Holder's remarks were made at Morgan State University on Saturday.
Racism was the focus of Attorney General Eric Holder’s commencement address at Morgan State University on Saturday.
This university, historically populated by African American students, gave Holder the perfect platform with which to respond to recent racially-motivated remarks heard in the news, like the ones expressed by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.
While Sterling and Bundy were not named outright during the speech, Holder referenced their actions in a transcript of the speech obtained by the Washington Post:
“These outbursts of bigotry, while deplorable, are not the true markers of the struggle that still must be waged, or the work that still needs to be done. The greatest threats are more subtle. They cut deeper. And their terrible impact endures long after the headlines have faded and obvious, ignorant expressions of hatred have been marginalized,” said Holder.
The subtle threats, referenced by Holder on the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, involved voter ID laws, racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and zero-tolerance policies in schools. His claim throughout the speech referenced these areas as directly discriminatory toward disenfranchised groups in the country, particularly those of African-American descent. Holder encouraged students to recognize subtle forms of racism in the U.S. and to stand up to injustice by uncovering ways, through discourse, to identify solutions to these problems.
In 2009, Holder garnered attention when he referred to the United States as “essentially a nation of cowards“ at a speech given during Black History Month.