By Stephen Smith
The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) as a white nationalist hate group and a “reincarnation of the old White Citizens Councils, which were formed in the 1950s and 1960s to battle school desegregation in the South. The group has chapters in Montgomery, Anniston, Jasper, Cullman, Huntsville, Florence, and one right here in Birmingham. According to the CofCC’s mission statement, "God is the author of racism. God is the One who divided mankind into different types. ... Mixing the races is rebelliousness against God."
The CofCC boycotted the movie Thor because the African-American actor Idris Elba was picked to play the Norse god Heimdall. Yet they didn’t seem to have a problem with Samuel L. Jackson making a brief appearance as Nick Fury, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The positions of the CofCC don’t stray far from those of the GOP, the Tea Party and other supposedly conservative groups. They claim the U.S. is a Christian country. They also believe it is European. They fear that “‘affirmative action’ and similar measures [are designed to] destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern [sic] people, and to force the integration of the races.”
The group’s attitude towards race is a nostalgic look back to the Norman Rockwell era of separate restrooms and Negro League baseball. In an article on the CofCC’s website bemoaning Birmingham’s decline, the shocking statistic is revealed that 55% of the rapes in the state are committed by African-Americans. This is interesting because the actual percentage is 37%. They also note that 91.5 percent of interracial rape in Alabama is committed by African-Americans even though a White woman is more than twice as likely to be raped by White male.
Digging through the data with the obvious goal of demonizing people of color they state that 62% of Alabama homicides are committed by African-Americans, yet the percentage is actually 37%. The CofCC's data supposedly comes from the 2010 report by the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, but our research revealed that the true source is a website called Occidental Decent, whose stated mission is a “permanent guerrilla campaign to harass and undermine the Obamanation.” What the CofCC and Occidental Decent don’t mention is arrest rates. While 1,415 White males were arrested for marijuana possession in 2010, 4,013 African-American males were, yet the rate of usage is basically the same in both groups. African-Americans accounted for 43% of total arrests even though they are only 26% of the population. According to the Center’s report, larceny, a predominately white crime, is by far the most committed felony in the state with numbers exceeding 100,000. Overall crime is down in Alabama with the odd exception of arson, which the CofCC seems unable to pin on African-Americans.
But facts are not a concern of the CofCC. Their main gripe is that Birmingham is on the decline because “business owners…thought they could strike a deal with the civil rights agitators of the 1960s and … made the biggest mistake in the history of civilization in Alabama.”
The group stands against “sexual licentiousness, homosexuality and other perversions, mixture of the races, [and] pornography in all forms.” They want the U.S. to get out of NATO and want schools to teach “Christian” values and outlaw sex education, multicultural and African studies. The CofCC believes “illegal aliens must be returned to their own countries; and that legal immigration must be severely restricted or halted.” They are strongly pro-gun and strongly against Black history month. They are outraged that George Washington Carver is given credit for inventing peanut butter and the potato chip.
It’s hard to imagine that these sentiments are still pervasive half a century after the Civil Rights movement began in earnest. If you want more information, or possibly just want to get in touch with the Council of Conservative Citizens for, I don’t know, a friendly little chat, here is their contact information:
PO Box 947
Jasper, AL 35502