King, Lott Should Kiss Off Supremacists
as it may seem, there are still dark corners of America where the
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is considered a Communist, an insurrectionist,
a traitor. One such peculiar quarter comprises the Web sites of
the Council of Conservative Citizens -- a white separatist group
-- and its ideological brethren.
Editorial Page Editor, The
Sunday, January 17, 1999
all the progress we've made toward racial equality, it isn't surprising
to find the odd white-separatist or supremacist group here and
there, spouting an ideology of saving the white race from "dark
forces." Fringe lunacy can never be eliminated. What's surprising
-- and disturbing -- is that the Council of Conservative Citizens
can claim the ear of such political luminaries as Senate Majority
Leader Trent Lott.
Lott and U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.), each of whom has been a keynote
speaker at council functions, have steadfastly denied supporting
the council's ideology. In fact, they both deny knowing what the
council stood for when they spoke at its meetings.
that's hard to believe, especially in Lott's case. The council
has deep roots in Lott's home state of Mississippi, where it traces
its ancestry to the old segregationist White Citizens Council,
which some historians consider to have been an upscale version
of the Ku Klux Klan. Arnie Watson, Lott's uncle and a member of
the council, says his nephew is "an honorary member"
of the organization.
is so, the nation's highest-ranking senator keeps company with
a group that believes the greatest threat to America is "race-mixing"
and immigration, an organization that speaks fondly of the Confederacy
and its goals, an organization that holds the civil rights movement
and its leaders in contempt.
native of the great state of Mississippi, as a man old enough
to remember the terrible days of segregation and as the leader
of the U.S. Senate, Lott ought to know better than to truck with
such a group. But sometimes, it seems, the political advantages
of playing to racists and racist bigotry outweigh what we are
taught by education and experience.
at 57, knows what a backwater the Old South had been before the
civil rights movement brought the region into the nation's mainstream.
Much of the South, white and black, was poor, ignorant and diseased.
That goes double for Mississippi.
Lott and his peers in the proud leadership of a New South owe
a great debt of gratitude to King and the civil rights movement
that he led. The booming Sun Belt, the stronghold of the Republican
Party, is a place of shining prosperity and newfound educational
and technological attainment only because it was forced to abandon
the legalized racism that had been the cornerstone of its culture.
Lott think for one minute that the big national casino companies
would be attracted to his home state if it still practiced Jim
Crow? Would Atlanta have attracted the 1996 Olympic Games if it
could not have sold itself to the world as a city of cooperation
across racial lines? Would the big German carmakers locate in
South Carolina and Alabama if black children were still relegated
to segregated schools and shut out of its major universities?
speeches and commentary to be found on the Web sites of the Council
of Conservative Citizens and its member chapters are any indication,
its members envision a nation made perfect by the complete domination
of "Christian" whites -- a Valhalla. In reality, the
twisted ideology it espouses can only lead to ethnic warfare and
economic ruin. The results of that approach are obvious in places
such as Bosnia, Rwanda and Chechnya.
what Lott ought to tell the council the next time he makes a speech
before the group. Of course, they'll revoke his membership.
Copyright 1999 Cox Interactive Media