We Need to Rid Mississippi of Racist Organizations

By Chris Uchello
"Teen Speak," The Biloxi Sun Herald, Monday, February 8, 1999

Recently, an aide in the Washington D.C. mayor's office resigned from his position because he used the word "niggardly," meaning stingy or selfish.

I agree that we must always remain vigilant against racists who infiltrate our government, but this if far from racism. While this man has lost a career, there are still other government officials who have yet to suffer the consequences of their racist affiliations with a group known as the Council of Conservative Citizens.

Two of these officials are from the great state of Mississippi.

An intelligence report from the Southern Poverty Law Center states that there are 13 hate groups active within Mississippi, ranging from neo-Nazi skinhead groups to other organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of White People.

The Council of Conservative Citizens isn't mentioned specifically in this report, but it doesn't take a seasoned detective to find out what the organization is really about. The CofCC is the phoenix risen from the ashes of the old Citizens Councils, an upgraded, more "respectable" version of the Ku Klux Klan.

The CofCC functions under the disguise of a legitimate anti-tax, anti-big government conservative interest group. While they are "anti" both of those things, they are also anti-black, anti-gay, anti-race-mixing, anti-immigration and anti-immigrant. These beliefs have even led to their expulsion from legitimate conservative groups such as the Conservative Political Action Conference whose president, David Keene, calls the CofCC a group of "racists."

As if their existence within Mississippi isn't enough to tarnish the image of our state, two of our most influential political leaders have given speeches at CofCC meetings: Gov. Kirk Fordice and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss.

Since the news broke about his speech at the meeting, Lott has tried to distance himself from the organization, claiming he had no prior knowledge as to its racist agenda.

I find it impossible to believe that someone who was born and raised in Mississippi, went to college in Mississippi and was elected to public office in Mississippi doesn't know what the CofCC is really about. All he has to do is make a quick phone call to his own uncle Arnie Watson, a former state senator and CofCC member, who I'm sure will be glad to inform Sen. Lott of the group's position - and remind Lott that he is an "honorary member" of the organization.

A quick glance around the CofCC's charming Web site (www.cofcc.org) will reveal its motives. It speaks of the need for a Southern Nationalist Movement, which amounts to a second Civil War, because of problems such as "black behavior" and "third world immigration."

In their strategy outline, members maintain that their goal is sanctioned by God and speak of the necessity of meeting with responsible black leaders to figure out how land is to be divided and where borders are to be drawn in the new country the Southern Nationalist Movement would form.

Mississippi has come a long way from Gov. Ross Barnett and the 1950s and 60s, but there is always room for improvement. This state cannot afford to ignore racist organizations within its boundaries. Just because you don't hear from them doesn't mean they don't exist; prejudice is by nature a silent something that eats you from the inside out.

It has often been said that you can't hold a man down without staying down with him. I sincerely hope that Trent Lott will change, if only for the pride of the people he represents.