A Nation of Cowards

February 19, 2009

Obama’s newly-appointed attorney general, Eric Holder, says we’re a “nation of cowards” when it comes to race relations:

“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot in things racial, we have always been, and we, I believe, continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards,” Holder said at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. “Though race-related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about things racial.

In the first place, the “average Americans” were brave enough to elect the first black president in the history of the United States a few months ago.  But Holder is right, when it comes to public life, as opposed to the privacy of a voting booth, Americans are much more tentative.

Is it any wonder why?  Because of the amount of employment litigation in this country, combined with the forces of political correctness, we get all sorts of “diversity training” at our jobs telling us that we dare not say anything that might make a co-worker “uncomfortable.”  The topic of race certainly makes people uncomfortable.  And the more that Holder pursues racial harassment claims on the part of the DOJ, the more tentative Americans will become.  And if people learn that they can’t talk about race (or gender differences, or religion) at work, that is going to spread to other areas of life.  Eventually, political correctness imposes the silence of which Holder complains. 

Incidentally, I had to suffer through one of those diversity training programs at a prior firm.  The funniest part was the incoherency.  The speaker noted that we’d heard of the “golden rule”, where we must treat others as we would have others treat us, but he encouraged us to go “beyond” the golden rule to the “platinum rule”, where we treat others as they would like to be treated.  That, of course, makes no sense.  Consider this hypothetical: I would like everyone to give me all of their money.  If my coworkers are to follow the platinum rule, they must give me all of their money.  If they follow the golden rule, on the other hand, they can tell me I’m being immature or greedy, as some of them no doubt would like to be told that if they were silly enough to make such a demand.  In any event, the members of my firm were unable to follow the platinum rule.  They certainly didn’t treat me the way I (or probably most people) would like to be treated, which is why I left…


4 Responses to “A Nation of Cowards”

  1. The Great Eccentric Says:

    Bravo on standing up for your ethics and beliefs. Would that everyone were as brave as you, the situation we find ourselves in would not be nearly so grave.

  2. thenaturallawyer Says:

    Thank you for the kind comment. I don’t know how much “bravery” I can claim for posting comments on an anonymous blog (if I were to reveal my identity in the “about” section, it would be a great deal braver). However, I would hope that we could one day achieve the state where it takes far less bravery to voice one’s politically incorrect beliefs.

  3. Jeff Says:

    I was in a check out line at Safeway earlier this week, in line behind a parking enforcement officer. The clerk was nervously talking about a parking ticket that she successfully dodged. The one thing that she said that surprised me:

    “Thank the Lord! — err, umm — whoever…”

    I had to ask myself: “I wonder if she would have said that, if she wasn’t on the clock, dealing with customers?”

    Do we live in a so-called “free society” if members of said society fear even the most *basic* expression of personal freedoms within the workplace?

    I mean, sure, I could be reading waaaay too much into her situation. However, in this “Christian” nation of ours (as so-described by Jihadists), no one ever alludes to Biblical “literature” in a public arena anymore. Just watch the beginning of “It’s A Wonderful Life” (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4867975537967299162) and see what I mean.

    The cultural memes of yesteryear were often based on the substantial and timeless teachings of scripture. As we continue to lose our country’s foundational commonality, we continue to lose our American culture in general.

  4. thenaturallawyer Says:

    Safeway? I haven’t heard of those in quite a while. When I was in DC, there was the “Social Safeway” near the Georgetown campus, and the “Unsafeway” in Southeast DC (which is the one I went to more often).

    Anyway, that is a pretty funny story about the clerk. She clearly got the “sensitivity training” from Safeway (no doubt approved by its expensive lawyers). I think we’re going to see more and more of this in the coming years, and it may eventually be legally required. Already in California, the State Bar requires every attorney to attend at least one class called “elimination of bias” as part of the continuing legal education program. I’m not kidding: “elimination of bias.” I’m biased against the “elimination of bias” class, and unfortunately the class failed to erase that bias. But I will note that the State Bar is biased against people who don’t want to attend the “elimination of bias” class. Maybe they should attend their own class to have their bias eliminated…

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