America’s Big Pink Elephant Is Back

Eric Holder: a nation of cowards
Eric Holder: "a nation of cowards"

Well its there, its in the room, in the way, no way around it, and you can’t ignore it.  You can pretend it isn’t there, but you have to ask yourself, do big pink elephants really exist?  Well in this case, they probably do.  The big pink elephant we’re talking about is racism in America.  The topic reared its head twice this week, which was two more reminders to America that there’s a topic has to be talked about, but no one really wants to, and others constantly ignore.

That specific question was touched on by the recently confirmed Attorney General Eric Holder.  Holder, the nation’s first African-American elected in that position, stirred up much talk on the sensitive subject.  He was speaking to Department of Justice employees at a Black History Month Event.  The highly publicized comment of his, “a nation of cowards,” was said in the reference that Americans are afraid of the topic of race saying that talking about the “off-limits” subjects risk embarrassment and questionable characterizations.

But yet to further crumble your cookie, we have another incident that tugged on the elephants trunk.  A New York Post cartoon that sat out to satirize two of this weeks water-cooler topics, the shooting of a wild chimpanzee and the signing of the economic stimulus bill.  The cartoon that depicted two police officers, after shooting a chimpanzee dead, had one saying “they’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”  The outrage spawned by the cartoon has raised a variety of comments from funny, outrageous, to lame and of course racist.  Many relating the depiction of the monkey to that of President Barack Obama, and naturally drawing to racist conclusions, considering the racial association of African-Americans and primates.  People would argue both sides, “the monkey isn’t referring to Obama, but to lawmakers who wrote the bill,” to “on the danger scale of 1 to 10 the chimp cartoon scored a 9.”

Not for nothin’, but these two issues are forcing Americans touch on the issues of racism in America.  And with our president being the first African-American president and other African-Americans in prominent positions such as Attorney General and head of the Republican National Committee, this issue may make us take it head on.  But are we ready for it? 

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