Says:

    For many whites, the mixing he mentions is polite for most of the time – he is right.

    I sometimes wonder, however, to what extent we make assumptions of each other simply because we prefer our own kind. That’s not just a black/white either – it’s also very much a class thing. It’s often based around things we have in common, aspects of culture etc.


  2. Uncle Elvis Says:

    I think the solution is, as he put it, “we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us.”

    Comfortable and tolerant.

    This means no defensiveness, no namecalling, no finger pointing, no baseless accusations, no assumptions, political gameplay, no agendas other than bringing us together, both racially and culturally.

  3. alsys31 Says:

    Geez, UE, when you put it that way…. Not asking for much, are we?

  4. 32n64w Says:

    Not asking for much, are we?

    Well perhaps not what we have now with RC?

  5. Uncle Elvis Says:


    I think if we can all remember that we all know each other… or at the VERY least know someone that knows you… then it suddenly becomes easier, y’know?

    It’s a little harder to call me a racist white supremacist when we’ve had coffee together.

    And it’s a little easier to get to the bits that are honestly problems.

  6. Martin Says:

    What’s the solution…?

    Step 1 – Learning to trust each other.

  7. Casual Observer Says:

    UE – I think you’ve hit on an interesting point: ignorance. The less you know about something or somebody, the easier it is and the more inclined we are to make assumptions or attempt to make sense of and rationalize the only way we know how.

    If I know you, or know somebody that knows you, there is a greater sense of familiarity and less of an inclination to chalk something you might say or do up to being racist. Because I KNOW you and know better… and also that degree of familiarity should at least allow me to be able to draw your attention to something that you may have said or done that was inadvertantly offensive. It provides a broader context than just simply black and white.

    I think a greater level of interaction is vital to relegating stereotypes and ignorance to the past.

  8. Uncle Elvis Says:

    There’s also the “Anonymity + Freedom of speech = Asshole” thing. I’m not denouncing anonymity, just observing that there is a factor of “I don’t know this person, they don’t know me, so I don’t have to edit my thoughts” in this, especially in Bermuda.

  9. Educated Pigs Says:

    The man is a joker because America is a white country and he Holder just a token uncle tom trying to get into the masters house instead of putting his money in the hood. Blacks fail because they chase white validation instead of helping the poor in their community. This is why poor blacks use drugs to hide the hatred for poor leadership and race prostitutes. Gimme a crack pipe before i vomit.

  10. Uncle Elvis Says:


    That was helpful.

    Completely incorrect, but… um… helpful?

  11. […] or pay it much mind. However, as its been the top post now for one of my favourite Bermudian blogs, Bermuda Fables, I’ve decided to read over his speech and give my thoughts on it, as per Alsys’s […]

  12. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

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