***Update***: The KKK group’s application has been rejected by GDOT.
A KKK chapter — yep, they still exist — in Union County, Georgia wants to do something that’s actually pretty honorable: Adopt-A-Highway:
The application, which would allow the white supremacy group to receive state recognition for cleaning up a one-mile portion of a highway, was filed by the International Keystone Knights of the KKK on May 21.
If the Georgia Department of Transportation accepts the application, the KKK would be responsible for cleaning litter on a part of Georgia State Route 515 in the Appalachian Mountains near the North Carolina border.
“All we want to do is adopt a highway,” said April Chambers, the chapter’s secretary. “We’re not doing it for publicity. We’re doing it to keep the mountains beautiful. People throwing trash out on the side of the road … that ain’t right.”
Baseless hatred of black people? They’re fine with it.
Litter? They must take a stand!
The Georgia Department of Transportation hasn’t made a decision on the highway either way yet. I get that. It’s a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation for them. But allowing the group to adopt a highway is not the same thing as showing approval of the group or endorsing them.
Plus, odds are they’re going to be hit with a lawsuit if they say no. The basic rule is that you can’t discriminate against a group for a government project like this just because you don’t approve of what they stand for. (If that were the case, atheist groups would never get to be a part of the program.) As long as the group is keeping its stretch of highway clean, that’s all that should matter.
Joe Zamecki, whose atheist group in Texas participates in a similar cleanup project, offered these words (via email, emphasis mine):
This little KKK group is trying to do something positive. We can’t seem to change their minds on racism and hate. Decades of social evolution haven’t worked on a significant portion of the population. Okay, fine.
Well they could be doing a lot more harmful things than picking up trash off the side of the road. Besides, the same freedom of assembly and freedom of association that they’re guaranteed by the US Constitution are two freedoms that our movement needs just the same.
I believe that doing good can help an angry person become less angry. At the very least, our nation has a lot of litter to pick up. I say let them do something helpful for a change. It certainly shouldn’t inspire MORE hatred in them.
I agree. I don’t want to make the KKK look good by any means. But if they want to do something good, why stop them? I doubt their membership rolls are going to increase as a result of any positive press they get. This sounds like an easy decision for the Georgia officials to make.
Unless, as many CNN commenters joked, the group only picks up white trash…
If the Georgia DOT really wants to make it interesting, they’ll rename the stretch of land they give the KKK group the MLK Highway (or something similar). Let’s see the group clean up that road. Let the trash pick up some trash.