This time it's Mississippean Haley Barbour, former head of the Republican Party and a possible 2012 presidential candidate, who draws back the curtain and accidentally reveals what's in his heart — nostalgia for the good old days when segregation ruled the South, blacks were black and whites were boss. Yes, Haley Barbour's resemblance to Boss Hogg is more than skin deep.
[Barbour] recalled the 1960s civil rights struggle in his hometown, Yazoo City, saying, “I just don’t remember it as being that bad.”
In a profile published Monday in The Weekly Standard, Mr. Barbour also talked about the White Citizens’ Councils of the late 1960s, which opposed racial integration. Mr. Barbour, a teenager and young adult during the 1960s, said that in his town, they were a positive force, praising them as “an organization of town leaders” who refused to tolerate the racist attitudes of the Ku Klux Klan.
What was (is?) Barbour's positive force, the White Citizen's Council? According to their own propaganda:
The Citizens’ Council is the South’s answer to the mongrelizers. We will not be integrated. We are proud of our white blood and our white heritage of sixty centuries.
Heck, the White Citizens Council saw Klan activity as harmful to their efforts to maintain segregation in Mississippi — they didn't oppose the Klan's aims, they just disagreed with their methods. And a segregated society certainly wasn't “that bad” for a privileged white teenager in Yazoo City living at the top of the racial heap, but there's another side to the coin:
Joseph Crespino, an associate professor of history at Emory University, also noted a particular incident in Yazoo City undermining Barbour's claims. “One of the things the Citizens Council would do is carry out economic harassment — sometimes physical intimidation — against local blacks,” he said. “There was this well-known incident in Yazoo City in the 1950s where a handful of black parents tried to file a lawsuit against a local public school. They lost their jobs because they filed a lawsuit and they participated in the local civil rights movement. So it's well-documented that the kind of harassment that blacks faced when they tried to desegregate the schools there in Yazoo City.”
Barbour's press secretary is complaining that the media is “trying to paint the governor as a racist.” I stongly disagree.
Barbour is and has always been a racist. Now the veneer he wore to conceal his true self has come adrift and we can see the authentic Southern racist Republican inside.