Slow Going to Get Congress to Denounce White Racist Group
Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe Columnist
Boston Globe, Friday, February 12, 1999,
© Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company
a barely tempered incredulity, Robert Wexler cracked that he now
had ''bipartisan'' support. This was Wednesday, when Mike Forbes
of New York became just the first and so far the only Republican
in the US House of Representatives to cosponsor a resolution condemning
the Council of Conservative Citizens.
want to congratulate Mr. Forbes for his courage in being the first
Republican, but this should not be a partisan issue,'' said Wexler,
a Florida Democrat. ''Here we have a clear example of racism and
a white supremacist dogma. Apparently in some quarters this is
not worthy of attention. That is bizarre.''
joined 52 Democrats who so far support the resolution, which was
sent to members last week by Wexler and James Clyburn of South
Carolina. The resolution reminded Congress that the group is descended
from the White Citizens Councils of the 1950s and '60s, the suit-and-tie
side of the Ku Klux Klan.
the council ''promotes racism, divisiveness, and intolerance through
its newsletter, World Wide Web site, and public discourse,'' and
''promulgates dogma that supports white supremacy and anti-Semitism''
and ''provides access to and opportunities for the promotion of
extremist neo-Nazi ideology and propaganda that incites hate crimes
Council of Conservative Citizens was little known until it was
reported that Senate majority leader Trent Lott spoke to the group
several times in the 1990s and hosted council officials in his
office in 1997. Other powerful politicians who have spoken before
the council include Bob Barr, a member of the House Judiciary
Committee; Jesse Helms, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee; and Governor Kirk Fordice of Mississippi.
staff contacted Lott's office 10 days ago to ask Lott to introduce
a similar resolution in the Senate. Wexler has not heard back
from Lott. ''In fairness, we know he's tied up with impeachment,
but it is important that he address the issue,'' Wexler said.
''It is fair for Americans to question the association of members
of Congress with a group that stands for bigotry and racism. We're
way past the point in 1999 where we can push it under the rug.
I'm not looking for anybody's scalp or to embarrass anybody in
Congress. We're looking to embarrass the council for what it is.''
found it easy to embarrass black hate in 1994, voting 97-0 in
the Senate and 361-34 in the House to condemn the vicious anti-Jewish,
antiwhite, antigay idiocies of Khalid Abdul Muhammad. National
media pressure rained down on prominent African-Americans to denounce
Muhammad and forced Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to
demote his top aide.
that same year, white senators refused to reprimand Senator Ernest
Hollings of South Carolina. Hollings, who has referred to black
people as ''darkies'' and Latinos as ''wetbacks,'' said African
heads of state are cannibals who come to international conferences
to ''get a square meal'' instead of ''eating each other.''
no courage for Congress to stomp on Muhammad, who runs little
except his mouth. Wexler's resolution gives Congress another chance
to attack bigotry within its own house, a bigotry at its most
dangerous because no one knows how much of it informs the running
of this country by men like Lott.
is no question of the resegregationist agenda of the Council of
Conservative Citizens when four of the seven links listed on the
home page for former Klan leader David Duke link back to the Council
of Conservative Citizens.
is no question when the council's Web page links to Southern Independence,
a page featuring a Confederate flag and a portrait and quotation
of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest traded slaves. He was a Confederate
general. He founded the KKK.
can be no question of the council's links to anti-Semitism: Several
sites that praise the council and provide links to it bait Jews
in a way that would spur Muhammad to a Nazi salute.
links deny the Holocaust and sell T-shirts with swastikas and
Nazi stormtrooper symbols. Many sites claim, like Muhammad, that
Jews ''suck the blood'' of everyone else, wrapping their ''parasitical
tentacles'' so tightly around Wall Street, the media, and the
entertainment industry that we should be called the ''Jewnited
Snakes of America.''
same goes for their hatred of equal rights for women, gay men
and lesbian women, immigrants of color, rights for anyone who
is not a white, Christian male. That is why Wexler finds it hard
to believe that the same Republicans who moved so quickly to condemn
Muhammad are so uniformly silent about a white organization associated
with the same kind of hate.
would think that everyone would join in this resolution,'' Wexler
said. ''In fairness, it may not be the first thing on everyone's
agenda, but in one week, apparently 48 Democrats'' - now 52 -
''had the time to sign it. Why is it appropriate for this body
to condemn racism by black people but not in this case? There
is not one positive thing about the council. It represents the
worst in America.''