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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. history must teach or repeat

    both the swastika and the confederate flag stood for something else LONG BEFORE they were used as symbols of hate. people use them to hide behind, to justify their actions, because they can not stand alone for their hiddious crimes. people should be against the people who do these crimes, not the flag. kinda reminds you of the pit bull. everyone is scared to death of them, ready to condem them, kill them all, when in all actuality, its the person behind the dog that is responsible for how it acts, it is the person behind the flag that maks it mean what it means, why else would southren states have parts of the confederate flag in their state flag? because it stands for the confederacy, not hate, not slavery,

    December 7, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • lunchbreaker

      If the confedrate flag stands for the confederacy, then there is no reason to use it. There is no confederacy. The confederacy was afailed atempt at becoming a seperate country. Why would anyone be proud to represent that?

      December 7, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
      • George Purvis

        Why won't they???

        "Any people anywhere being inclined and have the power have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government---"

        A. Lincoln
        Speech in House of representatives Jan. 12., 1848

        George Purvis
        Southern Heritage Advancement Preservation and Education

        December 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Purvis

      You might want to add the United States flag to your list.

      george Purvis
      Southern Heritage Advancement Preservation and Education

      December 7, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MaybeAgnosticMaybeNot

    Several years ago I volunteered for a program to help foriegn students learn english.one of the students was Korean and I couldn't help notice that she was wearing a swastika necklace. Apperantly she couldn't help noticing that I couldn't help noticing her necklace. She made the effort, without me asking, to tell me that a lot of people see this symbol as bad, but it is a budhist symbol. There are a lot of people who consider the confederate battle flag simply a symbol of southern pride, but they do need to be aware not everyone sees it that way. I'm not saying it's wrong to fly your rebel flag, but if you are using the flag as a symbol for somthing that was not it's original purpose, which is a to fly when the confederacy went into battle, then you can't hate some one elses opinion of what the flag stands for, be it racism or anything else.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  3. Shaun

    He raves on being born in America. He should put up an American Flag instead. You can disect this article all you want. You san say that people are ignorant because of upbringing and what was taught to them. This flag harbors an ugly secret. With it came blooshed, rape, hurt, death, hangings, beatings, kidnappings ,etc. then brushed under a rug. Same thing with the Swastika...it comes along with death and haneous crimes that people were treated indifferently because of wanting to improve their lifestyles. He should take it down because there is no need to prove a point. We now WHAT THE HELL IT MEANS.

    December 7, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      I find it interesting that so many continually condemn our Confederate Flag to slavery and racism while giving your
      "American Flag a pass". Let us stroll down the historical past.....Which Flag, which government was represented at the massacres at Sand Creek and Wounded Knee, when those Native American women and children were being slaughtered, nursing infants tossed into the air and bayoneted as their innocent little bodies fell back toward the ground ? When your soldiers were questioned why they did this to those women and children; they responded that..."NITS MAKE LICE". To them these little children were nothing more than "NITS", destined to grow into "LICE". What about your governments Tuskegee Syphilis experiments performed on the "Black Man" from 1932 until 1972 ? And the Jim Crow Laws in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, etc ? For those who proudly support and display the "American Flag", "Old Glory"; Who are you to sit in judgement of this young man, our Flags, or any Confederate American ?

      December 7, 2011 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
      • Shaun

        Calm down James. My comment wasn't meant to upset you. All I know is what was (I hate to use the word taught) SHOWN to me. If I knew you personally you would understand why and I can send you graphic pictures of an event (that's what I call it) My grandfathers brother... his body was found. This was in 1909 and noose was still wrapped around his neck. He was beaten, sodomized with a broom handle and his eyes were plucked out. He was wrapped in this wonderful flag. It was to send a message to whomever. He was fishing...to prepare dinner for his family on his great grandfather's property. NOW, if you can explain to me why that happened....then we are good and on the same page. Although this is one incident OF many....this is my family's incident that happened HERE in America.

        December 7, 2011 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      I personally don't think there is anything wrong with the confederate flag but all of you people that are saying it is filled with hate and blood shed think about this. Did you know there were people here before us(Native Americans) and how do you think we got their land? Our ancestors didn't politely ask and them move, they slaughterer thousands so wouldn't our beloved american flag be filled with the same thing? We just dont use it in a bad way or associate bad meanings with it. Now im not bashing the american flag because i am thankful and proud to be an american but open your eyes people and dont forget because history repeats its self when that happens.

      December 7, 2011 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. 3rdEyeOpened

    This pathetic kid is only trying to please racist America by showing this "phantom" pride in order to be accepted by white people who hold those very same views.

    And this "southern pride" ignorance is doing nothing but pushing more separatism against a particular part of our country. Why be proud of only the south? That is very much anti-American. Why not the entire country? All this southern pride mumbo jumbo is nothing more than a cover up for not feeling like trash due to losing the war. To have pride in the confederacy is to be proud of separating oneself from America period.

    December 7, 2011 at 7:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bryce

    Yes there are horrible things that are associated with the confederate flag,but it is the same as the swastika. It originally started on on the chest of Buddha then Hitler used does it mean that the Buddhist's can no longer use the swastika since Hitler used it to. I completely agree with Byron that our generation needs to change and to change racism so there is less of it today. To fix this we need to educate the arrogant people in our world.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
    • juanito

      racism isnt laid on a flag its a virus corroding a persons brain

      December 7, 2011 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. alex

    The Federal Government outlawed the buying and selling of slaves LONG before the Civil War began. The majority of Southerners did not even own slaves. Lincoln freed the slaves 2 years into the Civil War. If this was about abolishing slavery then the Civil War would be a reaction to the freeing of the slaves not the cause behind it. The Civil War was about the South wanting the states to decide for themselves and the North wanting to keep the Union together. So technically this kid is right.

    December 6, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      You're retarded

      December 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. vet2640

    "FREEDOM OF SPEECH"?, that's just fine with me, but as a Vietnam Veteran, I see this as "freedom of hate speech", this black person has no "f-–g idea what this is all about", you in college?. Hey America, take a good look at your future leaders, how sad that the ignorant among us could be your future statesman.

    December 6, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tony

    Dude, you are definitely brainwashed. I agree we all need to move forward to stop the hatred and racism in this country. Supporting this well known racist Confederate flag that has displaced and killed thousands upon thousands African Slaves and Black Americans is the wrong move.

    Wanna stop racism? Finish your education, get a job afterwards and make your family proud of you.....that is the key in stamping out racism. You look sourly foolish having that evil flag in your dorm. You dishonor the Black men, women and children that fought and died for you. 

    December 6, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Guest

    All it reminds me of is Coy and Vance
    The gay Dukes of Hazzard

    December 6, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. george monks

    Perhaps this young reporter should read a history book and realize how many young African Americans lost their lives defending the flag referranced here.

    December 6, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Reggie

    This is another Clarence Thomas ........ States rights .....That shows me that the reason that you southern Blacks have lost your way

    December 6, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Southern born and raised

    The Confederate flag is the central symbol of Southern racism and anti-Americanism. This young man does not respect what his parents and previous generations have been through living in the south. He is also quite ignorant about American history and the lingering consequences slavery on American society. His so-called "research" was very selective. His parents are probably devastated to realize that they have raised a brain-washed self-hating and foolish uncle tom who has found a way to get the approval and attention he craves from the people who disrespect African-Americans and laugh at him behind his back. Every group (the Irish, Native Americans, Jews and others) that has been oppressed has had traitors (yes there were and still are Blacks who would own slaves). Those who would deny that slavery was the central cause of the civil war are no different than Holocast deniers.

    December 6, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • REALLY Southern Born and Raised

      YOUR research is limited and selective. Just because the confederate flag is a symbol for racism does NOT mean it cannot be a symbol for other things. Can't you people get that through your head! Just because the confederate battle flag was raised against the union does NOT mean it cannot also symbolize a love of America, particularly southern American pride.

      Also, this is a BIG probably that you chose to infer, "probably devastated to realize that they have raised a brain-washed self-hating and foolish uncle tom who has found a way to get the approval and attention he craves from the people who disrespect African-Americans and laugh at him behind his back." ...you must be the complete opposite of psychic.

      Clearly, you read nothing but what you wanted to hear and commented with what you think is the issue. Go find a REAL opinion!

      December 6, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dave

        Take some time and read the primary sources that led up to the civil war. South Carolina seceded because they wanted slavery and felt that their rights to have slaves were threatened. The South seceded because they felt their rights to have slaves were threatened. No one should be bashing to bad on this kid, I realize that. But one should also understand that the confederate flag had nothing to do with states rights (unless it was the right to hold slaves), and if it had nothing to do with states rights, what else if left? That's right, slavery. So unless you and others who support this story believe that the enslavement of africans and black americans is not racist, then you have no supporting argument.
        P.S.: Southern officials in the federal government stated themselves that black people in fact had no rights.
        Read up buddy.

        December 6, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. melissa

    because people give it that power. what whould them boys do if that family walked out and hung their own confederate flag? would the boys still do it? no because there would be no power. and them boys should have been taught better in school, like i said they only teach us what they want us to know, it has to begin somewhere, problem is, will anyone listen?

    December 6, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. billgme

    The student is to be commended for his very insightful defense of the Confederate flag. The flag represents many things to many people. The South is right to have pride in that flag. Many ancestors of southerners today died defending that flag. The war was fought over states rights. Lincoln didn't abolish slavery until 1863. Slavery was inherently wrong, but the war was fought over states rights, and many of those issues are with us today.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeates

      State's rights? Indeed. But fundamentally Lincoln was right when he quoted the Gospel of Mark. "And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand." (Mark 3:24-25) And thus, while the southern Confederate states had both more man power and resources they were fundamentally unable to stand united and were instead divided by bickering and squabbling. All other ideological differences between the north and south aside, the UNITED States were able to win because they stood together as a Federation rather than a CONfederation. This same issue is of extreme relevance in today's political climate: stand together or die alone. E pluribus unum.

      December 6, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Newgeneration

    I completely support this guy a hundred percent he is right we should be able to fly that flag bc it is a part of all of.our history he is trying to make a.change which more of us should be doing it shouldn't be about color but about ourself as a nation an trying to succede as such I gladly would support this guy

    December 6, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  16. willie leach

    He gets it,that was and is the confederate battle flag it's no more racist than the stars and bars,it's part of our history like it or not.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • lunchbreaker

      So put in a museum and leave it there. The stars and bars is the official flag now. Get with this century.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • American

        @lunchbreaker.... stars and bars is the Confederate flag, not our nations flag.

        December 6, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Mary Jones

    Black White Supremist Dave Chappelle
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtvCTmJOJy4&w=640&h=360]

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHFUH_frhBw&w=640&h=360]
    very similar

    December 6, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  18. lunchbreaker

    This argument reminds me of all the d-bags walking around with chinese character tatoos. They got them because they were trendy and proudly display them, but have no idea what they mean.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  19. melissa

    that is true, today is not the 1860's. things are different. however so, people can not get thats through their heads. they still hate on it as if it is still happening today. yes it was wrong, and it is over. that flag stands for people protecting their way of life. both sides thought of blacks as only tools and treated them as such. we are blessed that that Lincoln did end salvery, but the flag does not represent salvery, for in those times, as wrong as it was, people were tools, and as people seen it, tools were needed to live.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • lunchbreaker

      The Confederate battle flag is also a tool. I was raisded in a part of Alabama where gets would strap a "rebel" flag to the back of thier four wheeler and ride in back and forth in front of the house where the only black family in the neighborhood lived. Tell me what the flag means to the individuals involved in that situation. Yeah I know that is not representative of everywhere, but it does happen, still today.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • izy

        i dont care if that flag represents the south, you can be proud, but this flag is a symbol of a racism, regardless if you want to add your own reasons or not, the guy has his freedom to love the flag, but i always will see that flag as a symbol of hate
        I live in Florida and I am originally from NY, never in my life was a I stopped because of my race, but it happened today to my brother, and was stopped by cops, the reason, and quote on quote by what Clearwater PD said, This is a White Neighborhood, you are latino, you can not be here. racism is still big today here in the South...and honestly, my approval of the south has now sunked lower than before. you may say it doesnt happen, but it did to my brother today before I came to work.

        December 6, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Summer

    All you idiots, read this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flags_of_the_Confederate_States_of_America about the history of the US flags, most of you dumb idiots are taking this all wrong across the board!! Then re-read your history on slaves and where, how and why and all that they came from.....(which is all race, color and background) basically what most of you are saying is that since bad things happened under a certain flag, no one can display that flag becuase it offends someone or it means hate ect ect????? if thats that case then we need to re-look at our current flag, as well as SEVERAL African flags and a few other countries. If you are truely open minded, most of you wouldn't think this way. the confedrate flag does not mean slavery, the german flag does not mean hitler, ect ect..... countries have flags to represent that country or territory weather they are good, bad or both. to many people in the country are narrowed minded selfish idiots... that can't keep an open mind about anything. and then people wonder why this country has a hard time moving forward as united verses diveded. the past is the past, learn and move on... I don't owe anyone anything and nobody owes me anything becuase of what our ancestors did... get over yourselfs. you guys are the reason why this country gets worse and worse each and every day. This kid has it right.. most of you have it wrong!!!

    December 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • lunchbreaker

      If you actually read the page, you may have noticed that the flag classically known as the "rebel flag" was not actually the flag of the confedracy, but the BATTLE flag. It's a flag flown during war. Are we at war? That would be no. So unless you are intending a rebel uprising, put the battle flag back in the museum and sport the actual flag of the confedrady, if your so intent to do so.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Summer

        Second national flag ("the Stainless Banner")

        During the solicitation for the second national flag, there were many different types of designs that were proposed, nearly all making use of the battle flag, which by 1863 had become well-known and popular. The new design was specified by the Confederate Congress to be a white field "with the union (now used as the battle flag) to be a square of two-thirds the width of the flag, having the ground red; thereupon a broad saltier [sic] of blue, bordered with white, and emblazoned with mullets or five-pointed stars, corresponding in number to that of the Confederate States."[7]

        The nickname "stainless" referred to the pure white field. The flag act of 1864 did not state what the white symbolized and advocates offered various interpretations. The Confederate Congress debated whether the white field should have a blue stripe and whether it should be bordered in red. William Miles delivered a speech for the simple white design that was eventually approved. He argued that the battle flag must be used, but for a national flag it was necessary to emblazon it, but as simply as possible, with a plain white field.[8]

        The flags actually made by the Richmond Clothing Depot used the 1.5:1 ratio adopted for the Confederate Navy's battle ensign, rather than the official 2:1 ratio.[9]

        Initial reaction to the second national flag was favorable, but over time it became criticized for being "too white". The Columbia Daily South Carolinian observed that it was essentially a battle flag upon a flag of truce and might send a mixed message. Military officers voiced complaints about the flag being too white, for various reasons, including the danger of being mistaken as a flag of truce, especially on naval ships, and that it was too easily soiled.[10] This flag is nonetheless a historical symbol of the civil war,
        The third national flag was adopted March 4, 1865, just before the fall of the Confederacy. The red vertical stripe was proposed by Major Arthur L. Rogers, who argued that the pure white field of the second national flag could be mistaken as a flag of truce. When hanging limp in no wind, the flag's Southern Cross canton could accidentally stay hidden, so the flag could mistakenly appear all white.

        Rogers lobbied successfully to have this alteration introduced in the Confederate Senate. He defended his redesign as having "as little as possible of the Yankee blue", and described it as symbolizing the primary origins of the people of the South, with the cross of England and the red bar from the flag of France.[10]

        The Flag Act of 1865 describes the flag in the following language: "The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That the flag of the Confederate States shall be as follows: The width one half of its length, with the union (now used as the battle flag) to be in width three-fifths of the width of the flag, and so proportioned as to leave the length of the field on the side of the union twice the width of the field below it; to have the ground red and a broad blue saltire thereon, bordered with white and emblazoned with five pointed stars, corresponding in number to that of the Confederate States; the field to be white, except the outer half from the union to be a red bar extending the width of the flag."[11]

        December 6, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  21. CivilWarJunky

    I can't get enough of this part of American history. It's fascinating. One of the things that makes it so interesting to me is that in no other occasion in history has the losing side so effectively re-written history. And despite it being more than 150 years ago, I can't think of another event in American history that has so etched itself into the very fabric of our experience. Look at this thread! Here we are arguing about the causes of an event based (in part) less on fact and more on emotion even though none of us, our parents, our grandparents (or probably our great-grandparents) were involved.

    In Lincoln's second inaugural address (perhaps the most eloquent and widely sourced of his career) he states the reason for the war: slavery. Slavery (not equality it should be noted) was the cause of the war. War was a foregone conclusion since the Compromise of 1850 – and maybe since the founding of the nation itself. Slave states and free states couldn't co-exist in the same nation without the inevitable struggle of power. Neither side was right. It was a horrendous thing that happened and there was enough evil on both sides.

    In my mind the Confederate flag is a bit of an enigma. It has different and valid meanings to different people. Some see it as representative of Southern pride, or a symbol of slavery, or bigotry, or hatred, or independence. Whatever it is, however, it is not the symbol of America. And what I get fired up over is people who claim it as some sort of national pride or conceited intelligence. That – it isn't.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  22. lunchbreaker

    A lot of people are commenting on what the confederate flag "stand for". This is of course different for most people. The flag was the symbol of the confederacy, simply that. An group of states that wanted to leave the union and be a separate country. These days it has apparently become a symbol of being proud to be "Southern", whatever that is supposed to mean. However some people do see it as offensive, unamerican and racist. Now niether of these views are what it was intended for, so you really can't hate on either. You can say that by wearing a confedrate flag on you tshirt, you are just showing "southern pride", but you also have to accept the consequences of wearing that shirt in downtown Harlem.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  23. KLP

    Bravo, Byron. I can see you've done your homework on the confederate flag and I bet you got an A++ on your paper. I know a southern black man who wanted a confederate flag birthday cake, but the bakery refused, due to their own ignorance. Just as the media distorts things today, most of history is somewhat distorted, as well. Continue to research matters and I am sure you will accomplish all of your life goals.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Drowlord

    I applaud this guy. While I don't have an opinion about the confederate flag specifically, I strongly support the idea that younger generations need to re-evaluate generational wisdom and look at today's world without the apathy and anger that define our parent's struggles, frustrations and failures. Tools, knowledge, and opportunity come in different packages than they did in the past. Freedom is a different concept, today.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cruddy

      I agree with teaching yourself not to be hindered by anger and resentment. However, the method this youngster picked is questionable in getting that message across. I see it as an attempt to ingratiate himself to white people. I highly doubt blacks think that the confederate flag is holding them back from success. If he wanted to turn opinions he would be more effective by attacking the self pity that some people suffer from. I would have a significant amount of respect if his message was more along those lines than defending a symbol of racism.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  25. melissa

    so he gained white workers who didn't want to compete, ether way it was for the wrong reason, it should of been done for humanity, not for someone else's gain, because it tarnishes the whole reason that it was done, people are trying to say north did it to help the blacks, which is not true, the south is racist and didn't want freedom, truth is, neither side gave a scat about the blacks, they were as both sides seen it, only tools, which is wrong

    December 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cruddy

      I for one am not under the delusion that lincoln was a saint and all northerners were angels. In my mind its the lesser of two evils. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Regardless the reasons, my people were legally declared to be free. That in itself turned on a light in the minds of enslaved blacks that no one had the right to own them.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Melissa, your applying today's morality to the 1860's. That is a basic mistake if you are trying to learn about how and why things happen in history. Morality changes over time. Lincoln came out very early in his presidency that he would only take an action on slavery if it meant preserving the Union. He quite famously said that he would free all of the slaves, or he would free none of the slaves, or he would free some while leaving others enslaved if it meant preserving the Union. That was his motivation.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  26. A concerned citizen

    First, the issue at hand is that he has the right of freedom of speech as long as he is not violating another individuals rights. If he wants to hang a flag, let him.

    Now, It appears that there are hundreds of historians and experts commenting. Yes, the fact is that Lincoln thought blacks and whites were not equal. Yes, the civil war was fought for different reasons and slavery was used by Lincoln as a kind of propaganda. Yes, the north has as many racists as the south. However, Lincoln was a man that evolved and changed. Could anyone imagine if Lincoln had not decided to abolish slavery? Who knows where the US would be at today. Lucky for us, Lincoln and many others decided that slavery (for whatever reason), as a means of economic prosperity and independence was absurd. Someone mentioned in this blog, what would happen if German Americans started to use the swastika to show German pride. I wonder how many people would feel. The reason you don't see them all over is because the simple act of showing such a flag can anger others who see it and this can create riots that then create more problems. The fact that a black student is using it to show pride is disturbing. This young man needs to continue doing research because somewhere he missed something. If he really needed to identify with something, maybe he should research where his ancestors came from and then, maybe look for something representative of his ancestors. All in all, if I had to choose, I would have chosen the American Flag.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I've recently spent a lot of time in Germany and feel very well informed on the issue of using the swastika to express German national pride. I can say definitely that you can not compare the swastika to the Confederate flag within the context of national pride.

      The Germans are still coming to terms with the Nazi era and the Holocaust. They are very uncomfotable with any display of national pride. Up until four years ago, you never saw a German flag on display anywhere other than a government building. If someone had a German flag flying in their yard, people would wonder about that person in the same way we might think about a neighbor displaying the Confederate flag in their yard.

      We're talking about the black, red, and yellow German flag. The display of Nazi symbols is specifically illegal in Germany. Right now German authorities are cracking down on neo-Nazis and the country is in shock that they even exist.

      Germany is completely different today than in the 1930's and 40's.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Cruddy

    I find it amusing that he believes that calling himself African American is divisive and un-American, while at the same time extolling the virtues of being from the South. It seems to me that sentiment is divisive as well. Flawed logic once again.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  28. DwayneL

    I like this kid, he's a true southerner and doesn't get caught up in the race issue like most northerners and racists!

    December 6, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jambi

      Sorry Dwayne... This is America, it is and will always be about race... Racists will love that kid, he is a convenient idiot , like the ones that server the colonial masters against their own

      December 6, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Keith

    It's comical in that, many residents of South Carolina probably despise this kid for respresenting "their" flag.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Rick

    The student chose to re-think the meaning behind the confederate flag, which very quickly after the Civil War became a symbol for southern pride anyway. By choosing not to rehang the flag, I think this student is clearly showing that its not an issue of symbols, but really freedom to e a free-thinker. Yes, condemn the KKK member for hanging his confederate flag if you want, but why go after the black college student for promoting the pride and respect of the south.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      Pride and respect for the South? Why? What aout pride and respect for our nation? It's not the United States of SC, it's the United States of America.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • Rick

        How can you ask why? So the only flag we can appreciate is the flag of the United States of America? What about state flags? How about the flags those guys run back and forth across the sidelines at college football games. People should have the right to display flags that they find meaning in, especially if they are displayed in a positive light.

        Also, it goes without saying that in no part of the student's statement or in the article is it suggested that he does not support the United States. You should take the issue a little more seriously Keith, rather than finding it comical:

        "It's comical in that, many residents of South Carolina probably despise this kid for respresenting "their" flag."

        What is even comical about this? Are you saying that you do not support a student for displaying what he is proud of, but you find comedy in those that support the confederate flag for negative purposes and would criticize this student? I am interested in hearing your response. Yes, we find comedy in the ignorant, but this student represented a researched argument for displaying a flag he was making an effort to put new meaning behind. I don't think we should celebrate or give attention to those that would continue to represent the dark side of the flag.

        Sometimes I wonder what is behind the arguments of posters, a resistance to change or an acclamation to ignorance.

        December 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Issac

    A flag, or any other symbol, is merely a picture/arrangement of colors. Just like a word is just a sound. It has no real meaning beyond what people make of it. What it means to the man displaying it is not necessarily what it means to someone seeing it.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Roelof

    Nowadays nobody makes a difference about skin color. Here in Europe all American have to sit in the back of the bus with your tiny confederate flags on your chests. So we all know who has to sit in the back and who should sit in the front.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      The largest Confederate Flag I ever saw was in a public square in a medium sized town in southwest Germany. It was HUGE. Maybe about 2-3m wide.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Keith

    Ignorance gave the flag a bad name? Really? Does he mean the individuals that defend the flag for the wrong reasons? What about all of the incidents that have transpired that have been linked to this very same flag? He is grossly misinformed. I am sure by the time he completes his undegrad he will feel differently.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Bill

    I can't think of a better conversation piece. Maybe that's what it's about. You can certainly see how people are missing the point. He's identifying himself as a South Carolinian first and a black man second. That's very American. How many of us have dropped our ethnic roots/identies? How many would rather be identified as an American before where our families came from? The symbol he chose is certainly ironic, but it is thought provoking.

    There is no flag in the world more controversial than the Confederate Flag. People have strong feelings about it more so than the Nazi flag (which everybody agrees is a symbol of hate). Some people see it as a symbol of where he's from (despite it's checkered history) while others see it as a symbol of hate (and for just cause).

    December 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  35. melissa

    so we had blacks on both sides fighting right? so then why would someone fight to keep themselves in slavery? it was over state rights, Lincoln threw slavery in to gain popularity, just like a president huh? face it, we buy in to what they sell, wether you want to or not, and you thought your vote counts. simple~ stop the hate.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Lincoln didn't free the slaves for popularity's sake. For one, nobody in the North (except for the abolitionists who was the 1850's version of the Tea Party) wanted to fight to free the slaves. White northern workers didn't want to compete with freed ex-slaves.

      The main reason for the Emancipation Proclomation was to make it untenable for the British to intervene on the Confederacy's side.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jambi

        RUBBISH! , Slavery was outlawed by britain over a 25 years before the civil war. The Royal navy was patrolling the high seas hunting slavers. Why would they support the south? By then Haiti was a free nation

        December 6, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Jeff

    He needs to do more research. While I agree that people should think for themselves, he needs to realize that the sucession of South Carolina was not just due to states' rights. It was the state's right to continue slavery and allow future states admitted to the union to also have slavery enabled economies (i.e. the Missouri Compromise). As a black person, if you really have no ill will towards that flag, then I just can't understand. To a black person I see that flag as the same symbol the Nazi Swastika had. It symbolizes subversion, fanaticism, racism, classism and a host of other descriptions that simply do not characterize what our country should be associated with. If you want to display your southern pride, hang the flag of the United States of America. A great many southerners died beneath that flag defending our freedom in foreign lands and at home.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Walter

    I don't know if or how much it would matter, but I wonder about his ancestry. Does he descend from slaves or Africans who were not slaves (maybe they came over later or came over as free people)? Again, I'm not sure the impact this would have on anything. I'm just curious because I get the impression that a lot of people think most black people descended from slaves and white people descended from slaveholders.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jambi

      @Walter - Great point... you are a thinking man . Now I have to lighten up until your questions can be answered. Barack Obama doesn't identify with the majority blacks in this Hemisphere. His ancestors came here on an voluntarily and his father by an airplane. His ancestors did not go through the middle passage. When I think about the middle passage idiots like this young man makes my blood boils

      December 6, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  38. JR

    Why? So the topic can further be diluted by uninformed reverse-racist who want to make the Civil War all about slavery. that would not be a class, it would be propaganda!!!!

    December 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Interesting Perspective

      Therein lies the problem. To the slave (former slave), the Civil War WAS all about slavery. Surely you don't think slaves , who married in secret and always were at the risk of being beaten, raped and sold away from their only true friends and family, you don't think these people really cared about the preservation of the union or the idea of state's rights, do you? You may consider a Black History class propaganda, but understanding history is always best when given from the perspective of those you are studying. Actually, you should probably consider a Black History class as well...

      December 6, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  39. JR

    This Kid is a true academic. Looking at facts and opinions objectively and without the distractions of what the world says it should mean. everything in life is objective and individually based and the sooner we all accept this the better off we will all be. I can think, feel, say, interpret, anyway i want to and anyone who feels like they have a say as to how i do any of the before mentioned activities is sadly mistaken.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Richard McKinney

    Mr. Byron Thomas,

    I do hope you are able to read this. I just want to say how proud I am of you for doing your research studying the meaning and then making an educated decision about what the flag means. I truly want to let you know that if your family doesnt stand with you i feel very sorry for them. Because they have no idea what a very smart and grounded son they share with the world. I am so thankful that you took the time to understand excatly what that flag stood for and the true nature of its meaning. American you truly are. Don't ever be embarrassed by the fact that you stood up for the truth, be proud. I really hope and pray that there are many more like you coming up in your generation, because you are the type of person this world needs right now.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Black Man

      Sounds like recruitment to serve ole' Master. At the end of tha day the blacks were never equal to a caucasian person.. I mean Never.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      There are so many things in this world to be proud of. One is being an American. Is this kid defending his freedom, or is he trying to break down barriers? Or is he simply choosing not to acknowledge any negativity associated with the Flag? I would put a lot more faith in to American Flag, not the Confederate flag.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Tomakazi

    And this is exactly what this man is telling us read your comments folks... We are divided still to this day. Yes you have your freedom of speech but do you really feel this way? We live with eachother everyday... its time for this generation to make a change I agree with Thomas. Our generation should not have to suffer the stupidity of past generation's black or white doesn't mean a thing. Good for him for standing up to what he believes in and thinking outside the same box we have been in for generations. We all have our own thing to say but respect the opinion of others and see their side don't bash on them for it! Grow up and live your owns lives and embrace others black or white. This is the world we live in if you don't like people different from you then you are no better than generations past and this generation has no uses for those thoughts but to make examples of how wrong you can be.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Mick

    The main reason why the South succeeded was because they were being crippled by the economic sanctions/tariffs that the Federal Gov't was imposing on them. They were also against what they viewed to be a centralization of gov't power away from state's rights. I would guess that the majority of people on here never knew that NY city wanted to succeed from the union years before the south did. There were also many other states that were on the verge of succeed from the union before the South did it.

    Go back and read up on Lincoln you will realize that he didn't think blacks and whites were equal. Lincoln wanted to gather all the blacks and send them back to Africa. You will also see the atrocities that the Northern states committed during that time such as a scorched earth policy, throwing anyone in jail that published a negative article on Lincoln.

    The last question you should ask yourself is why the US was the only country to fight a war to end slavery when every other country did it peacefully.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • JR

      Probably the best post so far. Good for you mick and i could not have said it any better way. the war was fought over many reasons with slavery being the last and least influential.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ugh

      The South didn't succeed. They did, however, secede.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jambi

      Most white folks from that period were convinced that most non-whites were sub humans. Regarding Lincoln, his primary reason for the war is to preserve the integrity of the Union. He stated that he will keep the union together if it means freeing all the slaves or it it means freeing NO slaves. Most American citizens - both white and no-whites are ignorant of our history

      December 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Topnurse

    People certainly have a right to their opinions, to live where they choose, to value what they so choose. But, we must be aware that our choices may have historical significance that could bring reactions from others. There is no amount of research or pride that will erase the rapes, lynchings, sodomizing, home burnings, denial of educational and voting rights, legalized enslavement, ad nauseum...that was heinously bestowed on generations of citizens. His parents are ashamed for these reasons. This seemingly bright child is protected by an environment of academia. Like most of us college grads, old, young, various races, religions, etc. – he too will one day face real life 101.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Black Man

      You Just let the whole world know what this is truly about. Not about his freedom of speech but how he has ignored what has taken place and now currently takes place in tha south because of the history behind that particular Flag.Its a beautiful thing to show your love for you state but to put up a flag that reminds you of everything black people had to indure because of thier love for thier State and the South.No one wants to remember lynchings burning crosses nor a Flag that symbollizea that!

      December 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • freeSouth

        If you think Lincoln invaded the Southern states to help the black man, then you have been dupped.

        December 6, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tessa

      I agree with you. One of these days he will face reality 101. I can't believe he feels he has not experienced racism.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Laura

        Maybe he truly hasn't experienced racism, have you thought of that? Maybe, actually, in this day and age there are kids who grow up and racism is not a focal point for living their lives. I think it's an amazing blessing that he can say this. He's obviously a smart kid and would know racism if he was confronted with it.

        December 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • derek

        Why? Would you want someone to experience racism? I hope not. I laugh to see some of the posts here, as what the student was talking about flew over said posters heads as they spout the same things he just talked about.

        December 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  44. JoePub

    Many people are missing the point. This young man is thinking outside the box. He has a unique perspective and I think that this man is going to go far in his life.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jambi

      This young man is an ignoramus and is a product of the education system: no knowledge of our history

      December 6, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • derek

        If you're going to post something, it might do good to read the article first.

        December 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • JoePub

      I disagree. The SS Nazi symbol was actually an ancient symbol in India. Just because Hitler stole and used this symbol for their flag does it mean that the symbol can no longer be used in India?

      December 6, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tessa

        I would hope the good people of India would refuse to have it represent them.

        December 6, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bill

        The "SS Nazi" symbol was the death's head that adorned their caps and the "SS" lightning bolt on their collars. The swastika was adopted by the NSDAP as their symbol and became the national symbol of Germany during the Nazi years. It's true that the swastika as different meanings all over the world and is today in common use in Asia. Even the US Army 45th Infantry Division used the swastika as it's unit insignia until the US entered WWII as a way of avoiding confusion with Germany and the Axis.

        December 6, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • Thor

        JoePub; We are going on current usage here! There is no two symbols in the world that in the past decades, conjure up more terror in Jewish people and Negor people than the swastika and the confederate flag.

        December 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • Koko

        II agree with Tessa. I just graduated from college myself recently and it is all well to say he is getting an education etc, but I think you still have to THINK. Just because you are in school doesn't mean you are capable of thinking and being rational. I teach 10th grade geometry and I am 23, and my kids struggle to THINK! My point is that, sometimes...regardless of the "history"...you have to think about how other people will react and the positive vs detrimental effects of your actions. I do not think anyone else pride in the South was necessarily uplifted from the flag...but I am sure there were people who felt negatively about it. I think this is the true reason he did not put it back up. Educated or not, steeped in fact or not...sometimes you do not do things just because of the effect it may have...

        December 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • JoePub

        I stand corrected Bill. I got the 2 mixed up. Thanks.

        December 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jambi

      @derek - I have to admit that I was unable to read it in its entirety; however, I garnered enough from what I read to know that he is a young fool and will be delighted by the racist, confederate flag waving, ignoramuses. When I see the confederate flag, it conjures up the same emotion within me as , mostly - a Jew get from seeing a nazi swastikas flag. It means a time of cruelty , injustice, human depravity, and etc

      December 6, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  45. USAMITCH1

    Just sad. It is hard for anyone to understand this man's view. He said he did his home work and research the significance of the flag. Maybe he should search more. It is good to show your pride and have freedom of speech. But maybe he does not realize that he has offended others. It is not about whether he is wrong or right. He understands the flags significance in a way my generation can't. But common decency and respect (not politically correct) mandate he hangs it in his room and not in the window. When did we become so dogmatic that I say what I and I dont care who I hurt!!!

    December 6, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      But the man said that he wasn't offending anybody. Nobody, not even his black friends, weren't offended by it.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • Thor

        Perhaps alluding to the merits of the phrase "birds of a feather flock together."

        December 6, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Jennifer

    "Ignorance gave that flag a bad name" no, ignorance needed a flag

    December 6, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jambi

      Would it be OK for a Jew to be waving a flag bearing the swastika ?

      December 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • Rick

        The student in question mentioned that the flag represented the pride and respect he felt as a southerner. If a Jew could take the Nazi flag/symbol as a representation of pride and respect for the Jewish people, then I think the comparison would be appropriate. As it stands, the student chose to re-think the meaning behind the confederate flag, which very quickly after the Civil War became a symbol for southern pride anyway. By choosing not to rehang the flag, I think this student is clearly showing that its not an issue of symbols, but really freedom to e a free-thinker. Yes, condemn the KKK member for hanging his confederate flag if you want, but why go after the black college student for promoting the pride and respect of the south.

        December 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tessa

      Touche'

      December 6, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jambi

      Southern pride, If you are proud of your dark shameful history that is find with me; however , it boogles the mind to see a young man whose ancestors were , no doubt, penalized, tormented, and oppressed by that system - now embraces it and think that he too should be proud of it... wow, talking about ignorant . Even now talk to most enlighten black foreigners and they stil lhave dark images of the South: cauldron of hatred, cruelty, and injustice. The world say what happened in Mississippi, Alabama, and Birmingham. This little upstart needs to go back and read history. Tell him to read about Emmet Tillis. Introduce him to the Tuskegee study. What does he knwo about the many blacks that were lynched by your proud Southern culture. The only think to be proud about is that the South lost the so called war of "North Aggression". It the south had won, most of the south would be the image of rural mississipi... I SAY P IS S off with southern pride

      December 6, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Jon

    Colleges exist to take young people, who are uneducated and may have completely and unbelievably stupid ideas, and make them into smart, educated people who don't make such boneheaded decisions. Sounds like he's in the right place.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      One can only hope.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Thor

    Ok, ok.... Now, anybody know who was the man shot in the alleged "first shot of the American Revolution" , aka "the shot heard round the world..."? Do you guys know that it was in Boston at the Boston "massacre"? Anybody know who Crispus Attucks was? Huh? Kinda puts a perspective on what freedom from oppression means.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      How many of you would have done what C A did? And a black man is going to celebrate the Confederate flag. How dumb and disrespectful.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • melissa

        so do you feel that the southren states should change their flags because of having bits of the Rebel flag in it?

        December 6, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Thor

        Melissa; yes, absolutely. European men live under the rules associated with their banner. Any rule portending enslaving of another, in not merely a metaphoric sense, but in a real imprisoned servitude; that is represented in any way with the confederate flag, is wrong for it's own merits. Not simply because of the law, but according to what is right. All here, once educated on the real origins of the civil war... rooted in direct opposition to freedom for all men, will know what is really the right way to live. To wave any part of a banner that is meant to empower slavery is wrong. Period. That civil war banner, and any part of it in any flag, is directly waving defiance for freedom of all men.

        December 6, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • American

        Beacsue some here seem to feel like casting a stone at this young man and determining what this flag means. Would it have been ok to you if he said "showing this flag is to display how proud of "his people" for coming so far? This as he is in school working on his future and the future of his family!

        December 6, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  49. John Doe 31090

    Why does everyone have to have a saying about this posting? Why can't we just respect someone's opinion? If we are all "American" why do we always make oneself different from another? Be united, stand as one. If you don't agree with the young man is saying or doing than read the next post. It's unbelieveable I think to what this student is doing, even if I am another race. Change is happening and history belongs in a book.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Bazoing

    This war was a war and that meant its causes were complex. The rich Northerners triggered it to exclude England from industrial monopolies desired by the North. But, the vast majority of the soldiers from the North thought it was to stop slavery. Those were heroes even though slavery continued in the North for 3 years after the North won. The South was similar, there were slave plantations so big that they had internal rail systems, and a couple of states which wanted more slavery even though it was breaking down economically. The majority of the whites were wretchedly poor and feared the Northern industrialists who would have pushed up all the prices if they controlled the market. But, Lee refused to send his huge cavalry to attack the Northern cities at the beginning of the war before they could get ready because he saw it as too cruel. That might have won the war, but some saw doing it as dishonorable. To Southerners, black and white that sort of honor is what their flag represents.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      "The Cornerstone Speech."

      December 6, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • melissa

      i'm afraid they understand southren pride, you wont find it anywhere else, and thats sad

      December 6, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      I live in the South; they fought for the right to keep slaves. The right to buy an eighteen-year-old girl and take her home, the right to buy a five-year-old boy and take HIM home. The right to kill a field worker who looks at you funny, or chop off his foot so he can't run away. That's what they fought for, and what they so bitterly regret losing; don't let anyone tell you different.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • puffy

        I'm against slavery but can you honestly say that things would have been different or better for that matter if they had stayed in Africa

        December 6, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • melissa

        i'm afraid you have misunderstood, i am not for salvery, it is wrong, back in the days of Moses, today, and forever. there are many sick and twisted people, then and now, I would love for them to pay a hundred times in the same way they hurt those poeple, but God will deal with them, Southren Pride ~for me~ simply means saying what you are going to to then do it, being fair, doing whats right and honest, and a deep love and respect for God and this country.

        December 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • Brian

        Did you get any type of education ? Your post was the most ignorant statement that I have ever had the displeasure of reading anywhere. Maybe you should educate yourself before spouting your inane drivel.

        December 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jambi

        @Puffy - what a moronic observation. during and after the 15 century the Europeans started running all over the world robbing, raping, and colonizing indigenous folks all over the globe. Some of those poor souls found out that lands that their ancestors lived on for thousands of years were suddenly own by some European ... now they are dispossessed they are then kidnapped and taken into slavery... wow talking about an idiotic comment

        December 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  51. melissa

    your that foolish? Everyone wants to stand up for whats right. they were sent in first to what they felt was right, being used, and it really doesn't matter what anyone says here, you take it into your own hands to determin wether or not this B/S keeps going on. fact is, if you would cut out the labeling then racism would go away, but they want you to think that way and you will continue to do so because that is what you chose. nobody here on this page is a slave, nor were your parents, so why do we still linger on it? because you want to, not everyone is like that.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Cinman

    Hey just because you're in college doesn't mean you can't be stupid on something. Just because he his clueless on the main point of the Civil War that created the flag, doesn't mean he can't stay that way. Not that schools get into details anyway so you'll have to do a in-depth term paper so you have a chance to see the newspapers from the South in 1860. Gee main topic was right to own slaves. Idiot.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Your ignorance knows no bounds ! Slavery had very little to do with the South's decision to secede from the union. You are obviously much less intelligent than this young man.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  53. mar

    I agree with himt to display the flag,,,It's not the flags faults,It the men and women who hide and create,these problems,To s say this flag represent hate is not so,,,,,You can say that about the Americanflag as of today there is some much racism, But we display our flag proudly,,,,,,,,,,, We cn't have it both ways,,,,

    December 6, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Read "The Cornerstone Speech."

      December 6, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  54. mario B

    Listen the south started the war and lost they don't to be enjoy the trouble they started. The loser of a war don't get to celebrate the lost. Germany does not allow waving of Nazi flags around saying its all about German pride. The loser of a war don't get to write history it is written by the victors, so the south should do the Honorable thing and try and downplay what happen.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  55. streetdude66

    Does this joker even know that the Confederacy back when cotton was king right thru the 60s lynched, maimed, jailed any black man hat even spoke of getting an education? Does he even know how many black people paid their dues so that he would have the right to an education? Someone should ask him does he think that posting that flag in his dorm window honors or dis honors their sacrifice. Clueless

    December 6, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cruddy

      The youngster has his opinions (or motives) for what he is espousing. By his own admission his parents are not happy with his stance. I honestly feel this is a publicity stunt or he is truly misguided and has issues with loving who and what he is. His logic is flawed and that is the only issue I have with his stance. I read somewhere that he likes to debate. Someone would eat him up in a debate on this issue.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  56. goodegyptian

    Thomas thinks this flag isn't racist? lol ... this flag is actually UNAMERICAN! They murdered MILLIONS of Americans over slavery!

    December 6, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      Your just wrong. You should do some reseach before posting something that a 5th grader may repeat.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
      • goodegyptian

        how am i wrong? people made this confederate flag weren't racist. they made this flag because they did not agree with the northern side's policy. it doesnt mean all southerners were racist.

        December 6, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • streetdude66

      Guys guess what, if you owned slaves it was because you thought people kidnapped from Africa should be owned by you. That makes you a racist of the lowest order. Just sayin

      December 6, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • yoyojojo

      The reason the confederacy was started to begin with was states' rights. It had nothing to do with slavery. And the flag we see today (red with a blue X) isn't even the original confederate flag. It's the confederate battle flag. The reason they had to change it was because the original confederate flag looked so much like the union flag. And it was causing friendly fire.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Thor

        Ohhh.... youojojo..... please read "the Cornerstone Speech" by A Stevens.

        December 6, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • A shame

        Friendly fire? I agree. It's a shame with all that friendly fire they missed too many times.

        December 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bubba

        Stephens said that they firmly disagreed with the United States, that all men were NOT created equal and the South should never have joined up with weak liberals who didn't believe in slavery. He was wrong about nearly everything he believed except the actual location of the South . . .

        December 6, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  57. David

    Alexander Stephens was Vice President of the Confederate States of America. He was quoted as saying, "Our great goverment is founded on the undeniable principle that the black man is not equal to the white man." Dont forget that of those states rights so revered by the /sout,h number one on their list was the right to maintain slavery. THat being said it should not be a problem for individuals to fly any flag they want, but I fail to follow this young mans argument for doing so. Got him some press......

    December 6, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  58. melissa

    we will end slavery... hmmm sounds like a good way to get people to join your side in a war. perhaps we look at this wrong, maybe the union used that only to gain soldiers, if i remember right, blacks weren't treated all that great in ether part of war. matter of fact, they (the north) sent the black troops in first so they would not waste white soldiers. who's racist now?

    December 6, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      Clearly you were asleep during Civil War class. Can you give us a specific instance of black troops being sent in first so as not to as you claim waste whites ? Before you say the 54th Massachusets, remember they volunteered to make that charge. May I suggest you ask SAnta for the book, The Civil War for Dummies, read it then get back to us.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
      • Thor

        Slaves were permitted to join the CSArmy in the latter times of the Civil War and earlier in the USArmy.

        December 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southern Shame

      Wrong Melissa, blacks were barred from fighting for most of the war due to execution and re-enslavement orders issued by the Confederate army. In a few battles, black units volunteered to lead. Who's racist now? Soutern apologists and revisionists of history.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
      • A shame

        Ugh... Why is Melissa so dumb?

        December 6, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jambi

      @Melisa - Black soldiers did fight on both sides during the civil. The South forced their slaves to fight towards the end. I think you were wide awake in AH classes

      December 6, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  59. lunchbreaker

    I find it ironic (or maybe idiotic) that the same people who claim to be patriots and wave there American flags, also wave a confederate flag. The confederate flag is the most unamerican symbol there is. It says, "I don't want to be part of this country". That's the "history" behind it as they are so quickly to use as it's defense. Yes, it is part of our history, so put it in a museum and leave it there.

    December 6, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      Lets put all the other things in a museum too such as past race relations, inequality durning slavery, etc. The kid is right. Time to move on and not be so sensitive.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • skynyrt

      Pretty dumb post. It means nothing of a sort. You are only rehashing old tired worn out sound bites.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
      • lunchbreaker

        How does it not mean that? A group of states started a war with the intent to leave the union, and that was thier symbol.

        December 6, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • 757Matt

      Yes, because the American flag is only flown over the good parts of our history. How does the American flag feel to Native Americans and the harsh treatment they received? The American flag flew during Jim Crow laws and permitted "separate but equal." The American flag wouldn't have allowed me, a white man, to marry my wife, a black woman, and have a mixed child, while living in VA, even after the war.

      I don't agree with this young man's assessment but I will defend his right to think it, and say it, as long as he doesn't infringe upon my rights.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
      • Thor

        As long as Native Americans remain "Native" and on the reservation, they are subject to the laws and the force of treaty under which they were conquered. As a "Native" born American, I have chosen to live among the Americans, and have fought for MY country. Don't pretend you know how a Native American feels about the American flag. I am an American. I have tried to die for America, because the freedom and opportunity for expression springing from the advances of the white man have offered much more commune with nature than limiting me to the Spirit of the Foodgiver. Do not speak for me in your words of unappreciative psychophantic ramblings.

        December 6, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
      • 757Matt

        Thor, I applaud you for your service and dedication to the country.

        My point is, the American flag has flown over events in our history that wasn't all roses. I think the treatment of Native Americans has been deplorable over the years, from the history I've read, shows I've watched on the History Channel, PBS, ect. I've watched interviews with Native Americans that say they take issue with the American flag because of the history of abuse levied against their people in the past.

        If I offended you, I apologize. My comment was based on what I've read and watched on Native American history.

        December 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • A shame

        Thor, I would like to shake your hand sir. I really do hope their are more people like you out there that feel the same way you do.

        December 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • puffy

        I also am of native American decent i'm not registered with a tribe because I do not feel the government owes me anything because of what happened in the past like Thor I am proud to be an American and love our flag and what it stands for.

        December 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jambi

      @LunchBreak - you 100% correct... It is NOT about free slave why the civil war was fought , it was about keeping the union together. Lincoln , like Johnson, would sell his soul to the devil if it means preserving the Union.. The freedom of the slaves was not his primary goal

      December 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  60. melissa

    ....and are hated and judged because of it. It is and always will part of the south. check out some southren state flags, look at the resembalance, are you to tell me that these states are racist? no, just true to the south

    December 6, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • RG

      The confederate states of america, along with their flag, were founded because of the issue of "forcing people into labor at the point of a gun". People who had "slaves", whether white, black, indian, etc. were those who were TOO LAZY AND TRIFLING to do their OWN work.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
      • skynyrt

        Jefferson & Washington were slave owners.

        December 6, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
      • yoyojojo

        And we also don't hear in history class that black people owned slaves too...

        December 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Dee

    I think its great that this young AMERICAN can see this flag in that way. I agree with his statement about the US flag, to some a statement of racism. I hope he puts the Confederate flag back in his window.

    December 6, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      You should spend some time with a veteran, who has seen combat, who has pieces of him "over there", and who has seen what kind of government is "over there". Perhaps then you might understand what the United States flag truly represents. There is no doubt, from evidence such as the "Cornerstone Speech" given extemporaneously by Andrew Stevens, vice-president of the Confederacy, about what the basis for the separation of Southern states from the United States of America really was all about. When you do all of that, then you can comment wisely about what that American Flag stands for. ~a US Navy veteran with a few less pieces of his body.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
      • Brian

        Your repeated claims that Andrew Stevens statements spoke for all southerners is just ignorant at best ! Do you also claim that Joe Biden's statements speak for all Americans ?

        December 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tessa

      I understand that this flag was intended to be a symbol of pride or the south. But a group of individuals decided to make it their symbol of hate. I was born, raised, and still live in the south, but I will not fly this flag as a symbol of pride.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • melissa

      too often we only learn want they want us to in history class, thats how the breed the hate, how they control people, how can anything get accomplished if you can not agree. hate in your heart will make things impossible to fix things with your neighbor. we can not be truly united. if we were truly united then we would not have as many problems in this country and we could stand for anything as a people and make a diffrence. but they dont want that.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jambi

      I bet his major is college is "convenient idiot". He needs to read about slavery in Asia, Europe, Americas, and the Middle east. The North Americans got few slaves but were the most inhumane. he is a very ignorant and misguided young man

      December 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jambi

        That should be fewer then say the muslims in the ME

        December 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Chris

    This individual seems to right on target. Byron Thomas for president.

    December 6, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  63. Cruddy

    His concept of bringing everyone together with a symbol that divides shows a lack of critical thinking skills and basic communication skills. You cannot influence someone if your first act upon meeting them is to offend. Doing so only evokes strong emotion against what he appears to be trying to do. Further causing an issue is his lack of knowledge about the the history of the Civil war which he says he has researched. He evidently missed the articles of secession written by the slave states and the the cornerstone speech in 1861 before the war started. They specifically state that the Confederacy viewed the stance of the North as a threat to their rights to enslave black people. Regardless the symbol, the perception is what counts. The original meaning of the flag could have been anything but the truth is that most Blacks/African Americans view it as a symbol of racism. Trying to force feed someone never works when influencing their mindset.

    December 6, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  64. Bonnie Reeves

    Interesting. I am intrigued with hs comment about South Carolina as I have always felt South Carolina had a right to secede when it felt its contract with the the U.S. had been broken. I also strongly agree with his right to fly the flag as protected by free speech. Nonetheless, one cannot deny the horrific human rights' abuses that occurred in the Confederate States of America.

    December 6, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Cruddy

      I do not believe his right to fly the flag was ever a question in my mind. He has the right. However, his premise of bringing people together is what I have issue with.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Southern Shame

      Right to secede how?

      December 6, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
      • Phil

        By voting to do so.....genius.

        December 6, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      A flag from another country flown on American soil is either an invasion or treason.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
      • Phil

        What law can you cite for this. none I suspect

        December 6, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
      • Phil

        "It WOULD have been more severe and not up for debate if he was white; THAT is really what this young man is saying! This flag has been made to represent racisim and he is seeking to change it. By taking this icon and making it represent unity and pride, without regard to color, he can help to make it so that a white person CAN hang it up and not be judged as a racist for it; by doing this, he takes away it's power as a symbol of hatred. I respect him for this and feel that he was doing the right thing."

        December 6, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
      • Brian

        Have you ever seen the United Nations building in NY ? Idiot !!!

        December 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  65. californiamom

    byron thomas, i am proud of you. if i were your mom i would be flying a flag with your face on it because i would be so proud. we need more strong, forward thinking young men/women like you. very rarely do we read stories about stoic young men such as you. i am in my forties, asian, born and raised in america, and have always seen the confederate flag as racist. after reading this article and your opinions, beliefs and viewpoint, you have taught a forty something woman to look at things differently. keep on your path byron and you will help make positive changes in this world. thank you, i am proud of you. come on the rest of you young folks in byron's generation, he's right, change starts now with you. no violence, no hatred, find the peace, be the change.

    December 6, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Celia

      I really like your comment and totally agree : )

      December 6, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Am I Being Punked?

      PA LEEZ. Are you serious? I'm all for positive change, but trying to change the past and the history of this nation is ridiculous. What else should we change? Should we begin to alter the acts of the KKK also. Yes, he will possibly go on to do great things. But, please don't try to change history here. There's a lot of innocent blood attached to that flag. Some of it could have possibly belonged to some of this young man's ancestry.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tangerine

        He's not trying to change history. Any thinking person knows it's not possible. What he wants to do is try to open up others perspective and start a conversation which may end up healing the wounds that are still present.

        December 6, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Billie

    I like it when people always says the civil war was about slavery, but it wasn't, when it first started it was about preserving the union not slavery, it wasn't until after the battle of Antietam that President Lincoln gave the proclomation to end slavery. So everybody going on about the confederate flag is about slavery well so is the american flag because at first the union did not want to end slavery and also look at what the union did to the native americans forcing them off their land and putting them on reservations, and if you look through the history books native americans were the first slaves not the african americans...

    December 6, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • puffy

      All of the great empires of the past had slaves Egyptians mayans Romans i'm sure that at at some point in history most of us had slaves as ancestors

      December 6, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
      • Big Bob

        You're spot on Puffy. Slavery has always existed since the dawn of man. But it's only bad when whit-ey does it!

        December 6, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Southern Shame

      Really Billie? The Civil War was only about preserving the union? Why did the Union have to be preserved? Why did the Southern States secede and attack Fort Sumter? To ensure that their fat profits from slaves would continue. Yeah slavery has been around since the beginning of man, but most modern nations got rid of the awful practice in the mid-nineteenth century. The 'gentlemanly' confederates seceded and started a war so that they could keep their slaves while the north was doing everything it could to end the practice.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
      • Proud Southerner

        You got part of it right, it was about profit. While the north became industrialized, the south remained an agricultural economy. If the north could have still used slaves, there would never been a war. There was nothing altruistic in the north wanting to end slavery, it was only about the almighty dollar.

        December 6, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mick

        They were being crippled by the economic sanctions/tariffs that the Federal Gov't was imposing on them. They were also against what they viewed to be a centralization of gov't power away from state's rights. I would guess that the majority of people on here never knew that NY city wanted to succeed from the union years before the south did. There were also many other states that were on the verge of succeed from the union before the South did it.

        Go back and read up on Lincoln you will realize that he didn't think blacks and whites were equal. Lincoln wanted to gather all the blacks and send them back to Africa. You will also see the atrocities that the Northern states committed during that time such as a scorched earth policy, throwing anyone in jail that published a negative article on Lincoln.

        The last question you should ask yourself is why the US was the only country to fight a war to end slavery when every other country did it peacefully.

        December 6, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tangerine

        Fort Sumter was only attacked when the Federal navy entered the bay after being told very clearly that they would be fired upon if they went into Confederate waters without express permission. So, who really started it?

        December 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Bobby

    Wow. Go back to your plow, Hillbilly

    December 6, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  68. Mike

    This young man is exceedingly confused.

    December 6, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  69. Patrick

    "Heritage, not hate"?

    Wrong, it's a heritage OF hate.

    December 6, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • skynyrt

      Climb down off that soapbox. the north has nothing on the South when it comes to racism. If you think differently then you are not paying attention.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  70. Ivorian 90

    @puffy. I am proud of being an american don't get me wrong.I never said I was fully african. I am appreciating my cultural roots. Look I get the point that we need to move on as AMERICANS. But the reality of the situation, is that as African Americans we have a distinct history here in this country. That is different from the majority of caucasians in this country. I just refuse to ignore the past and completely move on. I love being American. An African American.

    December 6, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • puffy

      I understand I guess it just seems to me that by calling yourselves that you're the ones causing segregation.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • OldMike

      I really applaud this young man, if you want to be equal, act equal! We all have separate histories, continuing down the current path of dividing the country by identifying ourselves by our race will ensure that we have separate futures.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  71. casey

    This guy,unlike many people,is educated. It's a flag that stands for part of what developed this nation. Just because you choose to ignore it,doesn't mean the history goes away. This nation does have freedom of speech,its part of what sets us aside from other nations if you don't remember. If Dr.Martin Luther King fought for equality. If he could only see how it all turned out,I'm sure he would be extremely disappointed.

    December 6, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  72. Sunny Murchison

    The gentleman is prone to creating controversy! There are many other Southern media that reflect Southern pride. I come from a paternal long line of white Mississippi Southerners from LaFayette County. I was born in Memphis, Tennessee; however, raised here in Southern California. In 1993, when I attended Ole Miss Law Center, in Oxford, I socialized with all sorts of folks in town, and truly came to understand the pain and trauma the Southerners, black and white, continued to suffer, withno spiritual healing. Displaying the Confederate flag reminds us of an absurdly tragic period of U.S history, the Civil War.

    December 6, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Tessa

      Thank you.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Jess F.

    Forget the racism, it's an enemy flag and shouldn't be displayed anywhere...

    December 6, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  74. Tare

    The flag represents exactly what it was made for: racist bigotry. The idea that it can have a new meaning, one of pride, is an attempt by some to deny the fact that the south lost the war! In fact, it is a symbol of HATE second only to the Swastika. Free speech is and always has been limited to causing no harm to others. That an entire US college can not see this as a violation of the right to free speech is an affirmation that the south has never come to terms with it's loss, and is in fact still in denial!! Grow up! Find something you can really be proud of.

    December 6, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Tangerine

      Think carefully before you use the word "fact". Fact-the flag in question was nothing more than a battle flag. Fact-has anyone thought about why the South wanted to keep its slaves? The entire economy was based on slavery. Take away the base of any economy and obviously it will collapse.
      I'm from a Southern state. Why do we keep the memory alive? Because this part of the country was left in worse poverty than you can imagine, for 100 years after the end of this war. Why do I keep it alive? Because 100 of my uncles and cousins fought and died in this war so an aggressive oppressor wouldn't force them to follow a government they didn't believe in anymore. Yes, there has been (and still is) bitterness. There always will be. Part of that bitterness also has to do with the hypocrisy and lies spread by the North (to this day) that they invaded the Confederacy to eliminate slavery. The North didn't want to lose the huge amount of money they made off the export of cotton, that's the real reason. And before anyone says anything about my ignorance-I've studied this topic, on my own and in graduate school for more than 20 years, and I've studied it from both perspectives. Please don't fall for the "romanticised" version of this part of our history. Remember-history is written by the victors.

      December 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  75. adrian

    the confederate flag is known for racism, there is no changing what it stands for. if byron is so proud of his state then hang a state flag. he studied up on the confedaracy one semester and know he feels heks an expert. he is naive to think the confederate flag she be taken any other way than the racism it stands for.

    December 6, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • GeneralLee

      Your an idiot, the Confederate flag was used as a guide during battles or drills for the soldiers of the South, during the war, it was a marker on the battle field for those soldiers to see to know where they were suppose to be and what they were suppose to be doing. It was idiots like you who have made the flag a racist object.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      Look the confederate flag is about heritage. You can say its over racism all you want. The truth is the civil war was started over different views of government. Fact is both the north and the south had slaves. Also if you'd would go and do some research then you would find out that there were slave owners that were black. So before running that mouth check your history first!

      December 6, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
      • Cruddy

        What were the differences? People seem to want to gloss over the fact the "differences" was the states right to own slaves nothing more nothing less.

        December 6, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  76. Ivorian 90

    Where to begin with this post. Now this is a free country and this young man does have his freedom of speech. With that said I disagree with his position completely. And I am of his "younger generation". The majority of my african american peers also completely disagree with this kid. He is introducing a new way of thinking, but in my opinion and millions of other african americans. The flag represents a segregated jim crow south full of racism and prejudice. Flag to me represents southern white pride, for example preventing the little rock 9 from attending central high school. Represents the lynchings and beatings of my african american ancestors. I do not feel like a "half citizen" by the term african american. I am proud of my roots and what my people have been through. I have RESPECT for my older generation that experienced racism on a daily basis. I am not going to be hung up on the issue, but I am well aware of the history and atrocities that occured. I carry the term african american with pride. This young man needs to stay connected with his roots in the mother land. Again this is my opinion. As a 21 year old AFRICAN AMERICAN. I am not a BLACK american. Race is just a made up term, my skin isn't black btw. I have pride in my ethnicity.

    December 6, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • puffy

      I think that if you feel the need to put African in front of your American then maybe you should try living there. And maybe then you will be proud to be an American. Just saying

      December 6, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
      • Cruddy

        So its ok for the misguided one to have an opinion that you agree with but the moment someone has pride in being called African American then there is an issue? Worst kind of hipocrisy there is. I actually dont mind being called Black or African American. Words, like symbols, do not define who or what I am.

        December 6, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  77. Interesting Perspective

    It would be interesting to see if this young man has the same opinion if he leaves the safety of the college campus. Take a ride through the mountains & foothills of SC, flying this flag from the car. Stop at a few gas stations, diners, etc., and poll someone other than the folks that are on the internet reading this stuff... I would expect someone that doesn't look like him to try and take it or at least help him with his lack of experience with racism....

    December 6, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  78. restless

    We all see signs and symbols throught a different set of eyes therefore we should have different views as you have already pointed out. I can't fault that young man for trying to put out some positive energy out in this world. Especially now. and you know what I too agree I think the term "African" Should be removed from the term "African-American" Affirmative action is a joke. Its 2011 people and we are still mad about the same subjects let it go. We aren't doing anything but defeating ourselves you think insurgents down range care what your skin color is? or how you view the confederate flag? No! Bullets aren't selective...

    December 6, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  79. seoras gloine

    The Confederate battle flag is the flag of an independant foreign nation, which is actually what the Confederacy claimed to be. This nation existed only four years and no longer exists.

    Might as well hang a flag of South Vietnam or Soviet Russia in your dorm room.

    December 6, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I didn't know we accepted those countries as states after our wars with them? I didn't know we considered the people of those countries American citizens before and after ther war. I didn't know those countries were previously American soil. I must have read some different history books. Horrible anaology.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
      • James

        Way to blow apart that massively flawed logic.

        December 6, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  80. adam droke

    Im a white male from Tennessee and it makes me very proud to see someone stand up for whats truly right no matter the color or creed. We are so bogged down with hate and pain from the past that focus on it instead of how to better our lives and our childrens future.

    December 6, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  81. Jeremy

    He like many southerners don't see this flag of having anything to do do with race or slavery. The same could be said about american flag. Everyone has their opinion good or bad. My ancestors fought for the union which I have the utmost pride in but also have pride for ALL americans north & south who fought and died in that horrible waste of life war.

    December 6, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  82. kcMD

    I feel as if his point is being missed. He is simply stating what the flag means to HIM not what it may mean to everyone else or it's place in history. Just what he feels and sees when he looks at that flag. My favorite part of this is when he talks about no longer wanting to be called "African American". There is only a 30% DNA link between "African-Americans" in the US and people of West Africa. This is a very weak link between the two. No matter where you are from...each of us are 99.9% the same genetics wise. We use this 0.1% to make race a platform. It is a sociopolitical construct that needs to be ended because there is NO place for it. I hope to see this type of thinking continue in the generations to come. It is a SHAMEFUL thing for anyone to tell this young man what to see and feel when he looks at an object. He voices change and new way of thinking. KEEP IT GOING!

    December 6, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  83. puffy

    I'm not racist by any means but if it weren't for the south and the slave trade how many African-Americans would be here today. I think we should learn from the past not dwell on it. Nobody reading this post was ever a slave were you. And as far as the flag goes you won't see one on my wall but that doesn't mean that others shouldn't be allowed to fly it.

    December 6, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Tangerine

      Actually, the Southern states never imported slaves. All importation was done under the American Flag. The South did not initiate slavery in this county, the British did.
      It's also good to remember, the slave states that stayed in the Union didn't have their slaves freed. Check the Emancipation Proclamation-all slaves "freed" were in Confederate states. The Great Emancipator indeed.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
      • Jambi

        In the Americas, there were blacks living free else where in the Americas that would not be affected my the Emancipation proclamation. Cuba and Brazil were the biggest importer of slaves to the Americas

        December 6, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  84. yes

    You guys are forgetting that they published this because its exercising the right for free speech etc. Def an article to play devils advocate with but, I think there is a lot of research needed. I see both sides and I'm not racist but was taught the meaning of this in grade school , junior high, etc.

    December 6, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  85. mags

    I am so glad someone knows what the confederate flags stands for other than ignorant biggets displaying it. State rights and freedom of speech. Long live freedom and American history. I commend you Thomas.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      You and he should go read the Cornerstone Speech of 1861.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • AnotherRealAmerican

      biggets? Yes, that's what I thought. You are a fool to just like this numbnuts.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  86. Kofi Gyan

    I'm an Africa from Ghana, I think Thomas is right and i support him

    December 6, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Tyzao

      eh teh sein Kofi? and what did you think about your Fante brothers selling their Asante kin to the colonizing - have you even been to Elmina?

      pa pa yea

      Kojo

      December 6, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Jambi

      What the heck do know about this issue ... You don't have NOTHING to add to this debate since you nor your ancestors experienced the middle passage PERIOD

      December 6, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jambi

        SORRY : "ANYTHING"...

        December 6, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  87. sayitaintso

    He said he has NEVER experienced racism?!!!lol, I stopped reading this c@#p after that.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      You seem so disapointed in this. Sorry a black man in the south can't live up to your stereotype.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
      • Jambi

        That "boy" grew up in the South and knew his place lol .. . I black man flying the confederate flag is the worst kind of fool on the planet

        December 6, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • regulater5

      @sayitaintso, 100% right. This guy seize he never experimented racism, let's see his tone when he trys to by a car or a house, better yet apply for a loan to either one.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
      • Freedom

        And you are exactly the kind of black person holding back this country from moving on from racism. Perhaps getting a loan for your hourse or car has to do with the fact that its ridiculously hard to get either of those no matter what your color is if you don't make enough or have enough credit history. This economy is forcing banks to say no...not just to you cuz you're black...to everyone. Stop this affirmative action crap and "people hate me cuz i'm black"...no, actually, people hate it when you're excuse is "people hate me cuz i'm black". it has nothing to do with your being black. You aren't any more special than white people cuz you were slaves 200 years ago...You are free just like white people, so stop this ridiculous thought that if someone says no to you for something...it's coming from a racist point of view. I'm not saying racism doesn't exist, but dont' invent it so you have a platform to preach from.

        December 6, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • regulater5

        @Freedom, It's pretty evident you've been sleep in the 21st century. Those are just two example of racism. If you don't think all of the lynching, Jim Crow, etc..... is still prevalent in some people’s mind you’re a fool. Don't get me wrong, I was taught to treat everyone the same until they show you different. Who said anything about affirmative Action? This clown needs to read a few books, Scottsboro Boys, 100 Years of Lynching, The James Byrd Story, I can keep going, Emit Till. I’m talking about systematic racism. Have you ever been followed in a store, pulled over for no reason by the police, Shown less expensive items in a store because the salesman thinks you can't afford it because of your color. So for him to say he's never experimented racism is foolish.

        I Want you to research lynching in America. In the photos you can see small children watching black people being hanged and smoldering on fire. Those small children...What do you think they were taught about black people? Oh, by the way who said I was black?

        December 6, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  88. JasonP

    This poor dude is really off base.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  89. melissa

    Bryon, you are a very strong and wise young man. Don't let anyone take that away. You have to fight for what you belive in. What you are feeling right now, everyone who has ever made a differance in the world for a better place has felt. People, in truth, are afraid of change, for they fear the unknowen. However it must happen. We have been divided for too long. We must stand as a one Nation or divided we will fall. In time of need, should we care who helps us? Would we pass up opportunity, to better ourselves, just because of a flag from our past that so many people misunderstand and sadly some still misuse? I would hope not. Those who still think that this flag is racist, are keeping the hate alive. How many southren states have the Rebel flag somehow instilled on them. Is that to say that this states are racist? No, they are not. I'm from Arkansas, (born and raised!!), It is a very beautiful place. There is a pride in the south you can not find anywhere else, I've been from sea to sea. Keep on doing what your doing, you are in the right. And by the way, I am white and have had to deal with a lot of racism against me. I have many friends of different races, alot of hispanic. I hear too much about being white I can do anything (this is simply not true), or about how white people are racist againt their race. I do not feel this way. I do not see the color of someone, I care only of their heart. I ,too, am tired of being a color. If people would try to understand that maybe because something doesn't go "their way" that it might just be them, instead of screaming, racist, then alot of the hate would die.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  90. Lonnie

    Regardless of what you think about the flag stuff- can we at least focus on the message he is trying to get across in this story? It's time to move on, leave the hate behind.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  91. Brian

    This kid is a proud American, and it is refreshing to see.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  92. KG

    Reminds me of Dave Chappelle Black White Supremist skit. Lol

    December 6, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Cruddy

      I thought it was hilarious at the end where he divorced his white wife for being a "n.... lover". I wonder if the Black Confederate sollders had the same mindset? Talk about the power of mental manipulation.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jambi

      FUUNNNNY :-))

      December 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Greg

    People like Chris Mathews condemn the South; as if, the soil corrupts the soul. Catholicism is a systemic corruption; which, gives great power to a small few, but a Chris Mathews is proud to be part of the religion of the Inquisition. Many in the south thought slavery was a win-win situation; partly because the slaves that came here would have still been slaves, but in Africa. Yes, there was systematic problems in the South and Slavery was wrong. But the Civil War just impoverished the South and the Blacks along with it; thus, causing a battle between the impoverished. Slavery still goes on but ignorant people see it as a Southern issue rather than a systemic issue; which, has no boundaries. The North had it and Africans themselves had it and still does.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  94. Larry

    Two amazing things: First off, the amount of flat stupidity in the posts, but that's not really amazing, just usual. Second, a BLACK MAN admitting that blacks can be racist? HOLY CRAP!

    December 6, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  95. RIchard R

    the south was going to grant slaves freedom for serving in the army. a small group of people have to ruin something for everyone. Like what he said in the interview the American Flag represents freedom and liberty but to Native Americans it is a sign of genocide and hatred. The swastika has religious meaning for those who live in the East but it also is a symbol or the Nazi. I hate how people think im a racist becasue I have the rebel flag in my window. I am proud that my family fought for the south and wanted to protect their rights and freedoms.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • restless

      We all see signs and symbols throught a different set of eyes therefore we should have different views as you have already pointed out. I can't fault that young man for trying to put out some positive energy out in this world. Especially now. and you know what I too agree I think the term "African" Should be removed from the term "African-American" Affirmative action is a joke. Its 2011 people and we are still mad about the same subjects let it go. We aren't doing anything but defeating ourselves you think insurgents down range care what your skin color is? or how you view the confederate flag? No! Bullets aren't selective...

      December 6, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  96. Black Man

    To think outside the box on a issue as to putting up something that represents Racism, unequality,injustice,descrimination,lynchings,slavery just is thinking outside your brain...Somethings you just dont go there with..Like displaying a Confederate flag for everyone to see.. What about the right of the person who is offended by this or even haunted by this..That Flag has a haunting history for a nation of Black People in the South YOUNG AND OLD..

    December 6, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • southernpride

      until people like your self stop thinking that way it will always be racist. the wars over men wormer dropped the big one, just let it go, this young blackman is correct us flag means the same to native americans, us flag is a sign on freedom, pride, this young man feels the same way southernpride in full stride. dont judge him because he is black and want to show pride and to turn a symbol around from what people think it means, we are all americans none of us was born in the motherland, I am italian by blood but i am 100% american

      December 6, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
      • Jambi

        Any way you look at it, the confederate flag represents hatred and cruelty towards blacks. No amount of revision will be able to change that PERIOD. It is for the same reason that Germany doesn't allow the flying of the swastika banner

        December 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tangerine

        @Jambi-the flag that everyone equates with hate and slavery is nothing more than a battle flag. As for hate and racism-do some research and see how violent racism was in the North at this time. They are the ones that enacted Jim Crow.

        December 6, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Bubba

    Wow, that is one stupid black man. What else can you say? Dumber than a sack of hair.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • southernpride

      really bubba, go back to school and educate yourself.

      December 6, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Jambi

      Agree, that is on ignorant dumb a s s black fool

      December 6, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  98. Sleigher

    They say history is written by the victors. The Civil War was a lot more nuanced then we are taught. There were union officers who threatened to quit if Lincoln freed the slaves and Confederate officers who wanted the south to free them themsleves so the North couldn't say it was all about slavery. As someone else mentioned there where Free Blacks who fought for the Confederecy because for them it was a states rights issue. Was the slavery issue part of it, yes, but it wasn't the only part and we forget that. Saying that is like saying WWII was all about the Holocaust when we didn't really know what was going on until we were on the ground in Europe. History is rarely as straight forward as we would like, and it is nice to see a young person who understands that. He is opening a discussion into are history and that is always a good thing even if it offends someone. Discussions keep things fresh in our minds and keep history fron repeating.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Blacks who fought with southerners were mostly forced. Those they did willingly were scarce. The issue of states rights was the state's right to have slaves. I dont know why this is disputed so much. The southern economy had alot to do with the export of agricultural goods...especially to Europe (hence why they tried to get the Brits to enter the war on their side...even though Britian outlawed slavery many years prior – ironic). You're not going to find many slaves that will fight for their own enslavement unless they are stupid, dupped or forced.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  99. larry

    How stupid! I bet this guy wouldnt feel this way before the civil war....or would he.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • ahb

      Oh, but you have lived before the civil war ? No you haven't.
      Maybe you have talked to someone who experienced this, but if you haven't done that either, than you don't need to call him stupid.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  100. jeffrey

    Well that must mean I can hang a Nazi flag with a swastika on it. Since it's foundation was German pride and unity, I proud to say I'm German. I will just ignore all of the hate and division brought about under that flag, I'll just look at one part, the good part.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • JasonP

      Good point

      December 6, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • southernpride

      the nazi flag was a symbol of one mans desires to wipe out an entire race because they wasnt pure arians, the nazi flag is 100% hatred and isnt even in the same field as the confederate flag, southerns including the kkk didnt kill million of blacks. get a clue numbnutz

      December 6, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
      • Southern Shame

        No, but they enslaved millions of them. But good job not being quite as bad as Nazi Germany.

        December 6, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
      • Jambi

        WRONG - it was for a greater Germany : LEBENSRAUM. Slavery was for the support of the southern economy. You need to go read a book

        December 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      You can hang a Nazi flag. It is a form of freedom of speech.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • kcMD

      Do you know what the swastika stands for? The symbol itself represents luck. You will see it used by many religions and does not carry the meaning that the Nazi's gave it by using it. Your comment alone is exactly what this is about. Anyone can think, feel, or see whatever they choose when looking at an object.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      Actually it is against the law to publicly display a swastika. Bikers get busted for them all the time.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
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