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December 5th, 2011
12:51 PM ET

Opinion: Black student defends his Confederate flag

Byron Thomas is 19, black, a freshman at the University of South Carolina Beaufort and a proud Southerner. He hung a Confederate flag in his dorm room window until the university asked him to take it down because several people had complained about it. (The university later stepped back from the request, saying all students have the right to free speech.)

"I know it's kinda weird because I'm black," Thomas said in an iReport he submitted. "When I look at this flag, I just don't see racism. I see pride, respect. Southern pride, that's what I see."

"Ignorance gave that flag a bad name, ignorant people like the KKK," he told CNN's Don Lemon.

The post got other iReporters talking, including Omekongo Dbinga, who said Thomas has the right to fly the flag, but there's no denying the flag's history. Egberto Willies said he doesn't understand Thomas' view of the Confederacy, but he thinks the North and South both have ugly histories with race relations.

Thomas said he won't put the flag back up, although he believes he has the right to do so. The university plans to host a discussion about the flag after students return from winter break.

Here's what Thomas told CNN In America about the flag and why he probably won't hang it up again.

CNN: What does the Confederate flag mean to you?

Thomas: To me, it means more states' rights and no bigger government. The government was getting too big. I believe South Carolina knows me better than the federal government. I personally have a lot of pride from being in the South. I see some freedom from when the South seceded from the North. I know that sounds bad. I see freedom differently than most people see it. Just that you have the right to do what you want to do and form your own opinion.

The bottom line for me: I do not see that flag as a racist symbol. Only an ignorant person can say that. I have researched it and studied it.

CNN: Why is it so important to you to be able to display this flag in your dorm room?

Thomas: It is very important that I be allowed to exercise my freedom of free speech. I'm one of the nicest people, but today, you can't say anything without people getting offended or hurt by what you are saying. I felt very offended when I was asked to take down that flag because [the housing department] said it violated the racist code. It's a freedom thing to me.

The generation before us told us that the flag is racist. It's not going anywhere. No one is going to burn all of the flags. If me or someone else can show my generation that it means something different maybe it won't divide us. I haven't experienced racism myself but it still exists. Maybe if we start now with this flag, racism can continue to get smaller.

CNN:  Do you have roommates and what do they think of your flag?

Thomas: I have three white roommates and they know I'm not racist. They think what I'm doing is amazing because they have never met a black person like me before because of my opinions. I was starting to make a change because I made my own opinion.

Some black students came to me and have said I have changed their viewpoint on the Confederate flag and that I helped change them. They have said [like me] they also don't want to be called African-American anymore. They, too, feel like they want to be American, not African-America, because it's like a second category and they were born in America not Africa. So other people have come up to me, not just my roommates.

CNN: When did you hang the flag up and how long was it up for before you were asked to remove it?

Thomas: I hung it up in September after a research paper for a class about it. After that, I hung it up because I saw other students hanging things up and I didn't really have anything. It was up for two months and no one said anything about it. I had other black students say they had no problem with it. There were no riots, no complaints, no one was throwing rocks or anything. It was peaceful around here until the housing department asked me to take it down. They said they had been trying to get in touch with me. It was Sunday, November 20. A resident adviser came to my room and asked me to take it down. So I put it up in my living room and then the head housing woman came looking for me and said I was violating the racism code. I asked if I could put up an American flag and she said yes because it's not racist. It's a double standard because some Native Americans could take offense to an American flag. I didn't say that, but I was thinking it.

The flag is down [since Monday, November 21] because the housing woman said I had to [remove it.]

I might not put it back up now because my parents are disappointed in me. They've said I can do what I want but I want them on my side. I want them to see it as trying to make a change for my generation. I'm sorry if I'm making my family look bad.

CNN: Were you surprised when you were asked to remove your Confederate flag?  

Thomas: I was very surprised because it wasn't bothering anyone. The big reason is because I'm black and most black people have feelings about it and I have no problem with it. It didn't' become an issue until they asked me to take it down. People came and asked me why I had to take it down and I was embarrassed. I was apparently violating a code I didn't think I was violating.

CNN: What do you want your critics to know?

Thomas: I just feel like, I should have my right to see a flag the way I see it. Just because someone feels offense to it, why should I have to take it down? They can walk another way. It's not like I have a cross burning or a noose hanging outside my room. I don't see it as a racist statement to me and that's my opinion of it. I don't think I should have to take it down just because someone might take offense. They shouldn't have that control of me. They are not my mom and dad.

My generation should have our opportunities to show our viewpoint. We shouldn't have to change it just because the majority disagrees. I'm not trying to make someone cry or hurt them. Why can't we be ourselves and think for ourselves for once? I'm trying to show that I'm not thinking for the majority which is that [the Confederate flag is] racist.

CNN: At this point is it about influencing change more than about the flag itself?

Thomas: Change has to happen somehow so I said, 'Why can't I be the person who makes the change? Why not start now instead of later?'

I've made change before in my community, so why can't I do it on a national level? In my high school, I got them to become a national green and solar school by using solar panels and my school or county didn't pay for a thing.

CNN: What have you learned from this experience so far?

Thomas: I learned that my generation of people are applauding me and telling me they want to see things different now. I've gotten so many friend requests on Facebook. They are encouraging me. The generation before has mixed views about it, strong views. The generation before won't let us think for ourselves. They had their chance to think and run things but we need to have our chance. We will have our turn to step up to the plate and get out of this mess that we're in.

I respect where they are coming from. I'm not saying that what happened didn't happen. We don't want history to repeat itself, but I see where they are coming from. They endured things I might never endure, but why do I still have to feel grounded, that I have to endure it? They weren't allowed to go to school with white people but I am. I have never been to a school without white people. Why can't my generation start making our own history? I respect every black person for the civil rights movement. I just want us to move on from all of the hatred that's still dividing us today. I'm tired of us still being divided.


Filed under: Black in America • History • Race • What we think
soundoff (1,367 Responses)
  1. Jeb

    They might as well use a noose hanging from a tree as a symbol of their "southern pride". I'm from the South and I don't need a racist symbol of a shameful time to show pride in where I'm from.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • William Roberts

      Comparing a battle flag with a noose, comparing a confederate soldier with the KKK. Where did you learn this from? I hope it wasn’t your school.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southern Celt

      You are a Southerner? You sound more like a Carpet Bagging transplant. Obviously you were taught in a Yankee school as we were taught it was States Rights versus Federalism, and only the Yankees claim it was Slavery. The argument over States Rights has been raging since the Revolution and continues to this day.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Q.

        Interesting, so students in the south aren't taught in classrooms that slavery was the cause of the civil war. I imagine that the horrors of the western slave trade also are not taught in classrooms in the south. With everyone learning a different version of history, I begin to see why we disagree on its meaning. Classroom history books

        December 5, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jose Sauceda

    If we forget the past we are bound to repeat it in our future.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeb

    The Civil War ended a long time ago and the right side won. Get over it Southerners. We're all Americans now.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jose Sauceda

    I can see and understand his point of view but for me and my family we would never display the Confederate flag. To much hatred and racism associated with it. But that is just my opinion. And the Nazi flag!? Pride? I don't think so.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. carl t

    Thank you young american it's about time someone stood up for there rights. It's not about the white race or the black race it's about the HUMAN race. We can't change yesterday but we can change tomorrow. We all bleed red for a reason. So again I say THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS

    December 5, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tom

    I agree with this guy... He is right in my eyes as well... There wouldn't be so much racism if everything weren't viewed as being racist.. An American is American nothing less nothing more... The classifications are not necessary unless you were to gain from them... United we stand and divided we fall... The classifications are just another way to keep the people divided....

    December 5, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chiomzie

    With this there is the good, the better, the bad and the worst. The good is that this interview has spurred a lot of discussion on history and symbols, specifically the confederate flag. The better is that this guy's support of the confederate flag waters down its racist symbolism. The bad is that by his interview he managed to water down history; the south wanted a secession first and foremost because they wanted the economic liberty to continue to own slaves. The worst is that this guy managed to support a flag that symbolizes the oppression of his ancestors, the reverberations of which can still be seen today. Much like a Jew supporting a Swastika. It is an oddly fascinating interview.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cecil Pearson Jr.

    Byron, I wanted to stand up so to speak, and say thank you. I have been saying this for years. If we are to ever get past the racism, we have to leave it in the past. I salute you. You are an awesome person, and I pray that you will never allow anyone to change who you are or what you believe. Just awesome, I would be so proud to call you friend.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • William Roberts

      Cecil, I second it! I too am very proud of him.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Red

    A man was murdered for having a confederate flag on his motorcycle. This is a very serious issue. I've seen many people get attacked on-line for having confederate flag as icons/avatars. They have taken away freedom of speech and I think people enjoy attacking others who display the flag. Ya, Thomas did his research and came to the same conclusion as I did but the NAACP has been pushing this idea of racism too long and have brainwashed too many people. I complained to NAACP that they were damaging people, but they just ignored me and put me on their email list.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeb

      Might as well use a noose hanging from a tree as a symbol of your "southern pride". I'm from the South and I don't need a racist symbol of a shameful time to show pride in where I'm from.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tom

        The North had slaves. If Someone flies a Union flag noone complains. Thats because people are brainwashed into believing this flag means slavery. Truth is, we're all slaves. And these two flags go way deeper than anyone now a days including myself could ever understand without living in the time. We should all be thankful we dont live in really poor countries where kids starve everyday and quit worrying about these terrible things that happened in the past.

        December 5, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • greentoday

      flying that flag or displaying it doesn't seem to be a problem here in georgia / alabama.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. vb

    I am a 57 year old African American female. I grew up during the Civil Right movement and was the first black to integrate the all-white school in my area in the South. I know what the flag symbolizes; and, yet I have to defend this young man’s viewpoint. I see and agree with both sides of the argument. Not to recognize what this flag symbolizes is equivalent to saying the Holocaust never happen. But are we keeping racism alive by continuing to recognize its symbols. He made a very valid point in that the American flag was first used by the KLAN and we are not banishing it. Rather he is right or wrong, it took courage for him to speak out for what he believes in and in that I give him my full support.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Byron Thomas

      OMG!!! I loved you comment. I wasnt to Thank-You from the buttom of my heart for what you did for the Civil Rights Movement. Thats what I want people to see is why are we keeping people divided by things the past generations was divided by. If we want racism to keep dieing we need to stop giving power to things from the past. What you said VB is perfect.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeb

    There is something seriously wrong with this kid.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tzckrl

    I totally understand. It's like I try to explain the Nazi flag on my wall - for me it symbolizes national pride. The Holocaust, the millions killed in invasions of Poland, Soviet Union, western Europe, etc., the occasional negative things said about Jews, gays, gypsies, anybody "different" and their eventual extermination - well, I don't think about that really. I like to focus on the positive. Why does everyone have to be so negative, so narrow minded?

    December 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derek

      Whats your point, until the Nazis used it, the swastika was used by many cultures throughout the past 3,000 years to represent life, sun, power, strength, and good luck.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tzckrl

        That's the point, Derek! But everyone else when they see my Nazi flag they flip out like there's something weird about it. People just don't know history, I guess

        December 5, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tzckrl

        Then again, Derek, I guess we should keep in mind the Nazi swastika is an inverted, "mirror" image, tilted 45 degrees, of the swastika-like symbol used by the Buddhists. Not the same. Kind of like an inverted, Satanic cross vs. a Christian cross.

        December 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ipisking1

    That guy is not American you better ask him were he is really from!!

    December 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • jenifer

      Congratulation to Byron Thomas for getting past racism! More people nned to do that.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Iheartyou

    I can see his point – to an extent. If he's treating the confederate flag like the "n" word, then I get it. I don't agree, but I get it. The "n" word was used as a tool of racism, division and hatred for years (heck, it still is being used that way), but that word is slowly losing its power due to the extensive use of it in the black community. When you can hear it in darn near every rap song, and when young black men greet each other with the word just as casually as others would say "hi", then the power it had to divide and hurt goes away a little. I still don't entirely agree with this young man, but he doesn't seem to be as ignorant as a lot of people on here are saying. Maybe just a little misguided. Peace.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JRAM

    That flag represents Southern heritage. All you Yankees can't seem to get it through your thick skulls that the Civil War was fought over states' rights. That was not even the flag that flew over the capital – this is the battle flag. So before you criticize, maybe you should do a little research yourself. Southern Pride

    December 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeb

      States rights? Like the right to own slaves? This was a central issue of the conflict. Anyone who says different doesn't have any clue what they're talking about. The civil war ended a long time ago and the right side won. Get over it.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dylan

      Yah, the states' right to subjugate blacks to slavery. Nuff's said.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • oilfeilds

      i agree it part of our heritage not just for white but all colors, yes its a battle flag, this man took it own his own to reserch the truth. which pple dont do to day. they let other pple thing for them.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Dixie4Evr

    RealTomPaine – please do us a favor and learn some history before you make your idiotic pronouncements. The Stars and Bars is a completely DIFFERENT flag than the one you hate so much – the Confederate Battle Flag. Why don't you look it up? Like most detractors of the Confederate Battle flag, you don't know what in the He** you're talking about.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeb

      A huge part of "Southern Heritage" is slavery, racism, and ignorance. Most of the people who are keeping these things alive today use the rebel flag as their symbol. The civil war ended a long time ago and the right side won. Get over it.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Andy in Bluffton

    Here is a prime example of someone not knowing what the word ignorance
    means. A 19 year old fool who doesn't know a thing about American
    history. That flag is the confederate battle flag. As far as southern
    pride goes, I wonder who he thinks came up with that concept and why.
    Talk about being brain washed, it reminds me of a skit that Dave
    Chappell presented about a blind black man who was the head of a kkk
    coven, who didn't know that he was black and wore his hood all of the
    time and so no one else knew either

    December 5, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Change

    Southern confederate American states are all illegal WELFARE states that benefited from four hundred years of FREE slave labor and FREE slave handouts. They should all be removed from the Union!

    December 5, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • V P

      He was just joking. Chill.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Segregation was going on all over the United States! Slavery was going on mostly in the South but also all over the Country and the only State where racist idiots (KKK) ever made it far in politics was in Indiana ( the North ) so please stop your anti southern talk, because even down here its 2011 if you believe it or not.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tom

        Well there you go, give that point to the guy a couple comments above who believes the KKK was a southern thing. Indiana= North

        December 5, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Jake

    Maybe we shouldn't display personal American flags anymore, you know after the Trail of Tears and Sand Creek Massacre.
    It may offend somebody. We should probably destroy all symbols that could possibly offend anyone right? shield anyone and everyone from any sort of offense at the cost of our individual rights and freedoms of speech and display?

    December 5, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  20. so...

    Wow. So much self-loathing in one single person.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Self-loathing? That's really not what I see in his comments here. He sounds like someone who is trying hard to move forward and if he feels that the confederate flag represents regional pride more than being a symbol of slavery I think that's fine. There was more to the civil war than slavery (although ending it was the best thing to come out of the war).

      You could also look at the American flag and call it a sign of US atrocities against so many native American tribes or one of our state flags as a symbol of one thing good or bad if you wanted to (ie. WY = a sign of victory in women's suffrage; NY=a symbol of al qaeda's hatred toward us strong enough to make 13 people commit suicide just to take some of us with them; OH=the Kent State massacre). I bet when you read that last sentence you thought 'that's ridiculous you can't say that those examples are the only thing that those flags represent.'. I would agree with you.

      I don't think it's fair to tell this guy how he has to interpret the confederate flag. I wouldn't feel good about myself if I were telling him that he has to see slavery every time he sees that flag. I know many have good intentions when they assume that every black person would be be offended by the confederate flag, but if an educated black man has grown up in American, has studied the flag and its history, and is not offended by it then no one should be making assumptions about the way he should feel about it based on his race. That's called racism.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iheartyou

      Thanks, Dave. Best comment so far.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Derek

    Those who say it was only about slavery and nothing more are ignoring the fact that many southern people of all races still have an inherently different lifestyle and view of society, family and religion that leads them to want more localized control. The US is a patchwork of different cultures and lifestyles and Byron Thomas is a perfect example of this. People out West are different from people in the Northeast who are different from people in the central US, and it shouldn't be a one size fits all rule at the national level. Succession was based on keeping power at the state level and preventing the federal government from becoming too powerful and part of that power struggle was about the federal government trying to outlaw slavery on a national level, but that doesn't mean that it was just about slavery. BTW I am from the Northeast

    December 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  22. austin

    symbols change. get over it. dwelling on the negative just holds you back. pam your an idiot

    December 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  23. angryed

    As a life-long Virginian born in Richmond we have a different view than some...the rebel flag represents Virginia taking a stand and not allowing the armies of the north to invade on their way south to deal with the original 7 southern secessionist states...however almost all now acknowledge the stain on the flag brought by hate groups adopting it and I know of no one who flies it any more...it represents pain and suffering to so many and that is an end to it.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • jamesnyc

      I was born in Richmond too. Well put. I reaaallly wish some of the knuckleheads on this board would study a little history.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Mike

    It's amazing how colleges like this will support the 1st amendment for students, but they leave the students unarmed, in violation of their 2nd amendment right, to be sitting ducks for the next nut case who decides to attack them. You can't just pick and choose amendments that suit you.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Godhelpusall

    da

    December 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • jenifer

      I want to congratulate Byron Thomas for moving past racism! I wish more people could let that go; the world would be a better place. Awesome!

      December 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Aleax

    Not at the time the Civil war started.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Pam

    We as a people have officially failed our children whereas some are now embracing Klan symbols and state's rights. This is why ignorance of history and not teaching children their history is dangerous.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  28. brick

    Yeah but you know what..they came to their senses. Something that the South seems to still have an issue with judging by these posts.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Kellee

    The confederate flag represents dissent from the Union. If I were from the south, I'd fly my State flag to show my support for the flag. The Confederate flag represents the stance of the south at the time which was preserving states rights... states rights to continue slavery. Both the Stars and bars and the Swastika belong in museums.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Hank

    I really don't see his point he seems stupid in my opinion. The confederate flag represents the south and the civil war was all about the slavery of black people. I still don't know why our fore fathers thought it would be a good idea to gather up what they thought were animals and bring them here to do less desirable work. There were plenty of white screw ups to do that at the time. Didn't they think even once that the African's they were bringing here can think like white people, breed and eventually gain strength in numbers? In my opinion our fore fathers were stupid and lazy for starting this. After the civil war all the black slaves free or not should of received a bag of gold and sent back to Africa with our sincerest apologies.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Getoverit

      Look.....heres the deal.....when Europeans visited Africa for trading and expedition, the African cheifs traded their own people to them. They were sold and traded. Yes is was wrong for everyone involved. But alot of things were wrong back then. African Americans should feel just as hurt by their own people as they do southerners. Aside from the whole slavery issue, there are alot of southern ways and traditions......... if you grew up southern........(white or black or even native american) you already know the confederate flag represents alot more to alot of southerners than racism. Its about heritage, not hate. Racism is all but dead.......except for those who falsely claim it. Nobody thinks like that anymore. Its just an escape goat for many. All people need to wake up and realize that you get out of life what you put into it. America was founded on peoples from all countries coming here for a better life, free to live the way they want and worship the way they want and take advantage of opportunities that dont exist but only here!!! Lets move on folks!!!!!

      December 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  31. yankee man

    who cares. we won. the south failed. hang your flag in shame boy!

    December 5, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dixie4Evr

      Yankee Man – typical "you lost, get over it" response. from someone whose family probably didn't come over here from Eastern Europe until the 1920's. Yankee land is full of know-it-alls like you. Shut up, You don't have a dog in this fight.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • yankee man

        so i dont have a dog in the fight because my family might of came from eastern europe in the 1920's?... BAHAHHAHAHAHAH. the south has failed again.

        December 5, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Ryan

    So doing a CTRL + F search on this story for "slave" only shows results in the comments section. Does this dude know about the confederacy's history with slavery because that seems like a glaring omission...

    December 5, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • jamesnyc

      Actually I think he not only studied the South's history of slavery but also the North's which was by far more hypocritical. That was part of his decision making process. right or wrong...

      December 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  33. edmund samph

    It is good to see this young man is trying to "get an education" while attending school to get "edumacated". The things that teach you in class are vastly overated compared to what you learn in the real school of "hard knocks".It is good to see you are trying to do both. I have a suggestion for a new flag that would provoke some thought and reflection on the part of all who see it; a blank flag any color or white if that would not imply symbolic meanings? Only markings:
    Fill in the Blank:
    If this were your flag;
    -What would it tell the world?
    -What would it say about you?
    -------------------–

    December 5, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Chiomzie

    People use symbols to perpetuate prejudice and contempt. Its true that this black guy's support of the confederate flag neutralizes some of its racial symbolism to those who would use it that way but that is just a positive externality of a nonsensical situation. The nonsensical situation being this black man supporting a symbol that, before he happened upon it, is widely understood to represent racism. You say people can learn to keep and nurture hatred regardless of symbols... but symbols perpetuate, galvanize and magnify sentiments, both good and in this case bad ones such as hatred.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Hansel

    "State's Rights" = We want to do something sh**ty, but don't want the rest of the country to have a say in it.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

    Can you name me a single admirable/moral thing ever argued under the umbrella of state's rights?

    December 5, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spud

      Income Taxes...Texas has none, and has the best economy in the country

      December 5, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • Hansel

        How is the presence, or lack thereof, of a state income tax in any way relevant to state's rights?

        December 5, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • vidi

        are you serious??

        December 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • LJ Burgess

        Ummm, Delaware has the best economy in the country...

        December 5, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Deacopn

      uhm... Gay marriage?

      December 5, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • Hansel

        "Gay Marriage" –

        Ummm, state's rights as it pertains to this, another sh**ty thing done simply to oppress others.

        I'm saying something virtuous...where all are uplifted by the actions of the individual state asserting it's "rights"

        December 5, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • No One Is Safe

      hope you packed a lunch, hansel... it's gonna be a loooooooooong wait for a valid answer...

      December 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • George Purvis

        Seat belt law, drinking age, non smoking areas, definition of marriage, state income taxes, state expenses, regulations regarding the taking of game and fish, various fees and other taxes, traffic lights, immigration, spending federal monies as in South Carolina, environment issues, work environment.

        That outta hold you for awhile

        George Purvis
        Southern Heritage Advancement Preservation and Education

        December 16, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  36. LouiseTexas

    What makes people think that there weren't slaves in the North? Look into it.. and why you are at it google African American Confederate Soldiers.. here is one to start.

    http://www.scv-kirby-smith.org/Black%20Confederate.htm

    December 5, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      What is in question is what "state rights" were the south fighting for ? The "right" to claim ownership over other human beings.. The "right " to treat other human beings like livestock. Gotta love the south Yeahaw...!!

      December 5, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aleax

      African American Confederate Soldiers were slaves. The confederate flag was anti-Union. Are you anti-Union?

      December 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dixie4Evr

        ALEAX – you'll have to ask that questions to all of the free Southern blacks who were slave owners. There were actually quite a few of them. By the way, Ulysses Grant's wife owned slaves all the way through the war, and Grant didn't free them until the 13th Amendment FORCED him to do so. What do you think of that? Robert E Lee freed the slaves he inherited before the war started. Stop with the stupid generalizations.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  37. brick

    South Carolina knows you best? I was born in Greenville. I am a Gillespie our roots are in Cheraw, SC. I invite this boy to do a little more research about what SC has done for him before he starts talking about what my home state knows about him. Not to say its all bad but research is not living. He would be wise to speak to some people who have actually lived in the real world!!

    December 5, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Howie

    This is a great example of freedom of speech, but moreover, it is a prime example of an educated man who decided to look for the truth rather than what is socially acceptable.

    ANY symbol can be used to represent a viewpoint. The popular interpretation is not always the correct one. Need another example? The "Peace Symbol". That symbol does not mean "peace"–it literally means "nuclear disarmament" (from the semaphore signals).

    Meanings–TRUE MEANINGS–aren't alwsys obvious.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason Guy

      Very well said. I'm from Alabama and a member of the "Sons Of Confederacy", and great young men, like this one, is what this and future generations need more of.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      The cash crop for the South was primarily tobacco, not "black people." This is a good kid and he knows way more about the Civil War than 70% of the people replying on this page. A few more corrections: Civil War was not about slavery. The South had crops produced, which meant more money to be made, which the federal gov't wanted some of. Therefore the South stood for states rights whcih would only allow the Fed gov't a certain amount. There were many many black soldiers on the North and South sides. Not all slaveowners were horrific like everyone in America assumes. Many were taken care of and well fed and housed. Its the same as it is today. Some people actually go out and work hard to eat and live and be housed but we arent called slaves. We're called the lower class. This flag shows ideology of the south and for what the south has always stood for. Freedom of the states. People dont criticize a flag and its symbolism when it means nothing to you. We live in a new day and we all have the same opportunity. That flag doesnt mean slavery anymore.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • oilfeilds

      good point

      December 5, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • jamesnyc

      Actually the largest money maker in the South was COTTON, then tobacco. Haven't you heard the term "King Cotton"? But was NOT slavery. Brick do us all a favor and STFU until you have actually studied the subject.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  39. will

    Wow really... Im glad he is doing what he is doin.i am native american and from the south and fly the confederate flag myself..its southern pride. I do kno the history of it i also know the u.s. Flag has just as bad if not worse history..

    December 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • jamesnyc

      Interesting...I have Native American roots deep in my family's past. My father had the "typical" southern meaning for the Confederacy so I grew up around a more "anglo" interpretation.
      With no sarcasm or disrespect intended – I would like to hear your meaning of "Southern Pride".
      Warm regards...

      December 5, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      Native American from the south who flies the confederate flag. You are totally screwed up.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • No One Is Safe

        he also likes flowers, and enjoys long walks on the beach...

        December 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Dee King

    Sounds as if this nice young man has his head on straight, come on people black as well as white get over it, this is now and what we do with it is ours to make it better. Teach our kids about the history of this great land but always let them know they are equal to one another. I am very proud of Mr. Thomas and wish him well in the future !

    December 5, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • jMv

      Southern Pride should be represented in a better manner than by using a symbol that is known to provoke people. It's like flying a swastika.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jason Guy

        Uneducated, negative stigmas is exactly the reason it will remain having the wrong impression of what it truly stands for, and continue to provoke uneducated people, as well as, racism. He is showing as a well educated, Black Southern American, that it represents a piece of our Southern History that included much more than slavery, but also and Era and representation of an area of the United States and replaces the racism and stigmas like some of you stated, to rest.. Which is the only way racism will ever end. The more you people bash the flag, criticize it, and keep it washed with racism, rather than History and a important symbol of change, then it will always be a sign of racism, therefore, never letting it end, However, displaying it and re-stigmatizing it as a symbol of educated History of the South and the past including slavery, Politics, Lifestyle and level of humanity growth at that time of our existence, will replace that negativity with a symbol of learning and growing as humans as we continue to develop in humanity.. Then, people will never associate it with hate and racism like you did, and it will have no power to keep provoking. Why? because the flag will NEVER go anywhere or disappear. So WE as humans, like this young man, have to force a positive, educated, Historical value to it, as he is doing, so IT will render powerless in provocation when displayed or worn...I see the flag and think of country, southern living (without slavery of course), and a symbol of the Great South and the accomplishments it brought humans to realize and grow from. Forcing a positive view of it hopefully will replace the hatred and negative view because, again, it's apart of permanent History and it's never going anywhere. Congrats to this young man.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • avdin

        So is the american flag in other countries... I mean think about it. more people burn the american flag every year than the confederate flag because they hate what they believe it stands for.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tom

        No no no my friend. To you and all others on here that keep comparing slavery to anything to do with the holocaust. Its in no way comparable. Hitler wanted extermination of the Jews. They killed many many people. The South wasnt trying to kill all black people on the planet. They were trying to make more money. Because they themselves were poor. Slavery should never be compared to something that horrific. Id rather work and be a slave and be able to eat and live rather than be separated from my family knowing Im gonna be killed because of my ethnicity

        December 5, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • oilfeilds

      well said..

      December 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      Tom, you don't think slaves were separated from their families and killled solely based on race? Think again.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Dan

    The confederate flag does not represent slavery or racisim, thats a myth that hollywood has portayed. Ask any historian, the war was about states rights, not slavery. Unfortuantely our television educated society does not know the difference.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Hansel

    State's rights? Rights to do what?

    Own a slave. That's the "right" they were fighting for. I cannot think of a time in history that "State's Rights" has been used for anything but advocating something screwy & morally reprehensible.

    As for the kid saying "What flag was slavery under the most? The American Flag"... Actually, no. The correct answer is the British Flag. The seeds of conflict were already rising 40-50 years after America came to be – and fell into a state of civil war in about 90.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • What

      So you are against flying the British flag?? Shut up you bigot.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  43. BloggerBlablah

    I am a skinhead and we don't care about race too much we care more about views
    The right views of life
    Skinhead is a way of life
    I don't like the k k k they don't like us skinheads

    December 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • LJ Burgess

      I'm balding and will soon be a skinhead as well. I'm seriously considering a toupee until I can afford the implant treatment. It's just something you might consider, another option.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Texas Gal

    I like this guy! Folks that are comparing an american icon to a muslim flag or a nazi swastika is just plain stupid...the muslim flag and nazi swastika has NOTHING to do with American history. The North had a flag and the South had a flag, now as ONE nation, under GOD, we have one flag. But there's nothing wrong with celebrating the good in our past.

    And although I'm caucasian (decendant of french and american indian), I totally agree with him and his friends wanting to be American and not African-american....to be honest, they are no more african than I am french or indian. It's time we ALL came together and said that, regardless of your race, we are AMERICAN!

    December 5, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      Easy for you ... Nice to be white isn't it... You have no clue Texas Gal......

      December 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Lenny Pincus

    The Confederacy was too weak to defend itself because the concept of states rights gutted the ability of a centralized government to wage war. Typical of this were warehouses full of clothing and food sitting in Georgia while Lee's army starved–The Georgia governor blocked attempts for use by non-Georgian troops. This extended to economic policy, industrial policy, even its war policy. If the Southern states had been smart enough to have a uniform railroad code before the war, they would have been able to transport troops more quickly across state lines. They didn't and couldn't, while the North did and could. Ironically, Confederates loved a centralized power when it came to protecting slavery in non-slaveholding states.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spud

      You're an idiot. The South was out numbered, out resourced, and promised support from other countries, that they never got, and STILL almost won, mainly because of the brilliance of Robert E. LEee and other generals of the South. Lee fought for the South, not because he 'hated black people' but because his home was Virgina, and he considered his State bigger than the 'union', which is still argued today. Lincoln had also offered him the job of General-in-Chief of all the Union armies.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • brick

        No you're an idiot. He fought because he supported the ideals of his homeland. No different than the suicide bombers coming from Pakastan and Saudi Arabia. He is no hero. He will always be a villian. All people are individuals 1st. So either he believed in the ideals or he was too weak to stand on his own feet . Either way he is burning in Hades like a blind cooks dinner.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        Well said Spud, and very factually accurate.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • jamesnyc

        Brick, I can tell you really haven't read all that much about Robert E. Lee. Above all things, he was a good and loyal soldier from a family of good soldiers and he was one person who thought the succession was a bad idea. His loyalty however was to Virginia. That was his one and only reason for fighting. Because he knew Virginia would become a major battle ground. After the war he was one of the few people who tried to reintegrate the confederacy with the Union. Check your facts before labeling someone "evil".

        December 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • jamesnyc

      Sorry SPUD, you may be right in some regards but not all. The decentralization of the war effort was real and very costly to the South. The South forgot to heed Ben Franklin's warning "either we hang together or we hang separately"
      and as far as Robert E. Lee, God bless him (one of this Virginia boy's favorite people), he was a great man and he was the first person Lincoln wanted for the job but the biggest mistake he made was to go to Gettysberg. He tried for the psychological victory and over reached. Had he gone to Washington, D.C. he would have had Lincoln and the South would have won. Gettysberg was his Stalingrad.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • gonaive

        The biggest mistake Robert E Lee ever made was refusing that job when Lincoln offered it to him. Had he done so, the Rebels would have been vanquished sooner and he, Robert E Lee, would have been an American National Hero, period!

        December 5, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tom

        I live in Spotsylvania, Va myself and there are battlefields everywhere. Theres a museum on every road it seems at times. I feel as if many people should come visit before they make such rude comments about the South. Because you're right, Lee stood his ground on fighting for VA. Not for slavery.

        December 5, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Julnor

    This story must be making liberals' heads implode.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tzckrl

      No, Junior, it's not. And learn to spell your name, son.

      December 6, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  47. K2

    He should be proud of the stance he took and for his feeling toward the South! The South didn't invent slavery and didn't corner the market of racism. Groups like the KKK hijacked the flag and used it as a symbol of their cause. The KKK had and has it's strongest membership base in the North, but most people don't realize that.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • brick

      Look gang members hijacked red and black bandana's but you wont see me in LA wearing one...

      December 5, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • lane

        hilarious and so true

        December 5, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  48. edward

    Is Thomas a dem or rep. This will gve us an insght to his personality.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Spud

    Smart Kid!

    December 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Frank Cardenas

    The Confederate flag is a symbol of slavery ... period. This guy is a jerk for not respecting all those who fought against slavery.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • K2

      Very few Northerners actually fought to abolish slavery. There were mass defections of Union soldiers right after the Emancipation Proclamation and several Northern States threatened to withdraw their support and troops from the war. Learn your history before you speak and make yourself look like a jerk.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spud

      It might be a symbol of slavery to you and the others who live life through a racist lens. To most of us, who dont live life through a racist lens, and especially those in the south, its about pride, tradition, and honoring those who fought and died for our country.
      The same things that was fought for back then, are even more relevant now...states rights. The more the federal governement continues to spread the wealth, bailout companies, and sleep with the unions who have bankrupted this great country, the more people will continue to stand up for states rights, just as they've always done.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • sevenseas

      So the young man has a point of view that you disagree with, and he's a jerk? Does that make you a jerk for going against all the people who fought so we could have freedom of speech and expression?

      December 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      you obviously have no idea what that flag means and therefore the full, encompassing meaning of what both sides fought for during the civil war. If you think that the war was solely about slavery, then you may as well be in the ignorant category of people that were mentioned along with the KKK.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Dave in Indy

    Did anyone else involuntarily shudder when they read "South Carolina knows me better than ..."? Poor guy.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  52. edward

    Is Thomas a dem or rep. This will give us a better view of his personality.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  53. J.

    If you ask someone from the North they will say the war was about slaves...if you ask someone from the south they will tell you it was about State's rights...history is written by the victor.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texas Ranger

      I'm from the south. I'll not only tell you the war was over issues that are inseparable from slavery, but ask you to stop with the gross generalizations and rationalizations. There's enough that's been written from both sides to make an intelligent judgment, without dismissing accounts that differ from yours as "written by the victors" and thereby biased.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • heeler

      I'm from the West, where we know very well that the war was about the south attempting to break from the Union. The war was fought to prevent that from happening, and one of the many positive results was the freedom of the slaves. Lets get this straight.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  54. AWickedColdNewEnglandahBrrr

    It's a stereotype all white southerners were evil, racist, violent bigots. Many stood arm in arm with blacks in attempt to gain racial equality, getting beaten, arrested and disowned by disapproving family. Look into the murders of Andrew Goodman and Michael Shwerner, two white civil rights activists murdered alongside James Cheney in Mississippi. There's a difference in remembering history in its entirety versus hanging selective pieces over people's heads. Enough blacks have been successful (President Obama, anyone? He's only half black but that 50% more black than the previous 43) that it's time we stop "glamorizing" the plight of the 21st century blacks; rather, looking at the socioeconomic factors surrounding all races of marginalized, less advantaged Americans allows us to have a more accurate picture which in turn allows us to better make a difference.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • lnedykstra

      "It's a stereotype all white southerners were evil, racist, violent bigots. Many stood arm in arm with blacks in attempt to gain racial equality, getting beaten, arrested and disowned by disapproving family. Look into the murders of Andrew Goodman and Michael Shwerner, two white civil rights activists murdered alongside James Cheney in Mississippi."

      Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman were Jewish men from New York. They were exactly the opposite of white, Southern, Protestant men.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • RCTX

        I'll have you know that my white southern ancestor Levi Isbell was a Methodist minister in Mississippi who hid runaway slaves in his church belfrey. And one of my other ancestors was a Native American slave. People are such a mixture of the ancestors that were from many different nations, backgrounds, and cultures. You can't assume that just because someone looks white (especially in the South) that all their ancestors before the Civil War were slave owners and approved of the practice. Many of my white southern ancestors were poor dirt farmers who fought in the war for the south and had to come to Texas after the war because of the level of starvation across most of the south. I can assure you that most of them were not fighting to keep slavery legal! They were fighting what they saw as federalist oppression against ALL farmers. I even had an ancestor that fought for the north and his widow (who was the great-granddaughter of the slave) was never given a pension because his company was a regiment from Kentucky which was never officially mustered into service for the US. I had one ancestor that did own two slaves. It was against the law to free them, but he did so in his will, giving each an inheritance and declaring them freedmen. His will over-road the law because the government couldn't prosecute him for freeing his slaves as he was deceased. Another family had one slave. They got him when he was three years old and he was blind and crippled. He was raised with their children and given the name John Peter Foster. He was known as Jack. Then when the family came to Texas after the war, he came with them. When the parents died, he was cared for by one of the sons. When the son died, he was cared for by one of the grandsons. And when he died, the grandson bought a plot of land to bury him, gave him a tombstone and named a cemetery in New Mexico in honor of him. The men above I speak of and their families were all white and Protestant. Yes, I do have ancestors that owned slaves, some owned many, and they supported laws keeping slavery legal. But when I boast of my family history, it is not their stories I tell, but instead those that worked toward doing what was right. Then there was the biography of a runaway slave which was published in 1854 (the Civil War began in 1861). She endured hardships I couldn't imagine I could have survived. But there she was in the latter part of the 1840's, living in Boston, Mass., where they just had passed a law making it ok for bounty hunters to catch runaway slaves and return them to their owners. Many cities in the north had such laws at the time. (I wasn't even aware of this until I began reading the stories of runaway slaves that had been published prior to the civil War.) Unless the price was paid to buy their freedom, which is what this lady's boss did, they were still not truly free unless they could either get to Canada or were protected by Quakers – even though they had made it to the north. This was less pervasive in the Ohio valley at that time than in areas that had previously been the traditional northern colonies. I forget the name of the woman but I read the book for free on books.google.com. You can find many pre-Civil War books that they have scanned and can download and read them for free. Reading scans of pre-Civil War books gives a whole new insight into the history of this country.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • lnedykstra

        @RCTX

        Thanks for sharing your story ... I meant no disrespect to white Southerners, as I am from NC and of mixed heritage. I was just saying to the original poster that the specific men he mentioned were not Southerners who stood up in the face of oppression in their own communities.

        I am well aware of the sacrifices that white people made during the Civil War as well as Reconstruction.

        December 5, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Yeah bad example with those two newengladah! Those were among the (many) northerners who went down south to try to right wrongs that typical southerners were quite happy in letting continue!

      December 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • AWickedColdNewEnglandahBrrr

        You've got me there-I admit that example wasn't clearly explained. I was combining two points: first, the concept of white guilt and second, my point on white southerners. Having half a family come from the south, I know from their accounts that not all white southerners were racist. Not everyone took part in that. Not every white civil rights demonstrator was brought in from the north. Living in the north, I hear people my age (26) vilify all whites in general. We don't have many blacks in my states, so this is basically coming from all whites. I forgot my history when I used that as an example that those two came from up north. I do stand by my assertions, though, that racism was not and still is not limited to white southerners (also, white northerners are definitely not all saints race relations wise)...and the civil rights movement certainly was the not the doing of merely whites from above the Mason Dixie line and blacks. Thanks for correcting me without roasting me!

        December 5, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • AWickedColdNewEnglandahBrrr

        also realize I'm talking about civils rights era, not touching the civil war time frame. Don't know enough about history. I would like to assume, though, that a population of white southern prohibitionist population existed (albeit, likely in hiding)

        December 5, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • lnedykstra

        @AWickedColdNewEnglandahBrrr – No worries ... thanks for your follow up comments! I get your point now!

        December 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • brick

      If you did nothing to stop slavery in the south then you were for it. You can be indiffernent when it comes to human rights. There is no middle ground. No matter what you say. Regardless of what is going on now...what was done is set it stone. No need to try and refocus on it. Also there is no glamour in being part of the under class. We all realize that racsim is just a device to commit crimes of greed. Now that racism is all but exposed, new tactics are being employed. But that is a separate issue to this. Unfortunately, for this kid...he confuses his ideals with reality. He can call people ignorant but in fact he is ignorant for trying to separate the States Rights issue and Slavery. When in reality the flag now represents States Rights to Continue Slavery. That is why people are upset. There are many things that represent 1 thing and now have a totally new meaning because of public opinion. This flag is on of them...Another one is the Swastika. Having the right to say what you want doesnt mean you should. He should have thought before he did this. As a black man born in SC i can say I am embarrassed by his statement. I lived there for many years and trust me, most of people flying that flag arent interested in States Rights alone.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • brick

        Correction" You cant be indiffernent when it comes to human rights."

        December 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • chicago

        Brick, I completely agree with your statement. Even if there are 1000 other reasons why the Civil War was fought, reason 1001, slavery, eclipses all others. His opinion is proof why we shouldn't and don't take our social ideologies from 19 year olds. I believe/hope his perspective changes in the next 5-10 years. I do believe that he is the result of purposeful attempts to change the right perspective of slavery. I'm not embarrassed by him. He's on a journey that'll lead him to the truth. He's not there yet. Not even close.

        December 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  55. AK87

    Wow. For a guy who cares so much about the "history" of that flag, you'd think he would actually hang a historically accurate version of the flag. Fun fact: The original flag was not rectangular. It was actually square.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brandon

      Ahhh no, that's wrong too. He has the Navy Jack, you're thinking of the Battle Flag, and the real one actually has a white background. Look at the Wikipedia article for the Confederacy, it's on the top right.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  56. OH OKAY.

    "Ignorance gave that flag a bad name, ignorant people like the KKK," No. that flag was the symbol of the South forming it's own country because AND ONLY BECAUSE they wanted to maintain their economic infrastructure through the continuance of slavery. That flag represents the ideological standpoint of Southerners during the Civil War. They wanted secession to protect their own economic interest. The only FREEDOM they wanted from the "oppressive federal govt" was the freedom to hold slaves.
    And another thing, taking away 'African' in 'African-American' will do nothing in defining you as more American. For as long as humanity values white over color, the world will always classify you in accordance with your race. Being color blind is not the answer. The answer is to instead understand the differences in racial groups and ACCEPT it.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • ToesOnTheNose

      I'm glad someone could make an accurate assessment of this man's drivel....He doesn't believe what he says, why should I?

      December 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whats up

      Oh Okay,

      Your first point seems to make sense, but your second point is misguided.

      Regardless of the current state of racial equality, discourse has to change first. When you hyphenate American, your discourse reinforces artificial differences. African-American implies "other than american." The language itself creates unnecessary differences that perpetuate racial inequality.

      Learn some Foucault, my dude.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chiomzie

        Whats up. I love you, marry me. I couldnt have said it better myself.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • dudley0415

      Much, much more complicated than that. A civil war had been predicted since the 1820s and masses of legislation were put into law to try to correct several things between the southern agricultural society and the northern industrial one. Religion even played a part as the north was more 'papist' and the south protestant. Political bosses in Boston and NY also played a big part. Perhaps the biggest part was played by a then dead Thomas Jefferson who was a state's rightist. Slavery became a rallying cry for the north as a moral issue in the 1850s.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • humberto

        wrong, the southernors didn't want to pay taxes on their property, the slaves.

        December 5, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • humberto

        Why do you think Aron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton – he was involved with Benjamin Franklin to abolish slavery –

        December 5, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee Scott

      Amen to that! Well written!

      December 5, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Steven H

    The kid is an idiot. Maybe he'll get the point in the future if a bunch of confederate flag wearing thugs vandalize his family's home with swastikas and the N word and burn a cross on the front lawn. Then I wonder how he would feel about the meaning of the Confederate flag.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      And this has happened how many times in the past ten years??

      December 5, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Will

    Ok, I do not think that the Confederacy is something to look back and be proud of. They were traitors. There is nothing more un-American than attempting to break-up the Union–especially over the right to own slaves. That was the ultimate violation of human rights. This kid has not yet been the subject of slavery, but it'll hit him one day. I applaud his efforts to affect change, but the war was about race-based slavery. He can't change that.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snoopy

      The war wasn't initially about slavery. It was about not allowing the south to break away from the union. Lincoln was not going to let the US divide. It only became a war when the south fired upon the north over a dispute over Fort Surmer. Lincoln only made the war about slavery to stop the English and French from allying with the south, because he knew they would not side with them if they were fighting to keep slavery going.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • Texas Ranger

        Snoopy, ... you actually believe what you just typed? Have you not read the rhetoric thrown around by all parties prior to shots being fired? I smell a creationist.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Snoopy

        Texas, I am just recounting facts from when I had to study the Civil War. Lincoln would not have attempted to abolish slavery prior to the war, it would have been career suicide. He only wanted to stop the SPREAD of slavery. When the war began the South was reaching out the the French and English. When Lincoln found out he knew they would not side with the south if he made the war about totally abolishing slavery.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • dudley0415

        The duality of society at the time became polarized. The south tended to keep their Congressional leaders in office for decades, the north for much shorter periods. As such Congress, especially the Senate, became the powerhouses for the southern legislators as they held so many chairs and important positions due to their tenure.

        There is so much more to the causes of the civil War that reducing it simply to slavery is to ignore the decades of struggle and causation. It's like playing the Race card: It's easy and lazy since no one is supposed to be able to counter it.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Will

        Snoopy.... Why was it the south wanted to break away... humm.....

        December 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  59. yas

    This boy isn't too swift. One moment he is talking about how quickly people get offended and in the very next breath how he got offended.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  60. SocialistZero

    Simple fact, weather you think the flag is tied to hate, ignorance etc. The Confederacy had every right to secede, just as Taiwan should be free from China, and Georgia should be free from Russia the people should belong to whatever government that it chooses. And, as the internet is well known for saying "If you dont like it get out." same could of been applied to the south.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  61. dudley0415

    He, on one hand will never feel oppressed by that flag. A victory.

    Many of you on the other hand, will still feel oppressed. A defeat.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chiomzie

      Many 'of you'... a defeat.
      Until we as a country start referring to ourselves in unison. instead of groups of people, symbols like the confederate flag will always divide.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • dudley0415

      I am not oppressed by the flag. Many are still.

      Being unified is important, and is precisely what this young man is trying to say.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chiomzie

        I wouldnt say many are still oppressed by the confederate flag. Just like Jews are not still oppressed by the swastika. Many are 'Offended' by the confederate flag and what it represents. There is a difference. This guy flying his confederate flag, didnt make people scared, it maybe made them angry, because of what it represents. The irony of the confederate flag and people like you who say we should just forget this is that it not only symbolyzes racism to those who view it unfavorably, but also to those who fly it KNOWING what it represents to other people. It's self reinforcing you see? so if a person flies they either harbor hostile sentiments or, like this guy, may not be very bright. If people were really so willing to forget they would find another symbol to rally behind that doesnt mean so many bad things to so many people.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chiomzie

        And just to add on to my last comment... if I were to see a swastika I would be offended. not because I am Jewish (I am not) but because as a member of the human race I know what it means to the Jews and I stand wholly against everything it stands for. As many people on this board have already pointed out, the Swastika too started off not having anything to do with Jewish oppression. So if you believe in unity as you say, you too should be offended by what the confederate flag represents because there is a compelling amount of historical fact to back up the reasons so many people feel this way about this symbol.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Miranda Billlings

    The Confederate flag is a treasonous flag representing those that would tear our country apart so they could build their own fortunes on the blood, sweat, and tears of others.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • dudley0415

      Yes, Miranda. 150 years ago.

      Time to let the hatred and prejudices of other generations pass into oblivion.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chiomzie

        If we are to let it pass into oblivion, why not too the symbols associated with it, such as the confederate flag. You have unwittingly chosen one of these to stay while the other go, which is hypocritical at best and nonsensical at worst. The problem with letting things fade into oblivion is the possibility that if we learned nothing from the past, history may repeat itself.

        December 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • dudley0415

        The symbols are not that which hold the prejudice or contempt. People do. People that have learned to keep and nurture the hatred of the past are those most likely to repeat it, regardless of the presence of symbols.

        This fellow's use of the flag removes the bigotry from it. We could all take a lesson.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chiomzie

        People use symbols to perpetuate prejudice and contempt. Its true that this black guy's support of the confederate flag neutralizes some of its racial symbolism to those who would use it that way but that is just a positive externality of a nonsensical situation. The nonsensical situation being this black man supporting a symbol that is widely understood to represent racism. You say people can learn to keep and nurture hatred regardless of symbols... but symbols perpetuate, galvanize and magnify sentiments, both good and in this case bad ones such as hatred. THAT is why so many people are agains the flag because they too want unity, instead of symbols that promote division.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chiomzie

        And while we're on the topic. Symbols come and go. Some symbols start off being perceived as good and then over time become perceived as bad. You will hardly hear though, of a symbol that was perceived to be bad and then perceptions of it changed to become good. You know why? because there are a million ways that materials can be put together to form symbols. we dont actually have to recycle them. There is no need for the confederate flag to come back as a 'good symbol' when it has already become such an abhorrent one. so people who know what it symbolizes and fly it anyway ARE propagators of racism. Because they know what it represents when they fly it. If people really wanted to move on, they would move on from symbols that already have well founded widespread negative perceptions and find new ones.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • AnotherRealAmerican

        Just go to any of the confederate museums and it's alive and well. They put a nice spin on things too. This buffoon needs to learn history or at least travel the country to get to know history and America before he starts hanging flags like those.

        December 6, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Cyndie

      Someone who doesn't understand history – that SLAVERY was SECONDARY to State's Rights as the cause of the Civil War . . . Ignorance is what keeps hate alive . . .

      December 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chiomzie

        oh SHUT UP already. Isnt there a sounding board where idiots can go and speak to one another???? I'm here therefore this isnt it. so SHOO.

        December 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • dudley0415

      This man and his friends are not ignorant. Applause to them for a positive outlook, and shame on those who would still after 150 years continue to try to heap contempt on the South. Your prejudice is showing.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • TruthSpeaker

      AmeriKKKa's government has torn this country apart on the blood, sweat and tears of it's own people of all races, as well as the blood, sweat & tears of the innocents killed by AmeriKKKa's war machine since the turn of the last century. Yes, the Confederate Flag is apart of a sordid past, but it's just a small part of a grave problem that still continues today because the collective american people don't want to do anything about it. These OWS protests will fade out soon and accomplish nothing. What is required for REAL change is beyond what americans possess to make happen.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  63. American101

    You should be ashamed of yourself and not even call yourself an American. That flag represents dissension and a concerted effort by those of the South to separate the UNITED STATES. If you want to be an American then fly the American flag. Usually when your side loses, you're supposed to take down your flag. NEWSFLASH: you lost, get over it. Take down that silly thing and try to be apart of an era that is working towards progression and not the ways of the OLD SOUTH.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Equaity for all

      American101,
      I hate to say this but you are anti-American. Before you go making statements like you, lets take a look at the atrocities the GREAT USA has done. How many innocent native americans were slaughtered in the name of the USA. Women and children included? And how great the north was?? how many children did the great north and USA flag have working in sweat shops all in the name of progress of the USA flag? How long did it take the USA flag to grant equal rights to blacks let alone women? How many chinese, mexicans, irish, jews, died do to poor working conditions as the USA expanded west with the railroad? And to present day, how many sweat shops and poor work conditions has the current USA sent jobs over seas to 2nd and 3rd world countries for cheaper products? Thats right, America has a VERY dirty closet, rather then support or own people we send our jobs overseas and use other countries as our slave labor.

      America is a great country but we have our flaws. The press and people like you have blurred history and REALLY don't understand what the Confederate flag was all about and why it came about. The flag is connected to slaves... but the American Flag is connected to slaves, sweet shops, and mass slaughter of innocent native Americans. Lets not start talking about Vietnam. A war that we should never have been a part of.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • American101

        Being that you so fervidly attacked the US by pointing out its flaws I'm assuming you're apart of that losing team I referenced earlier. I am not as delusional to think that the US is a perfect country that hasn't committed atrocities against others, in fact I am well aware of it and have accepted these events as apart of its history and have spoken out against them. That fact is besides the point here. As I can see you struggle with reading comprehension I will try to make this simpler for you. "Your" side fought a war that would have divided the country (something I and many others believe is un-American), and typically in a war the losing opponent takes their flag down in defeat. I hope I still have you... Sooooo, you lost and should take your flag down. There is only one flag of the United States. Hope that wasn't too hard for you to understand. And don't get me wrong, I'm with you, I really wish the South could secede (and break away into the ocean preferably). I mean think about how much better off the rest of the nation would be with that sh!* stain removed.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dixie4Evr

      You are probably the most ignorant and prejudiced person posting on this list. Careful, your intolerance is showing. You have some never talking about others being "anti-American." Most of the founders of this nation and many of its great statesmen came from the area of the country you hate so much – the SOUTH.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • American101

        LOL, so. If they were alive today they would agree with me. The South is a sh!% stain and I can't really blame you for trying to define it because you don't know any better (did you know stupid people - like yourself - really think they are smart but are incapable of seeing their inadequacies. Reference Dunning-Kruger Effect). You guys really are bums, defending that festering pushole you call home (or whatever you call it). Only completely incompetent, simpletons would be proud of the divisiveness of their ancestors. I will say it again: YOU LOST, so get bent losers... the South will NEVER RISE AGAIN.

        December 5, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Anomic Office Drone

    The sad thing is that because one black guy says the Confederate flag isn't racist millions of racists all over the country will be using this as an example as to why the flag isn't racist.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!

      December 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • jlg

      With Herman Cain out of the race, maybe this guy will become the Republicans' "token" presidential candidate.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chiomzie

        LOL! I think you're onto something there...

        December 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Capt America

    This is fascinating. I have three points to make.

    1. Any discussion regarding the history of the confederate flag misses the point. Regardless of intention of the flag’s original waivers, at this point, the confederate flag is as clear a sign of racism as the swastika or a hooded Klansmen.

    That’s not to say that perception won’t change over time, maybe it takes things like this to change it, but we are not there yet.

    I also thought he made a great point about the US flag, but I think that further proves my point regarding how the power of the image is not connected to historical reality.

    2. I think as a general rule, in the interest of comity and brotherhood, people shouldn’t do things to offend other people unless they have a reason for doing it. This young man seems to be animated by a desire to restore the image of the confederate flag, and apparently, that is very important to him.

    3. Finally, although I personally disagree with his actions, I absolutely support his right to fly whatever flag he wants, and I applaud the school’s administration for respecting his freedom of expression.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chiomzie

      Bravo Captain America. I aspire to have your sentiments. But for now I cant help but be a little contemptuous of an idiot who willingly displays a symbol that supported the subjugation of his ancestors. They're not even my direct ancestors and i 'get it' more than he does.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anomic Office Drone

      I agree with you to a point, but i don't think point #3 applies here as the school's dorm is not his property. I support his right to put it on his home or car, but I also feel the school has every right to tell him to take it off of their building.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • Droning

        Wow. This is clearly a brute mind that cannot assert itself to the issues because it is mislead by an entangled understanding of rules.

        December 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • dudley0415

      To many, and the point that this man is trying to make, is that the flag is no longer for him a symbol of the racism of a society that has long outlived its usefulness in society, so much so that it was removed by force a century and a half ago. It is now a symbol of the land where he was born and raised, and where he learned the positive outlook he has developed. He refuses to allow the ancient past represented by the flag to phase him but instead chooses to see it as a design of a new era. He is proud of his southern heritage and no one can or should try to relieve him of that pride.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  66. gary

    Ok point made by the gentleman, so hey lets design a whole new flag representing the now south and a rematch of the civil war,thats why he's saying alot but not really saying anything at all.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  67. FloridaDude

    Everyone is laughing at you bru. Glad I'm not your parents, I would instantly disown you.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • jlg

      I guess they don't teach history any more in college – or high school for that matter.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • older generation

      I am a 52 year old white woman. When I first went to college in the late 70's, I lived in a dorm and was assigned to a room with 3 black roommates. I grew up in a small, very racist, white town and was terrified with what I encountered in moving into my dorm. While I could have asked for a change of rooms, for whatever reason, I chose not to. I ultimately made 3 friends, but discovered the ugliness of racism . . . . . the vast majority of white people living in that dorm would have nothing to do with me. That experience changed my life in so many positive ways.

      I have always detested that flag and all it represents. And now this article from what I consider a very bright young man with a beautiful vision. Thank you. I would be proud to be his parent and proud to be his friend.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Equaity for all

      Sorry dude, everyone is laughing at you because you have shown how much of a racist you are. Unlike you, he understand history and does not let blind beliefs guide him.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Mandy

    I'm curious to know this young man's sources. Having studied the subject myself, there is a reason people see this flag as a symbol of racism. Sure It's a flag that represented southerner fighting for their riights, but specifically they wanted to maintain the right to own slaves. Also, many southern states adopted this as their state flag during the civil rights movement as a slap in the face to the movement. You can even look up and read transcripts from state govt meetings.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Freedom

    why the hell does he have to be naive? let me guess. another age generation passing judgement on the younger group. now me myself, i could care less. im from the south and the story doesnt bother me at all. Blacks want to stay with blacks. Whites want to stay with whites. and Spanish people just want to be left alone. Older generations are so into keeping everything in their culture and not changing. Almost kind of like when a black man wants to marry a white woman. BOTH GROUPS OF PEOPLE LOOK SIDEWAYS AT THE COUPLE!!! you'd be lying if you said otherwise. Keep your judgements to yourselves and everybody would be a lot better off.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      you should come up to a northern state things have changed since the 50's at least up here

      December 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • Freedom

        Yea i noticed that on my various trips that ive taken being a part of the Marines. The farther north you go it seems as if the evolution of American ideology starts and ends with the North specifically the northeast. I was speaking primarily about the south because thats what the topic was about. I probably should have been more specific. The south just always seems to be the last to evolve with everything.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Henry Suchman

    "A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.

    This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.

    On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States."

    - Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union

    ... That kid might want to do a little more research

    December 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  71. JUGGERNAUT

    WHAT A MORON.

    THE NAZI GAVE A BAD NAME TO THE SWASTIKA, WHICH HA BEEN AROUND LONG BEFORE NAZI GERMANY.

    SO HOW DO YOU THINK PEOPLE WILL FEEL IF THEY SEE A BIG SWASTIKA IN FRONT OF SOMEONE'S WINDOW???

    M0R0NS LIKE THIS GUY THINK THEY ARE SO "INTELLECTUAL" BUT IN REALITY YOU ARE JUST AN I DI0T LOOKING FOR HIS 15MN OF FAME.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • SocialistZero

      No more of a moron then someone who type's in all cap's and makes a really bad point.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shaun

      Buddy, the swastika (in it's original form) is up on the wall and on flags on hindu temples around the world becase it is a holy vedic symbol. I see nothing wrong with anyone, like this kid, trying to reclaim the honor and true meaning behind any flag or symbol. Time to move forward.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • JUGGERNAUT

        ??????? LOL, dont make me laugh the swastika will ALWAYS be seen a a bad symbol in the USA.'

        what this kid is doing i m0r0nic and dumb.

        December 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThatGuy

      CAPITALIZATION! ROAR! SCREAMING! AHH!

      December 5, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • AnotherRealAmerican

      Moron, Confederate flag doesn't mean squat in Pakistan but it means something here, just like the Swastika means something good in India it means RACIST in Germany or another white country.

      December 6, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  72. NOT MY CHAIR

    i feel this kid is massively confused like most southerners. would it be OK if i was a Muslim and wanted to hang an Al Qaede flag? the confederates were basically the same thing. also if the north lost the civil war this kid would be a slave saluting that flag hoping to burn it some day. you might want to rethink your ideals on life are if you want to express your heritage by flying a confederate flag, because you think it makes you a rebel. yes the rebelled but do you understand why they did?

    December 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chiomzie

      haha! you know what? If the confederate flag did once stand for southern pride or whatever- and stood for the south seceding from the North, then maybe we should support this guy's right to wave that flag high and proud. Cuz if those are the kind of brains that are formed in the south, then the North really may be better off without...

      December 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • NOT MY CHAIR

        that's what i have been saying for years Abraham Lincoln was the worst president ever, we really should have just let the south go

        December 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • CYTexas

      The confederates were terrorists like Al Quada? Sherman's March was just as much a terrorist act. Both sides did horrible things.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      yes if the confederates tried the civil war now they would be looked at as terrorist.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Mike

    I think this kid is onto something. The KKK co-opted this flag -stole it, really- decided what it would stand for, and used it for the next five generations to incite hatred, oppression and killing. Symbols are a kind of property; when we try to ban symbols of hate, we essentially give those as property to the hateful people who stole them. Why shouldn't honorable people take those symbols back and decide what they should mean? Why give away that power to hateful people when we can use it ourselves to heal?

    December 5, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chiomzie

      Thats an interesting take. If this kid had stated that this was his strategic aim, I would be all for it cuz that'd be really clever. But thats not what he is doing, he is actually arguing on behalf of the flag, and attempting to state that it 'used to stand for something good' or something of the sort. When its looked at with the angle he took... not very clever.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  74. rkt210

    '69 Charger...Get it right!

    December 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  75. KevinCrookCrook Glory

    Shut up.This boy just try get ppls pay attention to what was him doing .C'om get some different Hoax son !

    December 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chiomzie

      I wouldnt be surprised. These days people do anything for attention, which means people trying too hard to be different. And whats more different than a black guy defending the confederate flag. Certainly wouldnt have gotten as much coverage and national attention if he were just a black guy speaking out against the confederate flag.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nathan Dalmer

      I am amazed that no one has pointed out your terrible grammar and spelling. Especially on a CNN site. How are you reading this blog? Or maybe the correct question is why?
      It seems to me that the spelling alone on your reply should direct you to more shady forums where people aren't really looking for legitimate replies to current events.
      You might like gaiaonline.com

      December 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Kabe

    Why CNN bothers itself to report a story about this troubled young man surprises me. The guy is even not in the least way articulate about his position. He mumbles some brainless reasons for flying the confederate flag and bingo, he's the revitalized voice of the new black generation. Unbelievable.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • CYTexas

      Mumbles? Brainless? Read the damn article!

      December 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Jae

    I am so glad he did this and here is the reason why. When he was doing his research did he ever see what students in the south were doing during a sec football and basketball game in the past? Did he watch videos of cops who were investigating the death of children burnt in churches by hood wearing whites? Did he ever view video of cops hosing kids with fireman hoses for wanting to sit down next to a white person? Does he know about the four brave men who sat in at woolworth who were beaten while peacefully sitting on national tv? There are so many other examples but u know what the common theme was? The confederate flag. The whites were all waiving the confederate flag? U dont kill racism by condoning it. U cant kill racism by saying it doesnt mean that any more. The sad thing is is that he probably listens to lil wayne ti and the likes who uses the n word like it means nothing and says it himself. If these kids would b able to see and hear first hand what the whites were saying and doing to people in the past, would they have a different outlook? Like herman cain said, african americans are brainwashed mayb this is what he meant

    December 5, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Chiomzie

    I hate to have to result to insults because I dont exactly agree with his views- even though I can see the positive that can come from it (such as rendering the confederate flag impotent as a sign of racism for those who would use it that way). But I have to agree with you, he doesnt sound very intelligent.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  79. Peter

    The swastika was actually originally a symbol of peace (google it). It represented very positive things for centuries–far longer than the confederate flag represented anything positive. Hitler took the swastika and associated with it prejudice, injustice, and hatred. You can hang a swastika out our window and then tell people that it's actually a symbol for peace, but you'd be pretty silly and naive to do that.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chiomzie

      I like the way you think Peter. Thank you for that. I knew this whole thing didnt fully sit well with me. I was trying to be logical. And logically speaking, you are right!

      December 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      swastika that represents peace is straight up and down left to right they changed its a little

      December 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      also the whole red whit and black is specifically nazi

      December 5, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven H

      The kid is a moron. Maybe he'll get the point in the future if a bunch of confederate flag wearing thugs vandalize his family's home with swastikas and the N word and burn a cross on the front lawn. Then I wonder how he would feel about the meaning of the Confederate flag.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Strange history

      John Rabe Save chinese people using NAZI flag.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      ... so, the swastika is no longer, though it once was, a symbol for peace. You cannot display a swastika without invoking all the horrible things of the Holocaust. Just like you can't display the confederate flag without invoking images of black people tied in chains and forcefully taken from their families, dying and rotting in the belly of boats as they crossed the seas chained to tiny and confined spaces, defecating on each other, or, if they happened to survive that, spending the rest of their lives cooking foods for masters that they could never experience, and treated worse than most people treat their dogs nowadays. To say that the confederate flag means none of these things is to propose that we all ignore the history that is woven into it's fabric.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Randal Flag

    Well if it's good enough for Uncle Ruckus it's good enough for me. 😦

    December 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  81. popcorn

    Destroy AMERICA and replace Confederate flag over USA Flag?

    WE have Occupy Wall Street. okay....

    December 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  82. mke414

    Regardless of his logic, I will say one thing he is right about, people are too politically correct these days. You can barely say anything without someone or some group taking offense to it.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  83. NOLA

    Top 2 Leading Causes of Death (since time began)

    1. Religion
    2. Flags

    December 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  84. John

    How dare this young black man espouse conservative values. He has stepped off the Liberal/Democrat plantation. All of his Liberal/Democrat masters are smacking him down for not following their dogma.

    Seriously people, we're not going to come together until we start thinking of ourselves as Americans; not African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-American and various European-Americans.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sunbum

      Well said

      December 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Well said. Finally someone who's either not narrow minded or a troll.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • dudley0415

      Righteous post.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  85. gravitate

    I hear the Jewish Democrat Socialists are doing the same thing with the Swastika...

    December 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • mke414

      Technically the swastika was a symbol of peace originally...kind of ironic what it was turned into huh?

      December 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  86. NOT MY CHAIR

    As an American Jew i understand what this kid is saying, so from now on i will start to hang a Nazi swastika flag in my dorm because it represents perfection and thats what i want at any cost

    December 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chiomzie

      Sarcasm. I like it!

      December 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jambi

      LOL

      December 6, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  87. SocialistZero

    I have a confederate flag that reads "Heritage not Hate" and anyone who's got a problem with it is simply ignorant.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      why do you want to represent a heritage that owned slaves, tried to recede from the union, got its but kicked, and is know the world over for its ignorance?

      December 5, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • TruthSpeaker

        Why do you want to be part of a heritage that let 6 million of themselves be marched off like obediant lemmings into death chambers instead of fighting back like men & women of honor, and then whose survivors spent the next 66 years whimpering and whining in search of sympathy they don't deserve, not to mention the criminal theft & occupation of Palestine where your people treat the arabs like Hitler treated them?

        December 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dixie4Evr

        You are an idiot. ALL of the American states were slave holding at the time of the American Revolution. Did they "secede" from Great Britain for the right "to own other human beings?" According to your simple minded theories they did. If Jefferson Davis was a traitor, so was George Washington. Come up our of your mother's basement, get off of Facebook, and trying reading some first person account history. It might just open your eyes.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave in Indy

      You and this freshman can reinvent the flag and what it stood for – but we don't have to refrain from labeling you as wishful simpletons. Yes, the flag stood for many things, too many of which involved hate and the right to own other humans.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      A heritage of hate, dummy that`s the problem.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flabbergasted

      Heritage? You mean "Treason." The Confederate flag is the most un-American symbol that you can hang on your wall. It symbolizes the breaking of our union. You might as well spit on the American flag while you are at it.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  88. gravitate

    Awesome...to want to be called an American instead of African American....That is what I am talking about...Good for you man...

    December 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flabbergasted

      If he wants to be thought of us an American then he should proudly display the American flag, not that flown by traitors. Racist or not, the flag symbolizes a movement to destroy our country.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  89. NateFromIndiana

    Much as I think it's good to encourage young people to question authority, what Byron is promoting is revisionism. We study the mistakes of history to to avoid repeating them – rewriting history isn't helpful in that goal.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave in Indy

      Leave it to Hoosiers to be the voice of reason. Right on, Nate.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  90. Sharr

    Byron, my best to you, young man.
    You are an independent thinker.
    What a breath of fresh air.
    Amazing.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • RRWExpat

      Independent thinker? The kid is oblivious to the history of this country and the struggle of people–black and white–to overcome the divide caused by the Great Rebellion and the desire to enslave human beings. He should be ashamed to show his ignorance so visibly.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Norman

    I respect the kids vision and agree with him it is time to start putting this stuff behind us and be one....If the old racist genegration can't accept that, that is too bad....us young people will destroy your racism eventually. He completetly made sense when he stated more slavery occured under the traditional american flag and that ignorant people are the only ones that give meaning to these things. Byron, I am white and I am with you man...no colors just love...this is Dr. King's dream.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • RRWExpat

      I think Dr. King would NEVER hang a confederate flag in his window. He was a great man, a man of vision and conviction, and this young man goes against everything that Dr. King struggled and died for.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      . . . true, King believed in unity and equality between the races. But, King never flew the Confederate flag. He knew that it represented ideas that were in stark contradiction to integration.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Chiomzie

    This is a very interesting story.... On the one hand this black man embracing the confederate flag decreases the power it has as a racist symbol by those who mean to communicate racist messages by flying it. It also points out a bit of history that my generation either doesnt know or is completely blind to, which is that the origins of the confederate flag may not have initially stemmed from racism. On the other hand though... this guy's assertion that he has never experienced racism and that we should essentially forget the ill feelings of the past. To the former I say, ok if he says so, to the latter.... I hate to say this but sounds ignorant. I'm not saying people should live their day to day lives holding a grudge over things that have happened, but to forget would be the biggest crime, lest history repeat itself.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      He's 18. He hasn't experienced it YET. I hope he doesn't but he seems a little simple and may not recognize it if it hit him in the face. Let him go to a skinhead rally with his confederate flag. They would not call him n*gger before they would call him brother.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Roelof

    I think that kid is right. He takes the association with discrimination out of the flag. That's a good thing. By the way when black people are against slavery, they should take a look at what is still happening in Africa and Asia. Slavery is definitely a black thing. White people ended slavery 200 years ago. I call that lack of self reflection or self victimizing to blame white people of something. Pure racism.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chiomzie

      A dumb statement that I am too tired to fully respond to (and by fully respond I mean like five pages to undo the stupidity in your comment). Slavery, the way it was practiced during the slave trade is absolutely nothing compared to the 'slavery' you say still happens in Africa and Asia. For one, these African and Asian 'slaves' are not taken across a million miles, stacked like sardines, over ocean to a foreign land where they know nothing of the language, customs or even geography- and during which trip millions were thrown overboard because of sickness or lack of food or whatever. These 'slaves' were not then forced to live for generations in a land where they and their offspring were treated like third class citizens, denied access to adequate education, psychologically subjugated, demoralized and constantly harrassed by any tom dick or harry who sees it to his fancy to go kill or hurt a black person. You obviously have no idea what the scope of the Atlantic Slave trade is and its reverberations into the current day so you need to behave like a good, stupid person, and SHUT UP. If slavery is an "african' thing, then I guess it must be a trend that the west started.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • Roelof

        I think your mistaken. In India the slaves and their childs have to make bricks to pay of a endless "debt"', they don't even know how high that debt is. They keep on being slaves. It's also part of their caste system. Now the transport is a little bit different, but Indian are flown to the Middle East (Dubai) to do slave labour. A lot of the African slaves in the old days were bought from the African Kings and already were slaves. When you look at Iraq, they've got child slaves. When you look at Africa they still have slavery, also generations after become slaves. Actually the Arabs had 20 times more slavery than white people and they still not have ended it.

        December 5, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Melvin Ksuzak

    I support this young man's right to fly his flag. I also think he really needs to understand the lessons of history and that just because he has not experienced what others have does not make the symbol any less inflammatory. Cultural revisionism is alive and well in South Carolina. PS: I have only been to South Carolina once, was made to feel unwelcome in Charleston and have no desire to ever return.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Chris

    Why do we not disapprove of the US flag? The US flag wavers over the years have supported slavery (longer than the Confederates), Indian "relocation", hate against Chinese immigrants, and other atrocities. The US flag has a much more negative history than the Confederate flag ever did, yet you still wave it/fly it proudly?

    December 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  96. DooleyTex

    Handsome flag. Long may it fly.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  97. pizdechko

    I personally think some people display that banner just because it looks cool

    December 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  98. smart36

    He did his research? where in his research did it say that a confederate flag did not symbolize the ideas of the south including slavery? If he did his research, he would've also known that the flag was a symbol during the civil rights movement used by the whites to show their disapproval of equal rights. So how then, can this young man say he did his research and support what the flag stands for? Southern pride? it's ok to have pride in where you came from, where you grew up, but there are more proper ways to display that pride. A flag that was unfortunately used to symbolize many things including white supremacy is not the proper way to showcase that pride. You can't change the meaning of that flag or pick one meaning over another. It's like changing the meaning of a KKK hood, a swastika or a USSR flag. There are too many negative associations with the flag and out of respect to those who are negatively affected by it, it should not be displayed in your dorm room or back of a pick up truck. I'm all for honoring those who died during the civil war, for showing your southern pride, but i think there are other ways to do so without offending the people who suffered during the civil war and civil rights movements. You have the right to display the confederate flag, but you can't expect everyone to approve of it.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • daveyP

      This is wrong. You can't change the meaning of the flag? The meaning of the flag was changed to what you are claiming it stands for! That flag was not developed to represent people who support slavery and oppose civil rights, it was given that connotation, so what are you talking about? And a swastika is one of two things, either a nazi symbol or a hindu symbol, and it was a hindu symbol long before it represented the Nazis. So you going to tell hindu people not to use it any more? The Russian comment is just ridiculous...you need to get over that one...

      December 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • smart36

        So would you then hang up a flag with the symbol of a swastika on it because for the Hindu it stands for something completely different? and would you expect the majority of Americans to understand what that particular meaning that you are embracing is? would you then tell a Hindu man he isn't offending anyone with flying a swastika flag in Germany? unfortunately, the most commonly associated meaning for the swastika is hitler and what he stood for. We're in the U.S., we're discussing U.S. history and the meaning behind a flag that represents part of that history. And the confederate flag did stand for slavery since the South did not support the idea of slave-free new territories. They wanted to keep their rights to have slaves including in newly acquired territories. And i agree that the north was not entirely blameless in the whole slavery issue, but the bottom line is, the confederate flag does represent a not so flattering part of American history and that's something you can't change. That's why people are offended by the flag and that's why i don't agree with the way this young man is displaying it.

        December 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • One Day

      ...US education system?

      December 5, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • on God's side

      This Kid has to be failing History Class.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bernard

      The Civil War, despite some liberal teachings, was not primarily about slavery. It was about the conflict between agricultural economies versus the growing concept of an industrial economy. An agricultural based one ensured prosperity for the south, whereas industry was a northern thing. Slavery was an aspect of this economy.

      If Lincoln cared about the slaves, the Emancipation proclamation would have freed all slaves: it didn't. It ignored non-confederate states. Missouri still had slaves until the 13th Amendment Passed after the war. If the North cared about the rights of blacks one of the conditions of reconstruction would have been the equivalent of the civil rights amendment. Nearly everyone who wasn't a Quaker was racist against blacks, and the north was partially jealous of the South having the advantages of free labor.

      Let us not forget that if Lincoln wasn't successful in reconstruction, he would have went down in history with the likes of Nixon for gross constitutional violations.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Just saying

    I suppose somewhere there is a Jewish kid who flies the Nazi flag because he doesn't see it as a flag that represented a regime drenched in the blood of genocide; rather, he sees a flag that represents unity and brilliance. He views the flag as a statement of power and going after your dreams. Lets let this kid hang his flag or wear a tee if it pleases him to do so. What would we say to this guy?
    I'm black, from the south and proud of it. I have friends of all races but lets not fool ourselfs. That flag has history. We shouldn't live in the past but we should not forget it either. Respect the flag as history but leave it there.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven H

      Well said.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Agreed

      Well said. This kid said "I've never experienced racism." Brother, as tann as you are, keep right on living and you'll experience plenty. Expect it from the police, the judge, employers, and your peers.

      This is actually a pretty sad story.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • rkt210

        If you are predisposed to look for racism, you'll find it. Kudos to this kid for not propping himself up with that crutch.

        December 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • A true American

        You will experience racism if you are looking for it. Move on! The past is the past. This young man's message is to tell you that the black and white racism needs to cease! This young man is right, HE IS DIFFERENT, we live in the United States of America where we can be DIFFERENT if we want!

        December 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave in Indy

      ... wouldn't have posted anything else if I'd read this one first. Captured what I hope is the prevailing opinion of the country.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
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