[guest post by Dana]
Attorney General Eric Holder was recently interviewed and discussed race and activism, among other things:
He is … critical of the conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts’ famous formula — “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race” — troubles him.
“There are still [racial] issues we as a society are working our way through,” Holder said. “And the lack of desire to do that, I think, undermines the ability that I think is inherent in the American people to make progress. But it also does not prepare us for demographic changes, the likes of which this country has never seen.”
He added: “The justice system is part of the larger society and to the extent there are racial issues we are still grappling with, it is not a shock that you are going to see them in the justice system… [There is] a whole range of ways the justice system, if it is run properly, can make this country the country it wants to be.”
Further in the interview, the accusation made by conservatives that Holder is an activist, was addressed. As he put it, it’s the result of his digging into “policies [with] disproportionate impact on communities of color.”
“If you want to call me an activist attorney general, I will proudly accept that label,” he said. “Any attorney general who is not an activist is not doing his or her job. The responsibility of the attorney general is to change things [and] bring us closer to the ideals expressed in our founding documents.”
Later, he defiantly added that critics who say his department includes an “activist civil rights division and this is an activist attorney general — I’d say I agree with you 1000 percent and [I am] proud of it.”
And of course, the infamous nation of cowards accusation he made against, well, all of us, also came up. He made the accusation because he believed the collective ‘we’ do not wish to have a serious dialogue about racial disparities and outcomes in our nation. Of course, he did not clarify that said discussion can only have one acceptable outcome:
Disparate racial outcomes “are not only shameful and unacceptable – they impede our ability to see that justice is done,” Holder said. “And they perpetuate cycles of poverty, crime and incarceration that trap individuals, destroy communities and decimate minority neighborhoods.”
Ironically, the interview took place in Philadelphia… you know, where the Black Panthers staked out the polling station intimidating voters… and the subsequent charges against the New Black Panther Party were dismissed. By the Attorney General.