TWC width=

Senator West on Confederate license plates in Texas

  • Sharebar

By State Senator Royce West

It’s been quite an interesting week. Part of it has been spent responding to questions about whether or not I think Gov. Rick Perry is a racist, to which I’ve responded with a resounding no.

This firestorm was ignited last weekend when the Washington Post ran a story centered on a stone at the gate of the governor’s hunting camp that bears an inflammatory inscription that’s a derivative of the African nation of Nigeria.

Amid pressing matters of unemployment – including that of teachers, growing poverty, smoldering wildfires and a still-teetering national economy, I’ve become aware of a pending vote on a proposed Texas license plate that commemorates the Confederacy. It’s another reminder of the ‘good ole days’ that weren’t so good if the color of your skin happened to be Black 150 years ago.

It was just a few years ago that a similar discourse emerged over the presence of numerous plaques on display within the state capital complex that also celebrated the Confederacy. It’s non-ironic that the same statewide elected official who saw no harm with preserving these vestiges of a shameful period in Texas and American history is part of the current debate.

At issue is whether the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), among its assortment of specialty license plates, will approve a plate bearing a depiction of the Confederate battle flag?

This issue has been visited times over. Blacks in South Carolina have taken offense to the rebel flag flying over its statehouse, prompting its removal in 2000. To date, it remains a sore spot. Confederate theme-images have caused the same debate at numerous colleges and schools nationwide and even locally. The University of Texas at Arlington’s athletics program – my alma mater – was once named  The Rebels. No more!

Ill-intended or not, why would African Americans want to be reminded of a legalized system of involuntary servitude, dehumanization, rape and mass murder? It’s as undesirable as another ethnic community wishing to relive the Holocaust. There are those who will scream he’s using the race card.  But such pronouncements are akin to blaming the victim for the crime.

With the debate defined, what now? Your opinion and input can be heard. This matter will appear on a future agenda of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles as early as November 10. It failed approval earlier this year. To share your opinion, you can call the Texas DMV toll-free at 1-888-368-4689 or follow instructions at

Which came first, the race card or the racism?

  • Edward H. Sebesta

    The History News Network has published a letter to Rick Perry asking him to oppose a Confederate license plate.

    The link to the letter is here:

    Copies of the History News Network letter were sent to all members of the DMV by certified mail.


    Edward H. Sebesta

    Co-editor of “Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction,” Univ. of Texas Press, 2008

  • Lee Merryman

    We have gone a little crazy with the polical correctness BUT the confederate flag is offensive to a LOT of our population. I don’t think it should be a license plate however I do think that we should not forget history least we make the same mistakes again so I see everything right about having it represented in the history books, museums, etc.

  • Jeff

    As a UTA grad Mavs is not a good name, Rebels is much better what’s so wrong with that? Doesnt quite fit to me.

    That said Texas’ independence was largely fought for on the grounds of slavery, it’s largely why they joined the USA. While I dont think it needs to be on a license plate, simply forgetting about that part of this great states history leaves it open to being repeated. speaking of…

    I seem to recall you supporting mass illegal immigration from the labor vacuum that is south of our border. What do you think employers and drug cartels are doing with these people? is this not inhumane to allow such wage slavery to occur? Do you not understand the subversion of illegal aliens with low wages, lies, and mistreatment?

  • B Rob

    The Confederate flag has a opermanent place in American History. I’m Black and love being from the south. My grands participated in the integration of schools in Lil Rock. That history is part of who we are and we need not forget it. However, that flag should only be a part of history not our future. In my opinion, it should not be glorified in any official gov capacity such as on top of the state house or court house , schools and probably not on state issued license plates either. However, the memory of the confederacy ( the good and the bad) should not be removed to the point that our children don’t know it and understand it.

    I think all too often, white Americans are only taught the good (the romanticism) of that time period because it’s their “heritage” while blacks and Hispanics learn or retain almost nothing at all because its too painful. Both are unfortunate. I take pride in knowing my ancestors survived enslavement in S. Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi, prospered during Jim Crow in Arkansas and helped bring about Civil Rights in America. This makes me feel like I owe them too much to fail.

    That being said, I honestly feel this would be a differentiator between would be candidate Herman Cain and president Obama that I could not ignore.

  • MetalGoddess

    I was absolutely astonished when I saw that. Of course I signed the petition to vote against this but I don’t even understand why this would be seriously considered. Texas was NOT part of the confederacy and played no major role in the Civil War. It’s my understanding that anyone who came from Texas to fight in that war was six weeks too late anyway because it had ended so what do these people think they’re honoring? I would be happy just to have plates with letters, numbers, and the name of the state.

Average Joe
View rental listings for Dallas TX Apartments and surrounding areas: UMoveFree Partner Dallas TX Apartments

Dallas Apartments

Log in / Advanced NewsPaper by Gabfire Themes