Sons of Confederate Veterans spokesperson Ben Jones suggested on Monday that the state of Texas was discriminating against his “DNA” because it was refusing to put Confederate flags on license plates, which he said Dr. Martin Luther King would have supported.
Although most Southern states offer specialty Son of Confederate Veterans license plates featuring the Confederate flag, Texas has refused to allow the plates based on the claim that it would represent government speech. The Supreme Court was expected to take up the case on Monday.
Jones, who is a former Democratic congressman and portrayed Cooter Davenport on the 1980s TV show “The Dukes of Hazzard,” told CNN that the Supreme Court would find in favor of forcing Texas to accept the Sons of Confederate Veterans plates.
“The Sons of Confederate Veterans is a proud heritage organization, 30,000 members who are descended from those who fought for the Confederacy,” Jones explained. “And we’re not ashamed of that. That’s our family, that’s our DNA, and we are a heritage organization.”
“We despise the use of Confederate symbols for hate groups, by racist groups,” he added. “It’s guesstimated that 70 million Americans are descended from the Confederacy, and we’re not ashamed of that. They were our people, and we’re descended from them. They’re in our DNA, their pictures are on the wall, their names are in our Bibles.”
Jones insisted that his group wanted “reconciliation in the South and among the races.”
“That was what Dr. King wanted, and these tactics that they’re using are very divisive, they’re very offensive to us,” Jones said. “But don’t paint us as something we’re not, and that’s some the state of Texas is saying and doing, that we are somehow, by nature of our DNA, offensive! Well, I find that offensive.”
According to Jones, he was “very active in the Civil Rights movement” and he “went through the whole thing with Dr. King.”
“And he said, ‘I have a dream that someday on the Red Hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to dine together at the table of brotherhood,'” the former actor noted. “We want that too, the Sons want that. This is a very divisive thing, a very divisive tactic to call us racists, to call us Nazis and oppressors.”
CNN host Randi Kaye wondered if a ruling in favor of the Sons of Confederate Veterans would “open the door to anti-Semitic license plates, pornographic plates, plates that benefit the KKK.”
“It ends where common sense ends,” Jones insisted. “And it ends where the state of Texas, by good reasoning, will draw that line. Obviously, terrorists destroy America, people who break the law who are indeed hateful, I can understand that argument. But this is not about that.”
Watch the video below from CNN’s Newsroom, broadcast March 23, 2014.