At the intersections of domestic terrorism, hate crimes, and racism lies the infamous white supremacist group, the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK has attempted to adopt a one-mile stretch of highway in Georgia through the state’s Adopt-a-Highway program, but their application has been rejected due to the controversial political ideologies perpetuated by the group.
The KKK sued in September the state of Georgia with the help of an unexpected compatriot, the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU champions equality and fights to uphold citizens’ constitutional rights, and so they believe that the KKK’s right to free speech was violated when Georgia denied their application to the Adopt-a-Highway program.
The Adopt-a-Highway program allows groups or individuals to advertise their names or organizations on road signs in exchange for funding maintenance projects along the highway. If the KKK is allowed to participate in the program, their name will appear on a road sign beside Route 515 in the Appalachian Mountains.
Georgia’s Department of Transportation argued that a sign advertising the KKK will justly cause social unrest and possible distraction of drivers.
“A state road sign with ‘KKK’ on it would betray our values and would rightly offend the vast majority of Georgians,” said Brian Robinson, spokesman for Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, to Reuters.
Despite the obvious controversy surrounding the issue, the rejection is unfortunately a clear violation of their first amendment rights. The constitution does protect all citizens, regardless of how insidious their beliefs may be, but giving them a taste of their own medicine will only perpetuate, not surmount, racial tensions.