Tony then goes on to illustrate what changed his mind: the mayor in Orange County who had "no idea that there was a racial stereotype about black people having an insatiable lust for watermelons" after e-mailing an image of the White House with a watermelon filled lawn and the drunken kids of Madison County, Arkansas waving the Rebel flag and shouting racial epithets at the black electrical workers who were there to rebuild the area's power grid after a recent ice storm.
Perhaps I spoke too soon last week when I described U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's approach to starting a national discussion about race as "ham-fisted." You'll recall that Mr. Holder called us a "nation of cowards" for maintaining social segregation long after the battles for integration had been won.
While I agreed with his overall point, his didactic tone bothered me. It lacked the subtlety needed to get past the defenses of people in denial. There was also something hypocritical about accusing Americans of ducking honest dialogue about race when his own boss made a point of de-emphasizing it during the presidential campaign. We would prefer that Mr. Holder indict Dick Cheney for crimes against the U.S. Constitution, not point fingers at us.
That was last week. This week I'm feeling a lot more sympathetic toward the attorney general's position.
Tony ends with:
It isn't that Attorney General Holder went too far in his comments last week. He didn't go far enough.