Some elders used to say that when a white man speaks of peace, he’s talking about resting his foot on your neck. He’s still and you’re still, so there’s peace. This is sort of how Mississippi’s governor remembers his wonderful childhood in Mayberry…also known as Yazoo city. That’s right! Yazoo city is the name of his hometown. I thought I’d better be clear because there may be trouble indicating which one sounds funniest, especially since we’re getting ready to touch on racist territory.
Haley Barbour has been thought of as the Presidential hopeful for 2012, but now that his flowery depiction of a racist organization called the “Citizens’ Council” has hit the press, his campaign may take a hard hit, but certainly not a fatal one. Racists in this country are quite surprising. Look how far Sarah Palin was able to go. Just when you thought Obama was bringing everyone together, right? But, in his interview with the Weekly Standard, he said:
“You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up North they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you’d lose it. If you had a store, they’d see nobody shopped there. We didn’t have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.”
Well the Mayberry vision he has of the group is not consistent with historians. According to the Daily Beast’s Benjamin Sarlin, a historian he contacted at the University of Chicago, Charles Payne, made it clear that Barbour’s depiction was not just flawed or inconsistent, but “bizarre.” In fact, the Citizens Council’s main objective was preserving white supremacy and dominating everyone with “economic intimidation.” Essentially, black people would lose their livelihood if they didn’t fall in line. Payne’s description of the organization is just a liiiiittle bit different:
“I think of it as a fundamentally anti-democratic organization and to give it credit for ‘keeping order’ seems bizarre. They were dedicated to the preservation of the old regime, but reluctant to defend it with the old weapons.”
So it appears that they were running the KKK out of town because they felt they could control their own “negres”
and they didn’t need similar outside interest groups messing up their good thing. Now in a separate interview with Haley’s brother Jeppie, who was mayor of Yazoo city he is clear about his idea of the community’s management. He didn’t pull any punches and let it all hang out like Strom Thurmond in a 1971 book entitled “Yazoo: Integration in a Deep-Southern Town:”
“Maybe five years ago,” he said, “you could’ve appointed a colored man yourself. Now you simply can’t get away with it. They’re goin’ to have to pick their own leaders. You could’ve gotten on radio five years ago using these very words, ‘George Collins is this ni**er we’ve appointed,’ and could’ve gotten away with it. I guess they’re just goin’ through a state of being rebellious and hard-nosed and not listenin’ to white people like they used to.”
Now Haley looks up to his big brother. He volunteered on his mayoral campaign in 1968 and everything. How different do you think their views really are? Sorry Haley…don’t quit your day job? If you thought my version of this story was interesting wait till you read the details here.