Off the side of I-20 in Birmingham, AL, a simple white billboard greets drivers with a highly inflammatory statement: “Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.”
And when outdoor advertisements like car wraps and billboards can be viewed as many as 30,000 to 70,000 people in just a day, this billboard has been raising its fair share of controversy among commuters who pass it each day, according to an October 31 WBHM article.
“How ignorant. And folks wonder where (Alabama’s) reputation comes from,” one Twitter user wrote of the billboard, which has been interpreted by many as aggressive, offensive, even hateful in nature.
The billboard, which has no phone numbers or information to trace the person or organization that funded it, doesn’t violate any laws and is protected by the First Amendment, despite its controversial message.
WBHM reports that the billboard is funded by a member of the League of the South, a southern nationalist group that is identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“(The man funding the billboard) doesn’t want to be identified,” Michael Hill, the League of the South’s president, told WBHM. “He does live in the Jefferson County area, and there has been some hostility toward the billboard — and he was kind of afraid for his own safety if people found out who he was.”
Hill says the man decided to rent the billboard space because he felt that there is widespread discrimination against white people, whose opinions and political ideologies are labeled as racist and ignored, according to WBHM.
However, many of the people who have seen the billboard believe its message is extremely harmful.
“It is horrible, provocative speech and because it is more subtle, it could be viewed as more dangerous,” David Smolin, a professor of constitutional law at Samford University, said. “My first reaction was this is really weird, it’s just a very strange message, it’s incoherent actually to me, and the only way to make it coherent is to make it mean something very negative.”