In a speech on February 18 marking Black History month Attorney General Eric Holder said:

"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race."

Some critics have called Holder's comments "offensive" and others can lauded them as "honest" and "constructively provocative."

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