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December 2009


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Ebony and GQ Magazines Give Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Major Shout Outs

Holder in GQ (left) and in Ebony
Holder in GQ (left) and in Ebony

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON –– Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. is getting serious shout outs this month in some major magazines —  GQ and Ebony. Not bad.

Ebony, in its December/January issue,  listed Holder as one of the “Ebony Power 150” along with such notables as Michelle Obama, Bill Cosby, Rev. Al Sharpton, Spike Lee, Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah.

“Here’s to you Mr. Holder,” the magazine wrote “for not biting your tongue and  for speaking up for what’s right. Finally, the Justice Department may actually carry out real justice. Holder has already rolled back the Bush administration’s policies on toture, disparities in sentencing and racial-profiling.”

And in the December GQ, in its “Men of the Year Issue”, Holder has been crowned a “Maverick.” It’s a compliment even if vice presidential Sarah Palin tossed that term around during the 2008 campaign like confetti in a parade.

Holder, as in the Ebony list, is in good company with such big names as President  Barack Obama, Alec Baldwin and Clint Eastwood.

“Inside the foyer of the Justice Department, two photographs grace the wall,” the GQ article says of Holder. “One shows the president, the other the attorney general. Over the years, the pictures have changed, but the change has never been more apparent than now: for the first time in history, both portraits are of young black men.

“The election of of Barack Obama last fall marked a shattering of racial barriers. But in many ways, his selection of Eric Holder as attorney general was an even more powerful symbol. No other federal agency has a more complicated history with race that the DoJ. At times a beacon of hope, enforcing civil rights, the department is also tarnished, as all American law enforcement is tarnished by the intractable problems of police brutality and racial profiling. To see a black man appointed as the nation’s top cop has special resonance in communities of color.

“Over the past ten months, Holder has learned to leverage his power — both actual an symbolic. He has reinvigorated the DoJ’s commitment to civil rights, launching long overdue investigations of banking discrimination, and detainee abuse. But he has also reached far beyond the department, attend a rally in Selma to remember Bloody Sunday and speaking out in Chicago after a surge in youth violence.

“I think it gives confidence to people who have suffered discrimination and injustice to know that they have a champion,” says Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama’s closest advisers. “Eric has walked in their shoes.”

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