White House Opens Up on Race
Obama's inner circle talks candidly about racial issues
By Erin Mendell,  Newser User
Posted Feb 28, 2009 3:03 PM CST
"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been essentially a nation of cowards," Attorney General Eric Holder, said.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – In a break from the tone of the Obama campaign, members of the White House inner-circle are talking candidly about race. Eric Holder's "nation of cowards" remark caught the most attention, but Michelle Obama and  EPA chief Lisa Jackson—also the first African-American in her position—have moved the conversation forward as well, writes Krissah Thompson in the Washington Post. Whether the nation is ready to join in is another question.

Some think there's a danger in talking about the issue too much. "Better to have the president and his top African-American aides serve as role models and achieve the broader objective by indirection," said one political scientist. Others see a danger in ignoring it. "I think that the line is, 'We've elected the black president, and now we're post-racial and everybody should just shut up.' It's very dismissive," said the head of a think tank on race.