Racist Views, Organizations
the Editorial Board
Kansas City Star, Sunday, January 31, 1999
© Copyright 1999 The Kansas City Star
chairman of the Republican National Committee has appealed to
members of his party to disavow racist views and distance themselves
from organizations that espouse such views.
plea from Jim Nicholson comes at a time when the party has been
embarrassed by high-ranking associations with the Council of Conservative
Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi and Georgia's Rep. Bob
Barr, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, have appeared
before the council. Lott's picture has appeared in the council's
newsletter, the Citizens Informer. The lawmakers didn't
volunteer their affiliations but were exposed by others during
the impeachment proceedings in Washington.
Barr and Lott have since claimed not to know what the council
stands for. Even RNC member Buddy Witherspoon, a member of his
state's chapter of the council, has pleaded ignorance. The South
Carolina orthodontist, like Lott and Barr, was not eager to disavow
the divisive messages of the council. Witherspoon told reporters,
"Never have I heard anything said about race in any way,
shape or form." He told Nicholson that he would not resign
from the council.
appeal to conscience was directed at Witherspoon, but it should
apply to Lott and Barr as well. To no one's surprise, the council
itself is big on denials. Although it has bemoaned immigration
of nonwhites and likened interracial marriages to an affront to
Western civilization, leaders contend the council is not racist.
Rather, it's just "pro-European-American" and "pro-white."
who recently won re-election to the GOP top post, is correct to
be concerned that his party continues to be viewed as not particularly
inclusive. The apologists for the council who also are Republican
members of Congress are an embarrassment and deserve public scorn.
it's not as if the GOP hasn't been down this road before. Years
ago, Missouri's Jack Danforth warned that his party was on the
verge of becoming "the redneck party" if it didn't stop
catering to racist extremists.
approach of the presidential and other elections should be of
concern for all in the GOP who worry how a Klan mentality could
hurt them. Not even the election of Oklahoma's J.C. Watts in the
line of succession in the U.S. House will change some people's
minds. Why hasn't Watts, an African-American who has challenged
his party on affirmative action, been more outspoken on this
what is politically expedient is also right. Nicholson's decision
to attack the problem is an example of a start in the right direction,
but it lacks punitive force.
said, "A member of the party of (Abraham) Lincoln should
not belong" to such organizations. Neither should members
of the party of Clinton.