Thursday, February 19, 2009
Eric Holder, a man of race
Eric Holder has lived in a world of black and white. As a judge in Washington D.C., Holder saw a parade of young black teens paraded before him for any number of violent offenses, a shameful testament to lawlessness.
His comments yesterday, noting that America has been cowardly on the issue of race, is one more ridiculous statement from a man obsessed with his own race.
On one hand, it is understandable, given Holder’s front row seat to the horrific occurrence of black-on-black crime. He appears at a glance to be a sensitive man and this has surely affected if not informed his view.
On the other hand, he is speaking to a nation that has just elected its first black president. This is not the time to castigate that same nation on the issue of race.
In terms of his own performance on the issue of race, Holder is at least consistent.
* In 1995, 23-year-old Donzell McCauley, who murdered a D.C. police officer in 1993 – yes, justice moves very slow in the District – asked a federal judge to review the Justice Department’s decision to seek the death penalty. McCauley’s lawyer asked the judge to consider whether McCauley was the victim of racism in the capital-punishment case because he is black. Holder, U.S. attorney at the time, had recommended to the Justice Department against the death penalty in the case, but Attorney General Janet Reno disagreed, and, after several meetings, Mr. Holder and Miss Reno announced that they would pursue the death penalty. Holder later accepted a plea bargain with McCauley that sent the man to prison for life with no parole.
* In 1996, Holder, then the chief prosecutor for the District of Columbia, told a Washington Post reporter who asked him about race-based jury decisions: "We live in a very race-conscious society and it's going to be a part of it. People shouldn't be surprised."
* In 1997, giving an address at a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights division of the Department of Justice, Holder, said “Forty years ago, the civil rights problems our country faced were, in some ways, rather obvious. We now live in a time when many must be reminded, if not convinced, that discrimination still exists. Some would have us believe that racism and prejudice are things of the past. At the Justice Department, we know differently.”
* In 1999, a Justice Department study came out revealing that 24% of blacks were dissatisfied with police compared to 10% of whites. The survey was taken in 12 cities. We don’t know which ones, since the Justice Department press release didn’t say. But Holder announced that "There's still too great a gulf between the views of the minority community and white residents,” and said he would initiate meetings with civil rights leaders and police officials to ponder alleged police misconduct involving minorities.
"Next week's conference is aimed at exploring ways to break the barriers of misunderstanding and distrust that are still far too common among many of our nation's police agencies and the residents," Holder said.
Apparently, that conference failed miserably, given his statements of yesterday.