Texas has been toying with the idea of issuing a so-called "vanity" license plate that contains the Confederate battle flag.
A vote on this controversial issue could come as soon as next month.
A previous vote on this issue this past April ended in a 4-4 tie.
"The plate has been proposed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an ancestral history group involved in previous dust-ups over displays of the flag in state buildings and on state monuments," says the Austin American-Statesman.
Organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the progressive organization Progress Texas have urged the Texas State Department of Motor Vehicles' governing board not to approve such a license plate and opponents of such a plate presented petitions containing 22,000 signatures yesterday to a state board that will vote on the measure, according to the Statesman.
The Statesman adds:
"This particular flag never flew over Texas; it has been adopted by hate groups to intimidate or do wrong against people" of color, Gary Bledsoe, president of the state NAACP conference, told the board. "It is every bit as offensive as the swastika. It creates psychological harm, creates fear and intimidation, and is likely to lead to breaches of the peace. It is a fighting flag."
Echoed Yannis Banks, the NAACP's legislative liaison: "It represents slavery, hate and injustice to African Americans. It looks like the state is supporting what is behind that flag."
However, supporters of the plate say it "would honor their ancestors on the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War" and that, to reject the plate "would infringe on their First Amendment right to free speech."
Finally, the Statesman notes that:
Such a vote could pose a new political problem for Gov. Rick Perry, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, because all the board members are his appointees.
Perry has faced criticism recently over a sign at a hunting camp that his family once leased that contained an offensive racial slur. Perry said his family had the sign, which was painted on a rock marking a camp entrance, painted over.
Perhaps stung by the overwhelmingly negative reaction to his "flirting-with-birtherism" -- from which Perry has now walked back -- Perry has told a Florida television station that he opposes the creation of a Confederate license plate in Texas.
"We don't need to be scraping old wounds," Perry told Bay News 9 in Tampa.
Let's see if Perry walks back from this one, too, but in the opposite direction ...
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