I found Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent comments surprising, refreshing, but a little off base. As somebody with a deep, personal, and professional interest in race and “race issues” in this society, I still felt a little nervous at his invocation of the masculinist conception of “bravery” and “guts” in the cause of something more equitable.
He may have had the context right, but just chose the wrong word, the wrong analytical framework. I quote from the Holy Scripture, the Book of Shirley, chapter 8:
So I do not see myself as a lawmaker, an innovator in the field of legislation. America has the laws and material resources it takes to insure justice for all its people. What it lacks is the heart, the humanity, the Christian love that it would take. It is perhaps unrealistic to hope that I can help give this nation any of those things, but that is what I believe I have to try to do.
From Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed (Houghton Mifflin, 1970), 90.