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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. bobby

    The North had more slaves and sold slaves to the south. The civil war wasn't over slavery. The northern rebels invaded charleston sc in 1861 April 14th and the south had to protect its territory. The north started the war for power of the south. Jefferson davis president of the southern states never signed surrender papers so legally it was not over. The reason it stopped eventually was because the south ran out of soldiers. And with that forever will this quote live. Long live the south and "The South will rise again"!..

    December 5, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      And you obviously flunked American History!!!! The Civil War was about states rights vs federal rights because the states didn't agree with each other over the issue of slavery. The war was 100% about slavery!!! Also on April 12, 1861 Confederate batteries opened fire on the Federal Fort Sumter. This could never be confused for an invasion!!! Spend a little more time in the classroom.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • jh

        Actually in the beginning of the war it was not about slavery at all. It was about keeping the union together and then later it became about slavery. I am a undergraduate and just got done studying the civil war.

        December 6, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      You've got to be kidding me. I can't believe people are still trying to rationalize losing the civil war and making up nonsense about Northern Rebels. Here's a news flash. The South wanted states rights so they could keep their slaves among other things. Who cares if Jefferson Davis signed any papers or not. They were beaten and their armies DEFEATED. The south will rise again? What are they rising up against? Are you treated differently than those in other parts of the country? I've lived in the South my whole life and it's uneducated rednecks like you who give us all a bad name. Wake up man. Quit spewing your Daddies and granddaddies garbage and start figuring things out for yourself.

      On a brighter note and speaking to the rest of the readers, I was very inspired by this article and think the young man has a lot of insight. I don't have any issues with him or anyone else displaying the Confederate flag. We don't have to hold on to the hatred and hurts of past generations. We live in a world where people are looking for an excuse to get offended by things and this was a real breath of fresh air. What an inspiration.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      The war was STARTED not because of an argument about slavery in the southern states, but rather whether slavery would be extended to the new states that were being formed in the west (Kansas, etc.). The south wanted the new states to be slave states (with the associated cheap labor), while the north wanted their citizens to be able to occupy the new states and compete on an equal basis for work. The war BECAME about slavery in the south once the North decided that it wanted to win, and once Lincoln had signed the Emancipation proclamation. Oddly enough, once the southern states had seceded, they didn't have a say anymore in the disposition of the new states, since those would presumably belong to the USA. Even if the south had won, more wars probably would have followed to determine the fate of Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, etc.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  2. RAYINNJ

    Seems most folks on this issue have it wrong thinking blacks hate this treasonous flag because of "slavery"! Like most things not understood about us – WRONG! It's more about what happened AFTER slavery ended that defined this flag! KKK, Jim Crow, White Citizens Council, discriminatory practices carried out in the name of "States rights"! This boy is an idiot! I understand his premise, but he's still an idiot since he apparently doesn't know his own history – he doesn't understand the humiliation and lynchings all under this flag! To follow his and so many others' logic, guess you all have NO problem with a young jewish boy saying the exact same words about the Swastika flag! Guess if a young German teenager, for that matter, wants to "honor Germany's heritage" and display the Swastika proudly – you'd have no problem is his verbiage is about "healing"! Pure nonsense!

    December 5, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • GG

      you must have missed where he said "the KKK gave that flag a bad name".

      This kid is a lot smarter than you are giving him credit for. He knows the history and refers to the previous generation and the things they endured many times, even saying he respects what his elders had to go through during the civil rights era. His point is that he believes it's time to move past that and look forward toward a more unified country with fewer racial dividing lines.

      Frankly that's a very hopeful message, and he should be supported for his optimism and forward thinking.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • RAYINNJ

        I didn't miss a thing. There's no problem with a desire to move on, we ALL do – but not in THIS way! Sadly, there are currently too many reminders of this horrid past (i.e, interracial marriage ban in a church, of all places and much more). When "racism" is a thing of the past – TRULY a thing of the past – we all can move on. lFirst and foremost, some people need to stop trying to tell US what we should not be upset about, what WE need to get over! How DARE you! BTW – Seems you missed my point about the Nazi flag since you make no analogy or comment!

        December 5, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheMHead

      Well actually it would be alot like the swastika. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika. It has been used in almost every part of the world to represent many things. I like this young man's veiw.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. js006

    Thanks for speaking up Byron. dkwood2 got the point of what Byron has brought up, while most of the other people commenting have closed themselves off to any sort of "truth". I'm not much older than Byron but he will soon learned as I did that people seem to get confused when you bring up the truth. Don't confuse these folks with the facts.
    PROUD AMERICAN – go read some books and look into the truth about the civil war. Everyone is taught in school that the civil war was fought because of slavery. Yes that was part of it but that is just scratching the surface... go learn something.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laney1025

      Just goes to show you that some people actually look at the big picture and not just squint at it. It's just a flag. It doesn't represent slavery, it doesn't represent people who are bad. Maybe in the past and maybe now some ignorant fool tries to make his banner of racism. But it's just a flag. Southerners are just as proud to be southern as any other part of the country. Unfortunately, because so many have put a taboo on that flag, we can't have it. I respect this young man more than he'll ever know. Thank you for standing your ground! You are a true southerner and a true gentleman. Let's hope the jerks of the world don't taint your point with their lies and bigotry.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Josh

    Wow! Just Wow! Finally. And Yes I'm super proud to say that this young man is my brother in arms.That flag Good or Bad is a major part of american history and should be flown with American pride just like the Stars and Stripes.

    That flag Represents the whole south of our country (America) and should be respected at least for the men and boy's who lost there lives in our Civil War God bless there souls north and south.

    Way to go man! just being you is just fine and I wouldn't change a thing:)

    December 5, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • RAYINNJ

      Hmmm...if Germans wanted to do the same thing in their country in regards to THEIR history with Hitler & the Swastika – would you say the same, feel the same – would the WORLD feel the same?! You LOGIC is the same....! "Treason" should NEVER be honored! It as Lincoln in his effor to "heal" the nation at that difficult timewho tolerated this flag and who didn't hang the treacherous leaders of the Confederacy that gave rise to such romantic notions of "chivalry" and 'states rights". That doesn't lessen what it represents to so many OTHER Americans – hate and treason!

      December 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • balls

      I will hang up a Nazi flag, because after all, I wasn't into the whole jew killing, but more about the spirit of being the most powerful country in the world.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jay_low

    I think this young man is far ahead of a large majority of our youth today, simply because he holds an individual opinion. Though I do not agree with his comments supporting the reason to display the flag. I understand his logic. I understand as he described the flag being an issue because america wanting us to see it as an issue, not because it represents the south. It represented a negative south, so negative that I grind my teeth and think about where I put my piece when I see it displayed. Do I just hate what I dont understand? I think not. Someone stated slavery been over, move on black people. Blacks owned slaves too, and whites where slaves, just a special kind that worked for there freedom. 2011, a long time after slavery but yet so close to still living it. Now the rich own us, slaves to our jobs, that pay $10 per hour to pay the partial owner to live in his house, and never afford to live on our own without assistance from another being. Yes income levels are rising among the poor but not as fast as inflation.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John W

    I fully agree that we must stop the cycle of racism handed from parent to child because it once was a reality. Slavery was a horrible mistake and we have made appropriate corrections to ensure it never happens again in this country. Pride in ones State history should not be defined by those that misrepresent our values as a whole, but by those that wish to remmeber the universal values that represent America at it's best. I say Ma'am and Sir to those who are younger than me from a sense of Southern pride and respect for myself and others. Racism will only grow if we feed it, ignorence must end.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeremy

    Why can't he be proud of his states history? Cause he's a black american? How racist! Do you know THOUSANDS of black americans wanted to join the ranks of the confederacy only to be turned away. Why you blacks want to fight for the south you ask? Cause they believed what the common soldier believed, fighting against an invader! Thousands of blacks did end up willingly in the confederate ranks.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • RAYINNJ

      And thousands of others were FORCED, coerced, sold, and told they'd "win" their freedom if they just fought for down-homey by their masters! They were told that the Union soldiers were monsters who would skin them alive, eat them, do all sorts of nonsense and propaganda. Some, like this foolish young man, just wanted to garner favor and acceptance by the 'majority'! He's watched way too many Herman Cain speeches!

      December 5, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ann23

        Who exactly is the majority in your opinion? Whites? I, as a white person, cringe at that flag because of the negative connotations that it CAN convey on the other hand, although I don't entirely agree with his opinion- I respect it, because it at least has some out of the box thinking behind it- unlike people like you who call anyone not falling in line with their culture or race thinking as trying to cater to others. Sounds like you are the one with the racism issues.

        December 5, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • RAYINNJ

        @Ann23 – and it's people like YOU who are so quick to "praise" anyone of 'color' who says the words YOU'd like to say, but don't honor or respect another opinion or viewpoint different than your own! I'm not a racist, just a realist! Tell me where anything I said was incorrect! Dispute the 'facts', not just what you don't like to hear! YOU can stick your head in the sand if you want, that's your choice. But do NOT try to tell me (us) what WE (yes, "blacks") should be upset about! I agree the boy absolutely has the right to display the rebel flag if he chooses – but he and YOU must accept that it has repercussions – one if which is stern, honest, criticisms to the opposite!

        December 6, 2011 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
    • HP

      Jeremy please try get some education on history before you use words like thousands of African Americans fighting invaders. It will help your life.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. vahellbilly

    the thing that kills me with the whole CSA/Confederate flag/slave issue is this... Slavery enjoyed 80+ yrs of free reign under the... US GOVERNMENT and the... US FLAG. You want racism and a banner to point at? I hate saying it but more slaves and native Americans perished under the stars and stripes than the stars and bars.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ab1234

    There were 4 slaveholding states that fought for the ,orth. The emancipation proclamation only freed slaves in "rebelling" states. The last states to free slaves were states that fought for the North...look it up...

    December 5, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeremy

    Here is what people need to look at. What does the flag mean now? It WAS a battle flag that ment nothing more or less in 1863. In 2011 everyone has their own opinion. Do I believe its racist? Hell no. That would be ignorant. I'm not a southerner but I know what it means. To me and I believe MOST southerners believe it honors the 100's of thousands of southerners who died in the civil war. Even if the southern govt was wrong the soldiers did not fight for wealthy slave owners to keep their slaves, they fought for their states, lands & homes. Would you dishonor todays troops because our govt went to war with other countries for oil? This kid knows what he's talking about so keep racism out of it. Its about pride, just what he said.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • scott

      god bless you byron thomas. because a bunch of stupid people use the flag for what they believe does not make a symbol of hate.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. gonaive

    Personally I have always felt that the many Southerners who chose to remain loyal to the Union and counseled the South against secession ( Sam Houston for example) are the true heros of the south because they chose, against all pressures, to champion the true meaning of the Declaration of Independence.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Proud American

    If Byron Thomas was really proud to be an American, I would think he would fly the US Flag or a State Flag. Flags representing the Confederate States, their armies, etc, represent the failed rebellion of a group that did not want to be part of the Union. Flying one would then indicate that Byron Thomas does not support or want to be a part of the US. Calling these flags "Southern Pride" would be like a German flying a Nazi flag and calling it "German Pride." This forum is not large enough to get into all the reasons for the Civil War, but I will ask just one question: If slavery did not exist in the US would the Civil War have been fought? If so, why?

    December 5, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Proud American

      P.S. He can certainly display any flag he wants to and I will fight for his right to do, but I also have a right to criticize him for it, and I would like an explanation that actually makes sense.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • vahellbilly

      Banners, flags and symbols are all open to interpretation my friend. I am sure Native America just loves to see the stars and stripes fly, the flag that Andrew Jackson (and the like) flew while butchering their ancestors.

      The US is not immune to committing evil acts either.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • nyckid

      To Proud American, ABSOLUTELY. WHAT AN INSANE THING!!! THE SOUTH ARE NOT ANY DIFFERENT TODAY PEOPLE!!! Very much anti-American still to this day... The South remains very, very racist... Pathetic and sad, mostly supposed Christians as they lay claim to be...

      December 5, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chad Lyon

      If he was attending Ole Miss and decided to fly the "State Flag" he would be flying the Confederate Flag. The "Stars and Bars" are inset within the Mississippi state flag. So I believe your point is moot sir. And your question of hypotheticals "If slavery did not exist in the US would the Civil War have been fought? " leads us down a path with no real answers and subsequently nonsensical chatter!

      December 6, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. blkpplrule

    I want to forget about the past and move forward into a world without hatred or bigotry. How do I accomplish this you ask? I do it by hanging up a swastika and pics of Hitler from my dorm room and tell people that because I was not one of the 6 million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and racism are over and we should come together and just forget about everything that happened in the past..Now there's an idea that truly makes sense (I'm being sarcastic btw).

    December 5, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dirty Sancheez

    The way I see it, your flag is the last one you hold up. The last flag held up by the Confederacy was all white. It would be more accurate to hang up a bed sheet.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roger Harrison

      Lol I do agree..

      December 6, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  15. Chris

    Youth, God bless them! He is a young man who is blessed with great courage but little life experience. I would like to have a conversation with him in about twenty years or so.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  16. dkwood2

    I appreciated the article much more than the comments by most people. Yes he's young, but he seems to have a great concept of "American". I realize one doesn't usually get the complete story from the media, but this kid sounds like he has his priorities correct. Citizens are AMERICANS, period. color and/or ancestry and/or creed need not be added.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  17. vs101

    It is not wisdom but ignorance that is being expressed. If "states rights" at the time of the civil war had triumphed or the South had won, he would still have a "master" directing him to be an obedient servant. He is manipulating the conservative base's need to see their ancestors as simply simple folk wanting to be let alone by the big bad government, while conveniently glossing over the inconvenient truth of slavery. He is eager to seek the limelight and is following on the footsteps of Mr. Cain. I suspect that he will be the next T party favorite and will probably stand for some political seat in the near future

    December 5, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  18. blkpplrule

    I feel sorry for this poor boy. Not only is he self-centered by ignoring the last 400 years of history that his forefathers and grandaparents (and probably his own mother and father) have endured, but he's basing his rationale off of the fact that he hasn't experienced racism himself. So because you haven't experienced it, that means it doesn't exist??? That is an illogical argument! He also is putting himself at a disadvantage because whenever he does experience racism, he'll be too naive to see it for what it is and will most likely internalize it in a negative way versus perceiving it for what it really is...So in the end, if you want to help bring people together, don't put up a flag that has and always will stand for hatred and slavery...

    December 5, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • krautmick1922

      I fly a Union Jack every fourth of July, why? Cause I can....haha my right and I find it ironic everyone is missing the point of * the lads* right to fly/hang said flag. You people are all jumping on other points and twisting eachfor your own agenda or beliefs. Hell facts/statistics can always be manipulated to suit your argument. Again my point and the main thing I see is possible violation of his first amendment rights ..yet no one is talking about that at all............imagine that. Smegheads, the whole lot.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  19. Big Fish

    "I just don't see racism. I see pride, respect. Southern pride, that's what I see." ...and he is correct. What I find hilarious is that the folks that fight (ADL, SPLC, etc.) against the flag are the same folks back in the day who were instrumental in the war, on the Southern side. They were the among the plantation owners, wealthy class, and high level politicians. Look-up Judah Benjamin. And like usual, fled the South to Europe when Confeds lost.
    History is interesting when facts flow to the surface. We should learn from past mistakes.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  20. jwh

    I fully support this kid. He is a very smart individual. The south may have a few problems, but they have the best hospitality in the country, the best manners, and for the most part, they actually have respect for the older ones. So all of you ignorant white people ( I'm white my self) that are to stuck on stupid, you need to grow up and think more about pride on where you are from, and not so much on the racism. Some of the whites in America make me feel ashamed to be of the same race. Because, they are so ignorant and trying to act like a bad a$$ and gang up on ONE person. I bet if just one of you had the balls to stand up to somebody with out your little butt buddys, you would get your face beat in. I'm tired of the jack asses that we live with nowadays. Grow up and quit living in the past.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • sleepytime

      Are you kidding? The south has some of the WORST hospitality in the country. Being fake and intrusive isn't good manners, it's annoying. If you want actual friendly, hospitable people go visit the upper midwest.

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

      One shouldn't have pride in ones section, but in their country. I have pride in my country not my affiliations. And you are being very stereotypical. I respect my elders and am friendly to those who who are friendly to me. And I am from the North. Gain some national pride.

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

    "I see some freedom when the south secceded from the north". Ironic because a secondary reason why they secceded fron the north is to make sure you were'nt free. And then they tried to make African Americans fight for them too...

    December 5, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • amaizenblue

      *weren't

      December 5, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Lynn

    He is so ignorant to his history that it is embarassing. The confedercy fought for a State's right to keep slaves. Yes, there were other reasons but you can't ignore that part. It is unforutnate that his parents failed to teach him the whole history. He sounds ridiculous. Recognizing your ethnicity does not make you less American, and African Americans remembering the struggle of our ancestors does not mean that we are still angry about slavery. It means we don't forget those who suffered so we wouldn't have to. I would never dishonor their memory and struggle by flying the symbol of their oppressors. And just because you can legally do something does not mean that it is morally right.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      You are wrong.Research your history.You only know what's been parroted to you in the liberal politically infested public schools.You can't see past your own prejudices.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Plug1

    The Klan, would not like him waving that stinking flag around.He must have fell and hit his damn head...

    December 5, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Ryan Mann

    I think this guy is a genius. I completely agree with his analysis of being called an African-American. I've always wondered why that is the political correct term when it segregates them from everyone else. I believe in being proud of your race and nationality but hey were all Americans, were all people, it doesn't matter what we look like its what we believe in as Americans. Good on him!

    December 5, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan Mann

      ps. go states rights!

      December 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  25. robin

    wisdom at such a young age is rare and beautiful. this young man is living proof of dr. king's dream coming to fruition.

    December 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norman

      I agree, I watched one of Dr. King's speeches today and I like what this kid is saying.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • vs101

      It is not wisdom but ignorance that is being expressed. If "states rights" at the time of the civil war had triumphed or the South had won, he would still have a "master" directing him to be an obedient servant. He is manipulating the concervative base's need to see their ancestors as simply simple folk wanting to be let alone by the big bad government, while conveniently glossing over the inconvenient truth of slavery. He is eager to seek the limelight and is following on the footsteps of Mr. Cain. I suspect that he will be the next T party favorite and will probably stand for some political seat in the near future.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  26. mike thomas

    i bet 10,000 people are looking up the confederate flag on wikipedia right now. excellent way to get people READING!!

    December 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  27. sleepytime

    Well I certainly support this kid's right to free speech, but that doesn't mean he isn't still an idiot.

    December 5, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      Well Said.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  28. yepyep6598

    slavery is over PERIOD. MOVE FORWARD BLACK PEOPLE.

    December 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norman

      that in itself is racist...so there some crazy white and black folk out there...I am better than them you probably are too...this kid is saying don't join them and I am with him.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  29. us1776

    Byron, you are an idiot.

    There are many other ways to show southern pride without displaying one of the most recognized symbols of racism.

    .

    December 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norman

      If more people saw this flag in a manner not depicting racism this world would be better off. I hope all black people get a rebel flag and ruin the old image!

      December 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  30. yepyep6598

    im a 47 year old blackman it doesnt bother me those race baiters and their kids need to concentrate more on stopping black on black crime, poverty in our communities, and education instead of worrying about a flag.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  31. LouieD

    So the kid studied up on the flag and wants to celebrate its true meaning. Good for him. Except I don't get why slavery, treason, and defeat are honorable concepts, worth celebrating.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • sleepytime

      Haha, exactly right!

      December 5, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norman

      thats obviously not what he is celebrating...you racist people can keep trying but he will never see you he is on a different level you won't understand

      December 5, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  32. yepyep6598

    why not get rid of all flags each state in the union was involved in slavery the north was no different blacks met the same hatred in the north. so why do you yankees think the north was any better, in fact Martin Luther King said that there was worst racism in the north than the south in some areas. get off the soapbox.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Duane - St.Pete FL

    he's an American......not an African American......your a close minded liberal who bashs anyone who dares disagrees with whatever you feel is the truth.....I thought you libs were open minded?

    December 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Martina

      While I don't agree with the poster you replied to, I wanted to remind you that liberals (like myself) are not closed minded. I've run across more closed-minded conservatives than I have liberals, but neither conservatives nor liberals are closed minded. There are PEOPLE who are closed-minded, not categories.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Les

      Sorry to burst your bubble, Duane. Librerals are not the ones that call people Afro-American, blacks or "colored" folks.

      It is solely the conservative right wing radical evangelicals who are responsible for keeping this country divided over such ridiculous things such as race and and religion. It is they who have created today's racial problems and it is they that continue to push for the eradication of any religion that doesn't include Jesus in the festivities.

      I think a little research into the political meanings of "liberal" and "conservative" would benefit your political perspective.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  34. M in Oz

    People and their symbols 😀

    December 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Duane - St.Pete FL

    instead of listening to chowderheads around you, you would be much better off reading history yourself and understanding what your talking about.......slavery was an issue, but not the arson for the war. the truth will set you free.......don't be afraid of it.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  36. rep

    I respect anyone's right to fly that flag. I do think it shows a great deal of insensitivity to do so, so I would not support any public funds being used to do it.

    For me there's little difference between that and someone flying a swastika and claiming it represents German pride and independence. Sure, it might do just that for a few folks, but to not acknowledge that others feel strongly that it does not is extremely insensitive. And anyone that does should be prepared for the inevitable backlash if/when you do. That backlash, too, should be accepted without complaint.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • yepyep6598

      be careful the person you backlash towards might be prepared which can lead to the the person lashing their demise. here in texas it wouldnt be advisable.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • ArmyCSM

        Dude, you have a big mouth that write checks your A$$ cannot cash. You have a right to your opinion but suspense with the subtle threats. I assure you; they won't go very far.

        December 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • sleepytime

        yepyep6598 is just another Texan making Texas look bad. Surprise, surprise.

        December 5, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Just an American

    I could argue the causes of "The War Between the States" or the symbolism of the flags but enough people are doing that. All of them with some degree of bias. What I wish everyone would take note of is that this young man wants to known as an "American" NOT an "African-American". This country has started to encourage divisiveness by using labels that separate people. My great-grand parents were born in England and emigrated to the US just before 1900 but I don't consider myself an "Anglo-American". This is the United States of America. It's citizens are Americans our language is (American) English. We need to come together not separate into racial or national groups. Taking pride in your roots and the cultures that have made this country the amazing place it is, is wonderful, but become inclusive and teach your heritage to your neighbors and learn theirs from them as well.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duane - St.Pete FL

      yeah, sorry....that will not work. the liberals want and need to keep reminding the blacks in this country how sorry the feel for them and how really really bad we Americans are and have been. it helps keep the black vote under the ruse that they will " help " blacks over come. hahahahaha

      December 5, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Les

      If only the average American had the intelligence to practice the wisdom in your post. I have been calling myself an American my whole life. I never thought of myself as an Anglo-German American. Americans are Americans period and there is no need to use a dozen racially charged names to say that.

      Alas, it is not the nature of most "Americans" to live and let live. And few understand what being an "American" is remotely about. Therein lies our destruction.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  38. iTeach

    I totally love this young man! I am so proud of his free thinking. I know this young man has had some great teachers.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Bill

    This kid is a dope – I think his education system failed him. There is no reason for this flag in the United States of America – USA USA USA not this garbage

    December 5, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duane - St.Pete FL

      spoken like a true liberal....agree with me or your an idiot.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • yepyep6598

      Im a damn black rebel if he wants to fly that flag he can.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Barb

    Since you all seem to be so against people making money off cheap labor, all the American companies who outsource our jobs to countries with people who will work for "slave wages" (pun intended), should not be allowed to fly the American Flag. Nor should they be allowed to keep their companies in America to receive all the benefits and tax breaks they get. And once they've been banned from the country, their goods should be banned for import. Slavery was and is ripe across the world. I agree with this wonderfully open minded young man. Get over it. That wad in the past. How about we focus on the present and the future.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michigan

      Wow that is extremely incorrect statement. We are a capitalist society! We buy products from countries that will sell it to us at the lowest price. Please name a country in which slavery is legal again. If the United States followed your plan then you would be working in an awful factory for very low wages. We owe our economic success to those workers so don't complain about our economic policy.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • George Purvuis

        China. Their workers are little more than slaves.

        August 9, 2012 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
  41. California

    This kid knows his history more than 99.999% of Americans. Good for him and keep it up as a proud Confederate opposed to federal tyranny.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • KC and jojo

      Lol! That's good foreign propaganda!

      December 5, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duane - St.Pete FL

      you are correct....and so is this brave smart young man.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michigan

      That is an untrue statement as he does not show a clear understanding of history. There is a reason why people become upset about a Confederate flag. It does not symbolize state's rights, it represents a dark time in the United States where one population was specifically targeted for over a century. If he really knew his history then he would understand the atrocities committed against African Americans by the Confederacy. He says South Carolina knows him best well apparently not because 50 years ago South Carolina would not even acknowledge his existence. There is no pride associated with the Confederacy, it has been almost 150 years since their defeat so let it go!

      December 5, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Heretic

    Slavery was a sensationalistic issue used to inflame the masses in the North. It was pretty much a non-issue among those in power. It had a lot more to do with resources, money, and taxation (namely tariffs) The more populous North with it's industrial concerns made it prohibitively expensive for the agrarian South to ship it's goods overseas and force them to sell at a lower profit to the North.

    In other words, some of the richest families in the world were going to wind up somewhat less rich so some other rich people could get richer so a lot of poor people died.

    Slavery had precious little to do with it.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  43. James

    Please note that the flag in the background is not the "Confederate Flag" it is not the "Stars and Bars," it is a representation of the "Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia." The original battle flag would have been square with the blue x on the red background. The "Stars and Bars" was the first national flag of the Confederacy. It looked very similar to the first flag of the USA with a circle of white stars on a blue field with two red stripes and one white stripe. The blue cross and white stars did appear on the second and third flags of the Confederacy but only in the upper left corner.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • LJ Burgess

      Good lord! Someone that knows their history has finally arrived and commented. God bless you young fella.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  44. outawork

    Mr. Thomas in 16 years please run for President. You have my vote.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  45. albro

    Interesting: If a Caucasian-American does the same thing he's instantaneously guilty of racism. A black man in this situation, however is honored for his "courage" and given international publicity.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heretic

      It is interesting. The Confederate flag is known in popular culture as a "white" symbol so for a black man to fly it, it's newsworthy. There is nothing newsworthy in some white person flying the Confederate Battle Flag.

      "Breaking News! This just in! A white person in the South has been spotted displaying the Confederate Flag. In other news water is wet and the sky is blue."

      I also think that it is interesting that for all of the interesting timely points about states rights all you came away with is a white martyrdom complex and I'm pretty sure you had that when you started reading the article.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
      • Yosemite

        Heretic, I completely agree with you.

        December 5, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • kastaway

        awesome analysis! thanks

        December 5, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • ABc

      I agree...

      December 5, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  46. mommers

    It's amazing what black students can get away with. A white student would have been crucified.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  47. tamara reina

    Totally need to know history

    December 5, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Heretic

    I see his point. The Civil war really wasn't over slavery. State's rights is an interesting and complicated topic and I certainly respect his views although I don't necessarily agree.

    As far as the southern flag goes, I have a few reservations. Yes, he has the right to fly it if he chooses but he needs to realize that symbols are living dynamic things. Just because the Confederate battle flag did not originally stand for racism does not mean that it does not stand for it now. Take the swastika for example. That symbol has a long long long history standing for mostly good things but was co-opted in recent memory by the Nazi party. It's original meaning has been superceded by all that it is currently known for.

    The confederate battle flag has been the banner for many groups that embody all that is bad about the South and have changed it's meaning if not forever, for quite some time.

    The young man in question needs focus less on what was and more on what is. If he really wants progress and change and a new future for the region then he and others need to abandon the old symbols of the old south and look forward, not back.

    Ditch the old battle flag and move on. Fly the Stars and Stripes instead.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      As long as you cannot display that flag, it has power. If a black student can fly it, then those that use it as a symbol of hatred start to be defanged. It should be a historical curio, not worth all this angst.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Hey look

    We have a new Republican frontrunner!

    December 5, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Honohioan

    God bless this Man. Finally somebody who understands what the Confederate flag stands for and CNN can't make it a racial issue.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • LouieD

      Don't worry; Faux will!

      December 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • sleepytime

      The confederate flag at it's most fundamental stands for one thing: treason.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bill

        That flag stood for TREASON and hatred of the USA. I just can't stand seeing that flag bandied about about by people who then say stuff like "America, love it or leave it." The originators of that flag were trying to destroy the United States by taking up arms against her, the very definition of treason. History, yes, heritage, yes, but not history or heritage to be proud of. If you agree with what that flag stands for, you are NOT a patriotic American. You are a traitor, or at least a traitor sympathizer.

        December 5, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Beagles NC

    I moved from the North to South in the 70's. Where there was no black's at all to where the black's out number the white's. And what I observered over the years was there is alot more hate toward the white's than the white's show the black's. Now I have alot of white friends and alot of black friends. They all come to my house and we all eat at the same table. And we have had some discussions about this over the years. And most agree, black and white. That the people who want to hold on to this hatdred (Black and White) are looking for some one to blame for things goine wrong in there own life's. Martin King stated "he had a dream". But until hatred on both side's stop's, that dream will never be reached. This young man is a promise for all our future. Instead of seeing the class half empty, He see's the glass half full. Something that seems to be forgotten is all the thousands of white soldiers that died during the War to set the slaves free. Also there were a small percentage of Black slave owners in the South as well.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leslie

      Best comment I've read!

      December 5, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • just fyi

      Hey I agree with your comment, but for your information, having an "s" on the end of a word does not automatically make that word eligible for an apostrophe.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • yepyep6598

        you finally grasp the english language. bueno

        December 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • Shelley

        'Alot' is also not a word.

        December 5, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yosemite

      Wow, this is the best comment by far on this article. Thank you.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • yepyep6598

      im a african-american i agree wholeheartedly

      December 5, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Rick

    This guy should be President.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  53. tiff

    Somebody needs to let him know,if the people who made,flew,and represented that flag had it THEIR WAY.....he wouldnt even be able to hang that same flag in HIS dorm room........hhe would be hanging it in his MASTERS dorm room(if that university allowed BLACKS!!!)

    December 5, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Purvis

      There were free balcks in the South before the war, yet the Northern Black codes keep them out of states like Illinois!!!!

      August 10, 2012 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
  54. Bobby

    I.agree. He has no right to make a change without yhe black community approval. How dare he not be a libetal and force people to relive tragic historical events every generation. He better be careful. He may end up rich, conservative, and treated like herman cain.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • yepyep6598

      love your comment

      December 5, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  55. RolloJohnson

    I sense a publicity stunt.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Amanda

    Oh yeah, the southern states did such a great job with their people. If the Federal government, that he thinks so little of, had NOT intervened then he wouldn't have the right to go to University of South Carolina or most other schools. Or the right to say what he wanted, the right to sit where he wanted, the right to eat at the restaurant he wanted, the right to marry a woman of the skin tone of his choosing, and the right to vote. Not to mention any of the other freedoms that were restricted or removed under Jim Crow.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • yepyep6598

      here is a history lesson far you: President Lincoln who was a repub and the republican congress signed and enacted the Emancipation Prooclamation. John F Kennedey would not sign the Civil Rights Bill and alot of historians have said, if he had lived he still wouldnt have signed it. The Dixiecrats were part of the Democratic party that kept Jim Crow enforced, Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Bill and again the Republican Party enacted it. But the liberals will never tell you that especially in elementary, middle school, highschool, and collge. Search for the truth for yourself.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • yepyep6598

      By the way LBJ was a repub. If kennedy had been living we probably wouldnt have seen Civil Right more than likely late in the 1970s. Think about it black people in the 1970s would have been still getting lynched.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • sleepytime

        LBJ was a democrat. Again, please get your facts straight.

        December 5, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • sleepytime

      yepyep6598: Please get your facts straight. JFK is the one who initially called for the Civil Rights Act. The only reason he never signed it was because he was killed before he had a chance to.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  57. RAD

    I see so many comments from those who want to lecture this young man about he should believe about the flag and about what the flag "really means." The flag was originally simply the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. It did not have a political purpose at the time beyond that. It was never the national flag of the Confederate States of America. Over time, the flag has come to mean different things to those who want to associate it with a political position. It has been used by racists and it has also been intended to represent southern heritage. I think most Southeners hold the latter view. In any case, it is refreshing that this student is able to view the flag from an independent perspective even though it may annoy those who reserve for themselvems the right of interpetation. That he doesn't take the position expected of someone of his race is an sign that we may be moving away from race-based views.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rach

      ummmm "most southerners hold that view". i lived in texas and i've lived in mississippi. the flag is offensive and you dont speak for majority of southerners not have a logical reason why u think we would hold such a view today. you dont live in the south so stop saying what you think we believe. its offensive, plenty know that and there is a reason why usually those displaying the flag are white ppl and dont care about the negative connotations about the flag. the dude here is ignorant and wants to hold on to a little bit of what he think is good about the flag. history speaks for itself though. the confederate flag represented the wrong side of history and still does. no amount of apologetics from you nor him will change that. given that its his right to freedom of speech to defend and display that flag and we have the right of freedom of speech to criticize him.

      December 5, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • George Purvis

        The falg is only offensive to those who have a lack of knowledge about history. Those old woman tales don;t tell thew true history of the flag. Oh yeah I live in Mississippi too, remember what happened on the Mississippi flag vote????

        August 10, 2012 at 5:58 am | Report abuse |
  58. Branson

    ok

    December 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Derrick, Atlanta

    I wouldn't be proud of the south even if it didn't have a racist history. It has some of the highest poverty rates and illiteracy rates in the country and not to mention poor health standards. Fix these problems and then you can be proud of your region. In fact, maybe you should only show pride for what you accomplish yourself, there's an idea.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • lgc

      its amazing to me that no one really knows any of the actual history of the civil war, the first slaves were indians and white ppl from great britain that had been banished for crimes...now civil war history concerning african americans..first thing...the first actual slave trader was a black man.second... the chief of the villages sold their own ppl for goods...third..after being freed a lot of slaves stayed on their plantations as tenant farmers...fourth, pres. lincolns intention was to colonize all of the slave on an island somewhere around the bahamas and lastly and most importantly if the black ppl that are in this country were still in africa most would be dying from poverty starvation and or the aids epidemic..i think u all should be happy with the way things turned out, looks to me like u are way better off than u would a been..

      December 5, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • yepyep6598

        its all in God's plan

        December 5, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • I am just saying....

        How insensitive! I wonder if you would feel the same way if your ancestors were raped, murdered, mutilated, kidnapped, sold, degraded, and imprisoned multiple times over multiple generations.

        December 5, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • yepyep6598

      Go to the northeast if you think that is true and you will come back with a different opinion.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Waleed

    I have been trying to post quotes from Jefferson Davis, but I have been prevented for some reason by this website. That is interesting because Jefferson Davis spelled out in black in white exactly what he was fighting for. It is not hatred for the South to state a fact. The fact is, if you read the writings of any confederate, like Davis, they talked a lot about how they would leave the union because the north was trying to end slavery. Please, do not take my word for it, google Jefferson Davis quotes and read his words. I am so sick of revisionist history that tries to change the meaning of the war. Just because you call a bear a cat, does not make him a good pet. Similarly, if you say the war was only about "states rights", it doesn't mean slavery was not the main component. Even a little simple history reading of any confederate papers will make it very evident about what caused this war. So, even though I can't post his writings for some reason, simply google the confederacy president's words and you will find all of his speeches which always railed against the north's intrusion on the south's rights to own slave. Pretty "black and white" to me.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • smitvict

      You should read the quotes on the Lincoln memorial. As should many who posted on this column. Lincoln did not fight the war to end slavery, either. He fought it to preserve the union.

      December 5, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  61. hater

    I hate all flags. especially the american flag. most murderous flag ever. its just a piece of fabric. get over yourselves

    December 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  62. THEAprof

    As a white Southern ex-pat, all I have to say is "stupid child"!

    December 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Tebowner

    If South Carolina knows him so well, why does he not fly that flag? A little less controversial I would think.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  64. LL

    I'm very proud of this young man. I believe he can change the minds of others. His parents should be proud too. They raised a fine young man. I hope he continues down this road. I think some of our elders could learn a thing or two from him.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Waleed

      Would you be proud of a Jew flying the swastika? Or are you only proud when blacks allow whites to disrespect them? Maybe you would be proud of a black man that served drinks at a Klan rally.

      December 5, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  65. ogpower2

    Talk of ignorance, Thomas u should first study history of America. You have freedom to fly what ever flag u wish to fly, but as student u should also know ur history. U are nothing but a joke

    December 5, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • bfskinnerpunk

      This story is pure trivia. The only thing it reveals is how politically correct we all our. We are out of our mines with this "race" fetish.

      December 5, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Beth

    This kid has NO sense of history. This flags stands for everything WRONG with the South. Many of us who grew up there have tried to change things for the better. You can't do that if you don't acknowledge that there were problems in the first place.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  67. History Bear

    Most of these comments are based on emotions and poorly understood history. The "Stars and Bars" is a BATTLE flag used to define the armies of the South. It wasn't the "Confederate Flag" initially. the pride in the Flag is a reflection of pride in the Southern armies, not slavery or any thing else that was wrong with the south. Just because a side loses the war doesn't mean that its adherents can't feel pride. Losing is not a condemnation of individuals, but of a badly flawed economic and social system.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      The Nazis lost WW2 but I still fly the swastika out my dorm window, is that ok?

      December 5, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • smitvict

      John, did the Nazi's fight WW2 over state's rights?

      December 5, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  68. John

    This stupid kid is probably not familiar with "Jim Crow". Also the Confederate flag is a symbol of a violent treasonous attempt by rich white planters to maintain their way of life, while the rest of the poor "white trash" southerners fought and died to support the rich white planters. Blacks were considered animals for hundreds of years because of slavery. Why would this kid support that crap, what is he, retarded? Oh my mistake, this is in South Carolina.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  69. ytuque

    Interesting that a young black guy is taking the university to task on a freedom of speech issue regarding the Confederate flag. It's shocking how universities pick and choose who gets freedom of speech and on which issues.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Doctor

    NC farm boy here. The Confederate Flag is a sign of a failed revolution. We came in second in that war . Get over it.
    If you want to associate with loosers, that's your flag

    December 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeb

      Well said. And as a fellow Southerner, I would add that we're all Americans now.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • LJ Burgess

      NC farm boy here as well... Tarheel first, American second.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Jeb

    Could a fellow Southerner please tell us all exactly what "Southern Pride" is and why this flag is a symbol of it? Hello? Anyone? Crickets...............

    December 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • DallasMan

      If you have to ask...
      Southerners shouldn't have to apologize for our state and regional pride. If you don't have pride in your own state, that is your own problem.

      December 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Josh

    It's unfortunate that people celebrate treason in the country that protects their right to free speech. This young student, though studying something( probably business) doesn't realize that the flag he chooses so proudly to display from his dorm window represents the political objective of keeping blacks in their place. So basically he is showing pride in a culture that would violently object the likes of him enrolled in a university or reading for that matter. I question his mental ability.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  73. EDUCATE AND PROSPER

    THE CONFEDERATE FLAG REPRESENTS THE SOUTH WANTING TO PRESERVE THEIR WAY OF LIFE. YES THERE ARE OTHER SMALL FACTORS THAT WERE APART OF THEIR WAY OF LIFE BUT SLAVERY WAS THE MAIN ONE. SLAVERY MADE THE SOUTH A LOT OF MONEY. THEY DON'T TEACH THAT IN SCHOOL. KIDS DON'T KNOW THE REAL DEAL ABOUT SLAVERY. I FEEL REALLY BAD THAT PEOPLE ARE STILL NAIVE AND IGNORANT TO THAT FACT. EDUCATE YOURSELVES PEOPLE AND BYRON PLEASE EDUCATE YOURSELF AS WELL. I COMMEND YOU MOVING PAST RACISM AND YES SOME PEOPLE LOOK AT THE FLAG AS PURE SOUTHERN PRIDE. HISTORICALLY, IT REPRESENTS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.

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

      Yes, it represents Southern Pride in their history of slavery and racism. It is a romanticized by some who have nothing to feel good about now. It is fit for the trash heap.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • brick

      You know why they dont teach that...Because by college age common sense would tell a person that it was all about money. Free work is always gonna make alota money!! We all know the highest expense for a business is payroll.

      Trust me this dude is gonna think completely different as soon as he goes out into the work force and sees what the real world is all about.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tom

        Who fed and housed these slaves? Therefore, not free work my friend. Most lived better lives here than they were in Africa being captured by their own people. You think we just went to Africa and loaded up some people. The tribes sold their own people because they needed food and goods so werent Africans for slavery as well. Huh

        December 5, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • No One Is Safe

        yeah, they should've been *happy* to be slaves. zackly! how could anybody not see that?!

        wow, tom... y'know, you really are a smackedass.

        December 16, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • George Purvis

        Prove that none of the slaves were happy. Post your facts.

        George Purvis
        Southern Heritage Advancement Preservation and Education

        December 16, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Newo

      WHY ARE YOU YELLING ?!?!?!?!

      December 5, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Dawn

    He must be joking? I couldn't beleive it when i saw the video, he's an embarrassment to all black people and all of our ancestors!!!!

    December 5, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Michael

    "I see the freedom when the south seceded from the north".

    I don't understand how he convinced himself that the Stars and Bars isn't associated with racism.

    They seceded mainly because of their position on slavery. "States Rights" back then was essentially the right to decide whether or not they can keep their slaves for agriculture work.

    He's wildly misrepresenting it, and it's a little sad that he tricked himself into flying a flag that essentially equates him to property.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • brick

      Lets be more specific. Like Cattle. This is a product of the SC education system here people!! What did you expect?

      December 5, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • DallasMan

        Let's be even more specific, the "Stars and Bars" is not the Confederate battle flag. Knowing what you're talking about would make your argument more credible.

        December 5, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • No One Is Safe

        hey, dalass... nobody really gives a sh!t whether it was the battle flag of the texass dirtbags or the south carolina sleazies... the *fact* is, that flag is associated with the confederacy, which is associated with both treason and slavery. maybe you can make yourself feel better by pointing out the obscure details of what this flag's actual name and origin is, but the rest of us here in the 21st century aren't stupid enough to be distracted by you southern apologists, uh, i mean, "historians"...

        December 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • Thor

        Here, ignorance is not bliss; it is deceitful.

        December 16, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • George Purvis

        Thor,

        Prove treason. Proveslavery was only a Confederate thing and not law of the land.

        "Crossbars and Stars" LOL LOL LOL LOL

        George Purvis
        Southern Heritage Advancement Preservation and Education

        December 16, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • George Purvis

        Bring yourfacts, prove slavery and treason. It is a safe bet you can't.

        George Purvis
        Southern Heritage Advancement Preservation and Education

        December 16, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Talia

      Why qould you think that the stars and red and white stars are about the dividing of whites and blacks? The Stars are about the 50 States that we all have today, and the red and white bars are about the original 13 colonies. If you counted them then you would see that there are 50 stars and 13 bars.

      December 5, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mike in WA

        Star And bars is another name for the battle flag in question not the stars and stripes on the American flag.

        December 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Bradley

    He must be the dumbest black man on the face of the planet and really don't know his history well enough.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dawn

      I was thinking the same thing. Was he adopted? His parents must be furious!

      December 5, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Ed Peters

    The primary reason for the civil war, and thus the Confederate flag was slavery. The flag should be banned. People of the South have many things (maybe more than people of the North, East and West) to be proud of, and those things should be promoted (although I don't care for Pecan Pie).

    December 5, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  78. collegeStudent

    Interesting. I'm from NY, but I attend college in the south, and there has always been a handful of Confederate flags hanging in people's windows, and they've never been ordered to take them down

    December 5, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Flying it off the back of your pickup truck is different then hanging in the window of a dorm on campus.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • collegeStudent

        Yea, what I meant is that I regularly see a handful of cases where the Confederate flag is hanging in the window of a dorm room. In fact, if I look out my window right now, I see 2 Confederate flags in the windows of 2 different dorm rooms

        December 5, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  79. the_dude

    Bla bla bla....long story short....

    For blacks it is ok for whites it is not ok

    December 5, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tzckrl

      Interesting point, but having different sets of rules based upon race is inherently racist. Not accusing here, just stating a fact.

      December 5, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  80. larry

    I just got done reading the "Declaration of Causes of Secession, this is written by the states at the time they left the union.
    I stopped counting but slavery is mentioned top be the reason they are seceding several dozen times. As a Texan I paid special attention to Texas' articles, a thorough reading about the "natural state of servitude" should clear up any questions you have.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • jamesnyc

      thanks for mentioning that. I will read it.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  81. Carl Wilkerson

    Well, I'll say he just needs a better education, rather, than those selective, revisionist history classes in SC. He is really confused and ignorant. Ironically, he seems to be an intelligent, young man. Can we say, Brainwashed, though?

    December 5, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • William Roberts

      You sound just like Adolf! Don't like the way others think so just make them look like rats. I saw that film!

      December 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Walter

    Amen brother (I'm White and a direct descendent Of General Robert E. Lee)
    and I do agree with this youn man. The Confederate Flag is not racist.
    If the racist in America would stop being racist and stop trying to profit of off racism
    then there would be no racist in America.
    Then Americans could just be Americans with having to be identified in a racist category
    (i.e Black, White, Native, Hispanic and so-forth0

    December 5, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      You realize the south seceded mainly over the issue of slavery, right? Like, this about as absurd as denying the holocaust

      December 5, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  83. not_yet

    As a black southerner I've often felt the charge that the confederate flag was simply racist was overbroad and sadly not very compelling to racist users of the flag. What this young man mentioned seceding from the union should offend any American as the notion at its root is treason plain and simple. This is a flag of a failed state...it should be socially scorned for that alone.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • William Roberts

      Free you mind, it was not treason it was the peoples right for self-governing just as it was in recently in eastern Europe, just as it was with us and the British, us and the Spanish, us and the French.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  84. berucem

    Byron i agree with you 100%, the few people who owned slaves in the south were the 1 percenters of their time the 99 percenters who actually fought in the war were simply fighting for states right which they believed our founding fathers gave to them. slavery had absolutely nothing to do with their reason for fighting. i suggest to people to read a book name Company Aytch these are the memoirs of a soldier who fought in the war

    December 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  85. William Roberts

    The Nazi burned books and banned symbols so denying his right to display the battle put you in what group?

    December 5, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Roelof

    – Chiomzie 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. Again it's good that the kid wants to take the association of discrimination out of the flag. It seems that white people originally also come from Africa. We went to look something further, the rest didn't wanted to come with us and now all African are crying that they're so hungry. And what about African now, they all want to move to Europe or the USA. That's how bad black people are treated by white people. In 40 years the west spend more than 3 trillion $ on African aid. I think that compensates a lot. For the rest.. in the end, we're all white from the inside.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • William Roberts

      Roelof, very good point- Thanks

      December 5, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  87. greentoday

    seems like a lot of you need to read up on some history.. they taught you ONE of the causes for the civil war in school. there are many, many more. atleast the kid is able to move past racism.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • knowno

      This is kinda like a Jewish kid flying a swastika... but a Jewish kid wouldn't be that stupid(I hope).
      African-American children have no real concept of what thier ancesters went through so thier children may have to go through it again... just listen to politians like that conservative newt guy. It'll get worst because people take advantage of stupidity and a blck-man flying a confedrate flag is stupid. Were would you be if the south had won that war??

      December 5, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sp2guard

      Well said! At least someone gets it right!

      December 5, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Change

    I'll forgive him simply because he is young and naive. Furthermore, embracing a racist Southern symbol is not going to win you white friends in the deep South. Ask Herman Cain! He thought he was going to gain white republican/teaparty friends by bashing our African-American President. But as usual, the white man always reminds you where you came from as soon as you begin to surge ahead of him like in the Republican polls. Pizza man!

    December 5, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      (chuckles) Mr. Cain's woes have nothing to do with "the white man". They are caused by the black member.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Jason Guy

    Uneducated (not just text book), people like you that say and give 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 Southern History that included much more than just slavery, but also and Era and representation of an area of the United States and it replaces the racism and stigmas like you stated, to rest.. Which is the ONY way racism will ever end in regards to this flag. The more people like you bash the flag, criticize it, and keep it washed with racism, rather than a important part of our History and a important symbol of change and growth, 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 our level of humanity growth at that time of our existence, will start replacing that negativity with a new positive meaning, growing as humans together as we continue to develop in humanity.. Then, people like you can't 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 and 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 the country, Southern living, and a symbol of the Great South, the lives lost regardless of reasoning, 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 and as far his brain being flushed down the toilet comment, that just proved what I mean by uneducated people. Education is not text book theory alone... I feel for you.. God Bless this kid, it's his choice..

    December 5, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  90. curmudgeon77

    This kid makes a valid point; to a native american, the american flag could represent hatred and oppression. after all, we did purposefully give them blankets laced in small pox, made the Cherokee march the trail of tears, and even massacred women and children. it is a history many have chosen to conveniently forget. however, to others, the flag stands for freedom. same with the confederate flag. some have used it to promote hatred and bigotry, others such as myself merely take pride in the fact that we were born and raised in the south. i say, let the boy express his freedoms and fly whatever flag he wants.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • No One Is Safe

      don't call him "boy".

      December 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  91. teresa. ohio

    good for him.... I have no problem with his flag up as long as a white student can keep his flag up for his prideful reason too : ) turnabouts fair play.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Marshal Right

    1. No one has the right to tell anyone what flag they may or may not fly.
    2. Those who think they possess that right should read no. 1

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

      Actually, the school is private property so they have the right to make whatever rules they want about what he can and can't hang in him dorm.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • No One Is Safe

        thanks, sleepy. seems most of these so-called "const!tutionalist" teatards wouldn't know the actual meaning of the const!tution and amendments if they tripped over 'em...

        December 16, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • George Purvis

        It is a good bet some of us do. Amazing that someone as smart as you has to resort to insults and ignores facts.

        George Purvis
        Southern Heritage Advancement Preservation and Education

        December 16, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  93. oilfeilds

    rings the liberty bell!

    December 5, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Capt. Sheffield

    Indeed, there were states in the Union in which slavery was still legal and practiced and states in the Confederacy where slavery had been banned. The Confederacy, itself, had an embargo on the importation of slaves and Confederate picket ships apprehended a number of such smugglers. Their human cargo was usually sent back to Africa and the Captains of those vessels prosecuted and their ships seized. The War Between The States (it was NOT a civil war in any sense of the word) was about whether or not individual states had a right to withdraw from the Union. It was about whether or not that Union was a voluntary one (if so then you have the right to withdraw) or, if it is not, then we are little more than slaves to the Federal Government. In THAT respect it was, indeed, about slavery... ours!

    December 5, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Jeb

    That flag is a tainted symbol because of what it's been used to represent. The swastika has been around for thousands of years but it's also tainted by the Nazis and their atrocities. Show your "Southern Pride" in a way that contributes something positive to your community instead of dividing it.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • William Roberts

      So Jeb, if I or others use you state flag even if we aren’t from your state for something bad, and you have no control over it you believe it should be banned?

      December 5, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  96. Matthew

    I have a plan. The south could drop the Conferederate flag and adopt the Southeastern Conference Flag as their new rallying flag. Win win. Six Straight National Championships in Football!

    December 5, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  97. oilfeilds

    each state flys its own flag

    December 5, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  98. Get a Clue

    For those who are so passionate about this issue, do yourself and the rest of us a favor by reading some history. If this kid was flying the "Stars and Bars," many, if not most, would have no clue that it was a Confederate flag and no offense would be taken. People incorrectly identify the Battle Flag of the Confederacy or Rebel Flag as displayed in pickup windows and Southern Rock album covers as the "Stars and Bars." It is ironic that negative sentiment surrounding Confederate political ideology is not directed at the National Flag of the Confederacy, the "Stars and Bars," but toward the Battle Flag which was flown not by wealthy, land-owning aristocrats or politicos, but the by young, often poor men who worked and fought alongside blacks.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Aaron

    I agree, if you were born here, you are an AMERICAN. Your skin color should not dictate your family history. I haven't heard African German or African Britton have you?

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

      Actually, yes. I have heard of those groups from back during the colonial days. John Kerry's wife is actually African-American because she was born in Africa to colonial parents (can't remember the country, but you can look it up). Also, the immigrants from African countries into Europe also claim the hyphenated nationalities.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
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