Holder on Racism: 'A Nation of Cowards'

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Eric Holder, the nation's first black attorney general, has some harsh words about race relations in America.

"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, a nation of cowards," he told Justice Department employees at a Black History month event.

Was Holder wrong for his comments?  Click play for Bishop Harry Jackson's response.

Holder said the workplace is largely integrated, but Americans still self-segregate on the weekends and in their private lives.

After some backlash over the remarks, Holder released a statement saying he used "provocative words to be clear that Americans of all races should stop avoiding the difficult issues of race."

Hilary Shelton, vice president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, called the speech "constructively provocative."

"Nobody wants to be considered a coward," Shelton said. "We've learned to get along by exclusion and silence. We need to talk about it. People need to feel comfortable saying the wrong things."

Sources: CBN News, The Associated Press

*Originally aired February 19, 2009

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