White Chauvinism for the '90s

By Colbert I. King
Saturday, January 23, 1999; Page A21

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

On today's Free for All page, you will see a letter from Jared Taylor, who serves on the national board of the Council of Conservative Citizens. Mr. Taylor takes Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League and lovable ol' me to task for our observations about the council, which appeared in The Post last Saturday. You may not be too familiar with Taylor. But you may have heard of the Council of Conservative Citizens. It is the love child of former members of the racist, antisemitic, segregation-loving Citizens Councils of America that roamed the earth in the 1950s and '60s.

Today's council and some of its state chapters are heavily into a pro "non-Jewish, white European," anti-everybody-else thing. The council's leadership also was quite chummy with Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi until the press exposed their link. Ferreted out, Lott cut and ran on his boys, pretending to know them not.

But the Lott-less council keeps on truckin'.

This week, the council's Web site greeted visitors with the question "Got MLK (Up to Here?) -- Wake Up to the Dreamer with our MLK Special." The item essentially branded the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. a liar, sex addict and fellow traveler. "The man hailed as an American hero was about as un-American as they come," it said. ("He's also got his own boulevard in the Bad Section of every town in America," it said of the assassinated Nobel Peace Prize winner.)

Dr. King's story is pretty well known. But how many of you have ever heard of Jared Taylor? Maybe I can shed some light. He describes himself today as a council board member. Shucks, he's being much too modest.

Jared Taylor, a '73 Yale graduate, is the editor of American Renaissance, an Oakton, Va., based publication that fancies itself the voice of the white majority. I shall refrain from characterizing Jared Taylor, his American Renaissance, or the essays and articles that show up on his Web site. No name-calling here. Instead, I turn over part of today's column to them. You judge.

From American Renaissance:

"It is clear that people of different races have, on average, different levels of intelligence. Affirmative action and remedial education cannot make us all the same."

"If massive non-white immigration continues, and welfare keeps encouraging high birth rates among blacks and Hispanics, whites will become a minority in the United States. This must not happen. Our bedrock values, our entire way of life would be swept away . . .

"We must not leave to our grandchildren a third-world nation of third-world people. Unless the European-American majority defends its legitimate interests, Western Civilization will disappear from this continent."

Remember the rash of black church burnings? In a 1996 article, Taylor dismissed public reaction as a "full-blown case of national hysteria" and a "fantastic fuss over what may turn out to have been nothing at all."

In a November 1997 article, G. McDaniel, a self-described southern nationalist, had this to say about a ban on carrying sticks into the Ole Miss football stadium, which was put in place to discourage display of the Confederate battle flag: "Unfortunately, in today's world you can't have [football and the flag] and maybe this will be an eye-opener to white Mississippians that the football god has turned ugly and vile, and the prospect of spending your Saturday afternoons cheering yourself hoarse over the disgusting antics of witless Negro endomorphs is perhaps not a fitting way for a white man to spend his time."

Jared Taylor takes strong exception to charges that he is a white supremacist. It's an insulting, lurid, pejorative curse word that doesn't apply to people like him, he maintained in an essay titled, "On 'White Supremacy.'" That said, he went on to write, "It is certainly true that in some important traits – intelligence, law-abidingness, sexual restraint, academic performance, resistance to disease -- whites can be considered 'superior' to blacks."

So why is American Renaissance called a white supremacist publication "despite the absurdity of the charge," Taylor asked. Because, he wrote, the magazine "expresses the belief that only the biological heirs to the creators of European civilization will carry that civilization forward in any meaningful way." (Jared Taylor a bigot? Perish the thought!)

Why do I return once again to the council and people like Taylor? Because, dear readers, we ignore them or laugh them off at our peril.

While we weren't looking, they and their brand of white chauvinism went mainstream on us. Claiming to be 15,000 strong, they (and their sympathizers) are scattered around the nation in state legislatures, in courthouses and in Congress.

And they aren't all rabble. Many are well-schooled, high-tea kind of white ultranationalists who wouldn't be caught dead in the company of skinheads or desperate little men in white hoods.

Their prejudice is cloaked in kinder, gentler and sometimes reasonable-sounding conservative rhetoric. None of that repellent Jim Crow talk. Can't go there in the '90s. Opposed to minorities? 'Course not. They're just raising a little racial consciousness among put-upon, patriotic white Americans.

Unlike their "Uptown Klan" predecessors, the new white chauvinists' organizing and recruiting tactics are new. But their prejudices are old.

So, I might add, is the complicity of congressional leaders who won't speak out against the council or stand with those who do. As NAACP Chairman Julian Bond noted this week, that job has been left exclusively to a small handful of civil rights groups and individuals, most of them African Americans.

Why the great silence; where is the outrage; where are the calls of condemnation? asked Bond.

"Routinely, whenever some black figure, however obscure, utters a bigoted statement," Bond said, "black leaders are deluged with demands that they speak out, a payment required for their continued admission to civil society." But that standard doesn't cut both ways, he noted. "Reciprocity and fairness demand an equally vigorous response from our fellow citizens to this latest grotesque affront. To date, the silence," said Bond, "is deafening -- and frightening."

One good note. This week, Republican National Chairman Jim Nicholson condemned the council's views and called on party members who belong to the group to resign. Democratic National Chairman Roy Romer warned Democrats off the group, too. And the reaction from Congress? Not a mumble. So the Council of Conservative Citizens is still riding high. And why not, when the real message to the council is found in the Republican-dominated Congress's tomb-like silence: "Don't y'all worry about a thing."

The writer is a member of the editorial page staff.