Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States, recently commented that “some” of the criticism of President Obama comes because he is African-American. In other words, Holder is claiming that some amount of Right Wing criticism is racist. Holder was very careful in the way he said it, saying only “some” of the criticism is race-based, but how much is “some?”
I know prejudice still exists, and will always exist in the hearts of sinful people (that means all of us, because all have sinned and fall short of God’s standard). Sometimes our prejudice is mild, such as having a low opinion of some group or another (often involving stereotyping). Sometimes it is stronger, often involving subtle but overt actions. For some, it is absolute hatred (think KKK or neo-Nazis). I would like to share some thoughts as I reflect on Holder’s comments.
1. If you want to play in the big leagues, you better be able to take the heat. If a black president (or attorney general) is criticized, they can’t blame it on racism. It’s the way the game is played, like it or not.
2. Obama was elected by a majority, so it’s obvious that many whites voted for him. That’s not bad when you consider what things were like in 1964, the year the civil rights legislation was passed.
3. Certainly there is a small element of the population that dislikes Obama because he’s black, but those aren’t the people in the public eye. What Holder and others are trying to do is paint the Republicans as racist just because they are doing what the opposition party always does: critiques and criticizes the incumbent president. Even for Washington politics, what Holder and others are claiming is pretty sleazy.
Holder could have worded his comments something like this and avoided the controversy:
“The criticism of the president is typical Washington politics, business as usual. I don’t believe race has anything to do with it. However, I wish the tone in Washington would improve and we could relearn the art of compromise rather than continue the dysfunction we see today.”
Unfortunately Holder chose to say something else, and now we have another thing to divide the parties and the races.