TranscriptCNN International interview with Nigeria's President Obasanjo andUSAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu on Democracyand Security Issues

A Lott ofRacism?

Special to USAfrica The Newspaper,Houston
TheBlack Business Journal
USAfricaonline.comand NigeriaCentral.com

Like many, I read and watched with dismay as Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) the Republican Majority leader in the U.S Senate said onThursday (December 5, 2002) during his tribute to retiring100-year-old "reconstructed" segregationist and Dixiecrat SenatorStrom Thurmond :

"Iwant to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran forpresident, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest ofthe country had of followed our lead we wouldn't have had all theseproblems over all these years, either."

I decided to caption this brief comment as 'A Lott of Racism' forthe simple fact of underlining in practical terms the reality ofracist, segregationist and repudiated bigotries in many quarters herein the U.S.

Ignore all the spin and funny talk about "what he meant to say"apologia, factually note what Lott refers to as "all these problems"are voting rights for Blacks and other minorities, equal access topublic facilities, equality under the law, anti-racism andanti-segregation achievements and all the civilizational benchmarksof any reasonable, humane society. You know, somehow, those"problems" are headaches of the supremacists.

Recall also that Thurmond while accepting the presidentialnomination of the States' Rights Democratic Party (he was at the timegovernor of South Carolina) said in 1948: "There's not enough troopsin the Army," he said, "to force the Southern people to break downsegregation and admit the Negro race into our theaters, into ourswimming pools, into our schools and into our homes."

Second in referencing Lott, it is easier to structure and indexLott's latest Freudian slip and harsh civil rights record asreflecting the privileged undercurrent of racist mindset in highplaces despite the right-wing radio/tv/newspaper/web blowhards'falsehoods and massively stupid denials of that fact.

Thesepurveyors of racist bunk in public debates have struggled to "corner"the debate through some Orwellian twist and bizarre-speak wherebythey equate fair access to representation and opportunities(affirmative action) as racist 'quota' for non-qualified Blacks andminorities and women. Raw hate speech against others than their own,they call the best sign of irreverent free speech!

America should look itself in the mirror and ponder the fact thatits Senate has NO African-American in its democracy, republicandemocracy; and NO African-American in its Republican leadership inCongress.

It's terrible some of America's current and key leaders are stillpossessed by the fever and shibboleths of White supremacy and otherforms of ethnocentric idiocies frozen in racist mental frames ofdecades ago. No wonder for all his personal failings Bill Clintonstill found a way to convey a more progressive, inclusive message toAmericans.

Lott and his kindred of segregationist are personifications ofancient and modern bigotries masked in formal power and suit and tiein Washington and elsewhere. Of course, there are the run-of-the-milluncouth charlatans too.

Fact is these characters are in both the Republican and DemocraticParties - especially within the Republican party where they aremorphing and normalizing such idiocies.

By the way, President George W. Bush calls Lott, "Leader Lott..Our Leader"

One Question: Is this where Leader Lott is leading....?

Our collective challenge is to work harder through votes andeducation, empowerment and financial success against these dukes ofdivision. We should write more expository pieces, without let,against these well-placed, every day and garden variety racistdinosaurs who belong more to the Mesozoic Era than the newmillennium.

If I may borrow a popular post 9-11 nationalistic phraseology: whydo they hate us?

For this recent continental African immigrant to these UnitedStates, a number of things are increasingly disturbing about themoral content of these fellows in high places and Congress whoproclaim and acclaim they they have moral right but speak and chargewith the monotrack vision of village idiots.

Lest I forget, it was Mark Twain who, having never met or hopedfor a Trent Lott and members of the U.S Congress of the Lott varietywrote with profound insight: "Suppose you were an idiot, and supposeyou were a member of congress; but I repeat myself."

Hey, should I repeat myself; nah! Unless the Lotts of racismcontinue to ruin the promise of America; if they act and think thatpersons like me are children of a lesser God; if they continue tospit at the glory and blessings of a fruited plain known as God's owncountry. God bless America!
ChidoNwangwu, recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), isFounder and Publisher of first African-owned U.S.-based professionalnewspaper to be published on the internet, USAfricaonline.com.He appears as an analyst on CNN International and CNN's Inside Africaand also publishes Houston-based USAfrica The Newspaper,NigeriaCentral.comand TheBlack Business Journal.Nwangwu has served as an adviser to the Mayor of Houston oninternational business (Africa) and the board of the NAACP(Houston)


This USAfricaonline.com commentary is copyrighted.Archiving on any other web site or newspaper is unauthorized exceptwith a Written Approval by USAfricaonline.comFounder. Tues December 10, 2002.


Lott, Republicans andAfrican-Americans.
By Bruce Huffaker

Regarding Chido Nwangwu 's editorial comment, titled: ALott of Racism?, I won't try to justify Trent Lott's comments. Atbest, they were a stupid mistake, and they may very well reflect adeeply ingrained racism, as Mr. Nwangwu claims. Lott has apologized.I suppose many will be clamoring for his head, as the only thing thatwill satisfy them. Whether or not that happens is yet to be seen.

However, there is one comment in Mr. Nwangwu's December 10, 2002editorial that I think should be addressed. He wrote: "America shouldlook itself in the mirror and ponder the fact that its Senate has NOAfrican-American in its democracy, republican democracy; and NOAfrican-American in its Republican leadership in Congress."

Many African-Americans like to blame the Republican party for thefact that there are no Black Republicans in Congress. Perhaps thecommunity should take a closer look at itself in this regard. Lookwhat they do to prominent Black Republicans, such as Supreme CourtJustice Clarence Thomas, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, andBush's National Security adviser Condoleezza Rice.

I have no problem that the so-called "leaders" of the Blackcommunity disagree with Republican policy stands. However, theattempts to publicly humiliate them as "Uncle Tom's" and worse,hardly gives Black conservatives a warm-fuzzy feeling about trying torun for public office, or otherwise taking an active role in thepublic discourse.

Blacks are right to want to have representation in both parties,but they cannot expect to see the spitting images of Jesse Jacksonand Al Sharpton in the Republican party. If they continue to stomp onany conservative voices within their ranks, it may be a long timebefore they get much representation in the party. Of course, if theyrefuse to accept Black conservatives within the ranks of the BlackCongressional Caucus, etc, treat them as "Uncle Tom's," "houseniggers," etc, they may never recognize the leaders that they do haveas being relevant.

Blacks need to examine this situation carefully. What have theygot from 60 years, or more, of lock-stock loyalty to the Democrats?U.S.President Lyndon Johnson managed to get the Civil Rights lawsthrough congress in the 1960s, thanks to Republicans joining withnorthern Democrats.

Since then there have been a lot of promises, but not much action.Democrats held power for most of that time, so blaming theRepublicans for promises not delivered is like putting your head inthe sand.
Huffaker is Presidentof the North American Potato Market News, Inc.



Your column on Lott is cogent, relevant

On 12/11/02 8:10 AM, "BillAlexander" wrote:

Chido (The Best): Your profundities have ALWAYS moved me as youobserve and comment on political machinations on TWO continents. Your"ALott of Racism" column should receive queries.... as to how youcan pull so much content together, winnow it down to 500 to 800words, keep it cogent, relevant and lively and still make adeadline that allows your piece to appear mere hours after raw sewagehas bubbled out of Lott's cruelly shaped lips.

I am fervently hoping that those on the 'serv just starting theirprofessional careers will look at what you do with wonderment, putHalle Berry aside for a moment, and query you on how you do what youdo.

I've been around for awhile, have done what you're doing (but onlyon one continent), and you still amaze me. Thank youfor being a part of National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)and sharing your thoughts with us!
Bill Alexander, is theeditor of Youth Today newspaper, in Washington DC

Chido's Reply:
Thanks Bill for your kind and challenging comments. Somehow, mybrief Dec 10, 2002 essay "ALott of Racism" has drawn immense interest on various platforms,among Black and White folks, and elsewhere.

I remain grateful for the professional and personal fraternity ofpersons such as yourself, and the inspiration of the likes of JackWhite, Richard Prince, James Campbell, and a handful of others/

I thank God for the blessing and will and creative vitality tospeak our truths (as I understand and know them) in pastel words intothe bearish face of power and privilege across our the United Statesand Africa. As our father and literary pathfinder Achebe would write:it's morning yet on creation day....

At this juncture of critical public policy debate, I only Pleadthat (we) set aside some of the less important Halle-Berry-boobs-sizeitems of banality to engage the issues of the moral direction andcivil rights history of our people.

We have a choice though: allow the cannibalization of our heritageby the Lotts of Racism and their confederacyof White supremacists, in pin-stripe suits and barnyard uniforms.

But as the proverb from the sages and forebears of the 30million-strong Igbo nation of south eastern Nigeria from where I(and should be underscored millions of African-Americans andAfro-Caribbeans) derive lineage and heritage will admonish in momentsrequiring critical, deft reflection, and action: 'Let's use ourtongue to count our teeth!'

May our lineage endure!
ChidoNwangwu 713-270-5500 or 713-270-6500. E-mail Letters@USAfricaonline.com



From: NkemEkeopara / Fri, 13 Dec 2002 / Subject: Re: 'A Lott of Racism?By Chido Nwangwu.' Thanks for being there for me and for us, indeedthe entire humanity. You remain the best! Take care and Godbless.

Nigeria, a terrible beauty. By Chido Nwangwu


OPINION: Destruction of property and human massacres are always traumatic events in a community, saddening and enraging, but the organizers of the beauty contest, as well as the participants, must understand that they are totally free of guilt. The guilty are the storm troopers of intolerance, the manipulators of feeble-minded but murderous hordes of fanaticism. By Prof. Wole Soyinka

DEATH TOLL RISES TO 215 IN LATEST RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC VIOLENCE IN KADUNA, AND ABUJA IN NORTHERN NIGERIA...

Churches burned, cars vandalized and stores looted since Wednesday Nov 21, 2002, when Muslims started a riot over World beauty pageant in Nigeria. Mosques have been added to the bonfire in bloody killings further sparked by ThisDay newspaper article which suggested Prophet Mohammad would have "probably" taken one of the contestants as a wife. Conservative Muslim leaders in Nigeria have sharply criticized the December 7, 2002 beauty pageant, saying it promotes sexual promiscuity. Nigerian officials said they fear the violence could spread to other cities in Nigeria's mostly Muslim north, especially the region's largest city, Kano, which has been a center of unrest in the past. ThisDay has since apologized on its front page, twice, for publishing the article. Muslim protesters burned the newspaper's office in Kaduna because of the commentary by a writer. "Some churches have been burned and people have also been killed, but I have no figures," a senior police officer who asked not to be named said."I have counted no less than 10 churches burned," said one resident who toured the city. "
I have seen and filmed two dead bodies on the streets."
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