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America a nation of cowards: Attorney General

General of the US, Eric Holder, has said the country despite advances essentially remains “a nation of cowards” on racial issues, with most Americans avoiding candid discussions on matters of race.

world Updated: Feb 19, 2009 14:16 IST

General of the US, Eric Holder, has said the country despite advances essentially remains “a nation of cowards” on racial issues, with most Americans avoiding candid discussions on matters of race.

“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 in his speech at Justice Department on the occasion of Black History Month.

“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,” he said.

“It is an issue that we have never been at ease with, and given our nation’s history, this is in some ways understandable,” he said.

The month of February is observed as Black History Month. Holder’s comment immediately generated heated debate in the US media, specially the television news channels.

Holder said one cannot understand America without understanding the historical experience of black people in this nation. Simply put, to get to the heart of this country, one must examine its racial soul, he observed.