Rich Tucker

Looks as if April Fool’s Day came early this year.

In a puzzling move, the nation’s first black attorney general decided Wednesday to tackle the pressing issue of … race relations. “We, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race,” Eric Holder announced. “Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.”

Is that so?

Well, by all means, let’s open this “conversation.” So what did you think of the political cartoon in the New York Post recently? The drawing shows two cops who’ve just shot a chimp. “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill,” the officers say.

The art plays off the story of a chimp that recently went crazy in Connecticut (where many Post readers live). It attacked a woman and was shot dead by police. But some, of course, see the cartoon as a racist attack on Holder’s boss.

“Being that the stimulus bill has been the first legislative victory of President Barack Obama (the first African American president) and has become synonymous with him it is not a reach to wonder are they inferring that a monkey wrote the last bill?” serial race-baiter Al Sharpton complained in a statement.

That comment is absurd. Everyone knows Obama didn’t actually write the “stimulus” bill; he outsourced that task to Congress. Besides, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief explained, the cartoon “broadly mocks Washington’s efforts to revive the economy. Again, Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist.”

So: there was a brief conversation on race. Was that what the country needed?

Sure, sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson told CNN. “We still lack a great deal of integrity and background and honesty about race and perhaps if we had more forthright conversations about race, we wouldn’t have to have these subterranean discourses that really are more malevolent.”

But, the anchor asked, what if a white person insisted the Post’s cartoon wasn’t racist? “They might be ignorant,” the Georgetown professor responded. “Openness doesn’t mean that you’re going to be right. Just because you’re willing to be honest doesn’t mean that we have to say that you’re right. It means that we’re willing to expose our ignorance and give that on the altar of conversation so that all of us can be better by it.”

Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for