Civil rights activists ripped a decision by Georgia's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to approve "specialty" license plates featuring the Confederate flag, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Wednesday.
"To display this is reprehensible," Southern Christian Leadership Conference spokesperson Maynard Eaton was quoted as saying. "We don't have license plates saying 'Black Power.'"
State law gives the DMV discretion over the approval of vanity plates, with the proviso that they not be allowed to mock members of any race or ethnicity. The Confederate plates were designed by the state chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which insisted they were not meant in a derogatory fashion, and were an effort to help people celebrate their heritage.
"By sanctioning the plate, they are not saying they agree with our organization," Sons spokesperson Ray McBerry told the Journal-Constitution. "They're just saying it's a level playing field."
The $80 plates replace an older design that was already approved by the DMV. The Sons of Confederate Veterans receive $10 from each sale, which the group says will go toward promoting "education efforts."
Gov. Nathan Deal (R), who had reportedly promised to give Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a more visible representations on the grounds of the state Capitol, expressed surprise regarding the DMV's move.
"I hadn't heard that so I don't know anything about it," Deal was quoted as saying. "I'll have to talk to them about it. I had no information in advance about it."
[Image: "Confederate Memorial Day" via Shutterstock]
[h/t Talking Points Memo]