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
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
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
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