KKK’s ‘white pride’ billboard stirs controversy in Arkansas

Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko
No stranger to controversy regarding the Ku Klux Klan, the town of Harrison, Arkansas is making headlines across the United States after a new billboard promoting “white pride” and the KKK’s radio station went up earlier this week.

Placed on Highway 65 near Harrison’s city limits, the new billboard reads, “It’s NOT Racist to [heart] Your People.” It also describes Harrison by saying, “Love Lives Here,” and depicts a young white girl holding a puppy in her arms.

The advertisement – which officially went up on Monday, according to the Harrison Daily Times – goes on to promote a website called WhitePrideRadio.com.

If typed into an internet browser, the link redirects viewers to another page encouraging people to tune into KKK Radio for programs aimed at “the entire family.” Alongside music and old time radio shows, the station’s schedule lists programs titled “Sword of Truth” and “The White Side,” as well as “This is the Klan.”

“A lot of people recognize that there is an ongoing program of genocide against white people,” the website reads. “There are websites, newsletters, videos, and radio shows, but too many talk about family without including the family.”

Describing its own programming, the KKK Radio site states: “These are free of race mixing themes and the exploits of homosexuals – the kind of entertainment that is popular on television today.”

“It has always been our mission to not just promote the white family, but to make them a part of this cause of white Christian revival,” it continues.

As soon as the billboard arrived, it was met with criticism from residents and others around the country. On Facebook, some users commenting on the Daily Times’ story posted intense criticisms of the ad while others said there was nothing particularly wrong about it.

“I don't know what makes me more sick to my stomach: That the sign company keeps allowing this in the name of ‘freedom of speech’ or that these sorry excuses for people keep trying to disguise their twisted views as a message of love,” wrote one user.

Another user stated: “Nothing wrong with being proud of one’s color. Black people can boast black pride, Hispanics can boast their pride, but honestly, when white people boast white pride, everyone screams racism.”

Thomas Robb, the director of the Knights Club of the Ku Klux Klan who confirmed that his group was behind the advertisement, insisted that the billboard is not racist.

“The message is that white people have the right to be proud of who they are. Everybody else has the right to be proud, and I don’t deny that,” he said to local news station KLOR.

Mayor Jeff Crockett, however, said the sign is not a true reflection of the town’s values. He added that the billboard could potentially keep people away from the town and damage its economy.

Notably, this isn’t the first time Harrison has become home to a provocative KKK advertisement. In October 2013, a different billboard featured a sign that read: “Anti-Racist is a Code Word for Anti-White.”

Just below that billboard was another that welcomed visitors to Harrison by pointing out “Beautiful Town. Beautiful People. No Wrong Exits. No Bad Neighborhoods.” Alongside these words was a picture of a white family.

Despite the bad press, Robb said there are no plans to take down the ad before its one-year lease expires. In fact, he told the Daily Times that the group will “probably redo the lease” by the time 2016 rolls around.