Trent Lott's Link to Racist Group Has Real Pedigree

By Stanley Crouch
New York Daily News
From: News and Views | Opinion |
Wednesday, January 6, 1999

The Citizens Informer is the publication of the Council of Conservative Citizens. Its banner reads, "The Voice of the No Longer Silent Majority."

In the spring 1992 issue, the cover picture is of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. He is shown giving a speech to the CCC at "the exclusive Green Country Club" in Greenwood, Miss. In the accompanying article, Lott is quoted as saying: "The people in this room stand for the right principles and the right philosophy. Let's take it in the right direction, and our children will be the beneficiaries."

The Citizens Informer is an example of just how bad certain things remain in this country.

What do I mean? In this publication, there is a section called "Right Writings Reviews." The reviews praise books that are "staunchly pro-white" and recommend works that advocate not segregation but "geographical separation." The reviews also support writers who believe that America's "anti-white" racial policies are pushing the country toward civil war and promote books that are opposed to interracial marriages.

Lott has published a column for years in this publication. His allegiance has a pedigree. In speaking to the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Biloxi, Miss., in 1984, Lott said: "The spirit of Jefferson Davis lives in the 1984 Republican platform." Jefferson Davis, as you should know, was the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War. He is portrayed by Lott's people as a hero of states' rights, which is a smoke screen for the defense of slavery and the segregation that followed when the shooting war was lost.

In an interview in the fall 1984 issue of Southern Partisan, Lott referred to the Civil War as "the war of aggression." Hmm. The sweet South was made bitter by the tramping of Yankee boots during an invasion that destroyed a way of life. Good.

From the media, a bye

Most of the media have let Lott slip by on this. Some stories have appeared, it's true. But his past is not treated as the issue it should be. And we have not seen the buttonholing of one Republican as reporters ask where he or she stands on Lott and his connections to a racist organization.

Of course, through a press representative, Lott now repudiates the CCC and its philosophy. But the fact that his past escapes scrutiny so easily is an example of why so many people � not least, educated blacks � are cynical about the media. I know that this whole "conspiracy of silence," as one black writer calls it, infuriates me.

One looks at show after show on which American politics are discussed, and there is no mention made of Lott's history with this organization. Steven Rendall, of the media-watch group FAIR, has sent material on Lott and on Georgia Rep. Bob Barr, who was the CCC's keynote speaker last June, to the major networks. Not a bubble has popped – so far.

What we have is an astonishing double standard, one that was explained to me in this way by a white writer on politics: Powerful white politicians are never looked at in terms of their color, but black politicians always are. The media are never particularly concerned about a white politician's attitudes toward black people, but they are always concerned about a black politician's attitudes toward white people.

I agree. As I have said before, if a powerful black politician was chummy with Louis Farrakhan and said about the Nation of Islam what Lott has said about the CCC, we would never hear the end of it.

But maybe we are learning something very important. When Austrian politician Kurt Waldheim was accused of having been a Nazi collaborator, he denied it. When photographs of him in uniform were found, it had no impact on his career at home. The Austrians still loved him.

Perhaps what we are learning about many members of the media and of the Republican Party is that they are, finally, Austrians at heart.

© Copyright 1999 Daily News, L.P.