Let's Be Honest About Lott and Barr
By Stanley Crouch
New York Daily News
From: News and Views | Opinion |
Sunday, December 27, 1998
I continue to write about the racist connections
of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi and Georgia
Rep. Bob Barr because it would be irresponsible to do otherwise.
At present, Brother Lott and Brother Barr are
trying to unstick themselves from the vanilla tar baby of the
Council of Conservative Citizens, which has embraced David Duke
and includes members who founded the racist White Citizens Councils
during the civil rights era. They have pretended to have very
light involvement or to have never known what this organization
truly stands for.
Only a fool would swallow that, especially since
Brother Lott's uncle has been a long-time member of the CCC.
Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia says that those
who live in the South are absolutely sure the CCC is nothing but
a bunch of neo-Confederates. Yet the media, still at the collective
bedroom keyhole, seem more interested in soiled sheets than worn
Even so, the lowdown on Brother Lott and Brother
Barr first surfaced in the mass media through the New York efforts
of WEVD's radio talk show host Jay Diamond and his producer, Scott
Pellegrino. Who Lott and Barr are became clearer when Alan Dershowitz
and Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center appeared on
the air with Diamond to discuss Brother Barr. Dershowitz is the
most interviewed lawyer in America, and Potok is quite familiar
with racist and militia groups.
During the radio program, it was revealed that
both the congressman and senator supported the CCC, and that the
CCC supported them, presenting both as speakers.
Steve Rendall of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
heard that show and became interested in digging up more information.
Rendall found that the senator had praised the CCC for its philosophy
and written columns for its periodical, the Citizens Informer,
which features white supremacists. Rendall also discovered that
there had been a number of articles written in small periodicals
about Lott and Barr and that both of them had lied about their
relationship to the CCC.
Still, a great deal of media quiet. Writer Christopher
Hitchens told me in a phone interview that he was at a dinner
party in Washington last week and found that Republicans refused
to discuss this side of Brother Lott and Brother Barr.
Hitchens also said, "The spin business is now
so out of hand that journalists second-guess themselves. If they
were to write critical pieces about Lott and Barr, they are afraid
that they'd be seen as working for the White House."
But this matter is so serious that people on
opposing sides of the political fence take very similar positions.
Peggy Noonan, who wrote speeches for President
Ronald Reagan and has praised the Republicans for moving to impeach
Mr. Bill, was very clear about this issue and the tone that should
be set by the Republican Party whenever hard facts reveal racists
in its midst.
"Any man or woman," Noonan said, "who is supportive
of and helpful to a blatantly racist organization doesn't belong
in a leadership position in America, no matter what group the
racists have put their focus on. We have to get all of this behind
us. We cannot put up with this from any persuasion or from any
Julian Bond of the NAACP might battle Noonan
on many other issues, but he agrees with her on this one.
"I think," he says, "that this disqualifies Lott
as Senate majority leader. That his party, if they know what the
CCC is, would elect him says all there is to say and makes a mockery
of the Republican claim that it now wants to be seen as a party
that represents all of America."
Bond also believes that the reason why the vanilla
tar baby that connects Brother Lott and Brother Barr is not discussed
is because racism against black people is not taken seriously
by the media.
One way that can be changed is if the Republican
leadership steps forward and becomes as clear and as resolute
on this issue as Peggy Noonan. Then we would see some actual courage
of the sort that always betters the nation.
© Copyright 1998 Daily News, L.P.