CNN glamour girl newsie Campbell Brown tossed a bouquet at the feet of Attorney General Eric Holder on her “Cutting Through the Bull” segment of her “Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull” show on Wednesday night. Holder’s speech at the Justice Department in honor of Black History Month certainly got the country’s attention but it was hardly an example of “cutting through the bull.” If anything it is the sort of statement that not only will not help to increase understanding of the issue but will, through its incoherent logic and lack of perspective, create new divisions.
First of all, the idea of our first African-American attorney general serving in the administration of our first African-American president, choosing to say that America is a “nation of cowards” on the issue of race is absurd to the point of satire. Race may well be the original sin of American history but in schools all across this country this month, white, Hispanic and Asian children are learning about Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks. Racism may still exist but it lingers on the margins of our society and anyone who expresses any remark which can even be remotely accused of such prejudice is subjected to the sort of opprobrium that means permanent exile from positions of influence in politics, the media or even the arts.
And it was, after all, a clear majority of those “cowards” who elected Barack Obama president of the United States. While the endless round of self-congratulation on the part of so many Americans for doing this may be tiresome, it is nonetheless a fact that a nation that once enshrined black slavery in its Constitution and still practiced Jim Crow segregation only a half century now is led by a black man. While one could have said in the past few decades at times that the lowering of racial barriers was more a matter of law than anything else, after last November you can’t say that anymore. And for Holder, of all people, to make that argument from his own powerful perch atop the Justice Department is particularly egregious.
Even if we look beyond his bilious rhetoric about cowardice, Holder’s thoughts about Black History Month itself are utterly incoherent. He decries the “segregation” of black history into one month and claims that it must “integrated” into the history of the nation as a whole. He’s right about that. All too much of the teaching of history in this country has become subservient to politically correct notions about race and gender and even sexual preference. However the answer to this segregation is not more “affirmative action,” but the sort of race-blind policies that Holder has done everything in his power to not merely oppose but to delegitimize.
For Campbell Brown to applaud him for saying this is the worst sort of obsequious flackery which we have come to expect from so much of the mainstream press these days. The real “affirmative action” here is the pass that Holder is getting for giving a speech that reflects so badly on the Obama administration.