Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour recently put his foot in his mouth during an interview with The Weekly Standard when he spoke about his memories of the civil rights movement.
According to Reuters.com, Barbour, who may seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, said of the segregated South, “I just don’t remember it as being that bad.”
Barbour quickly issued a statement clarifying his remarks.
A New York Times editorial says the Governor’s distorted memories of the “dream-coated South” could be caused by a “faulty memory all too common among those who stood on the sidelines during one of the greatest social upheavals in history. It is more likely, though, that his recent remarks on the period fit a well-established pattern of racial insensitivity that raises increasing doubts about his fitness for national office.”
Gov. Barbour’s Dream WorldIn Gov. Haley Barbour’s hazy, dream-coated South, the civil-rights era was an easy transition for his Mississippi hometown of Yazoo City. As he told the Weekly Standard recently, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an unmemorable speaker, and notorious White Citizens Councils protected the world from violent racists…
….In the magazine’s profile of the second-term governor, Mr. Barbour suggests that the 1960s — when people lost life and limb battling for equal rights for black citizens — were not a terribly big deal in Yazoo City. “I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” he said. He heard Dr. King speak at the county fairgrounds in 1962 but can’t remember the speech. “We just sat on our cars, watching the girls, talking, doing what boys do,” he said. “We paid more attention to the girls than to King.” Read the full editorial at The New York Times.