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. reality

    I applaud this young man for thinking outside the box. it would serve us all well to do it more often.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • larry

      This is not thinking outside the box. Its an insult to Americans especially African Americans. Plain stupid!

      December 6, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
      • southernpride

        larry what part of you was born in africa, my guess is zero. drop the dramatics. we should all be proud of our hertiage. but none of us have one once of our native land other than hertiage. unless you was born in africa and now have american citizenship then you are african-american, if your birth certificate say new york city ny then your just a blackman of african decent, same as I am of itailian decent.

        December 6, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
      • Jason

        Why is it such an insult if he takes pride in a Flag that Blacks took pride in during the Civil War and who Southerners freed in order to further the cause of State's Rights. Why is it people feel they need to inject race into America? Get over the Race and be a nation of pride. Should people fear the American Flag too, because it was flown before the Civil War. This country should stop counting race and unite as one people under one flag as Americans. This young man is trying to push that but ignorant people like you larry defend the status quo.

        December 6, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
      • Jeff


        You're sorely mistaken in your history. Blacks did fight on the Confederate side...but your reasoning as to why is very wrong. Towards the end of the Civil War, southerners were low on supplies and troops. They forced slaves that were left from either not hearing about the Emacipation Proclamation or having no where else to go. Many slaves were oblivious to what was happening...its not like they had the freedom to get information. Many slaves were freed because Union soldiers freed them along the way (although some units abused the slaves just as southerners did). I would say though, if there were any slaves that willingly fought against the Union, they were about as scarce as you can get.

        December 6, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • JasonP

      He's not thinking outside the box, he's thinking without a brain

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

      Maybe someone can put his brain back in his skull?

      December 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Peter Fortune

    There would be no questioning what would have happened if he were white, the flag would have been ripped off the wall and both the flag and the white boy would have been tossed to the street, this is just another example of the political correct double standard.....tell me if I am wrong.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • You're Wrong

      Plenty of white people show confederate flags.

      December 6, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
      • Thor

        Yes, the ones hidng under white sheets.

        December 6, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thea

      It's only a double standard in the same way Whites owned slaves and Blacks did not Pete. Because the two groups had different experiences – the flag had different meanings. No different than a Nazi and a Jew would perceive the Nazi flag differently

      December 6, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
      • Justin

        But blacks did own slaves too...

        December 6, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Tiffinie

      Yes, it WOULD have been more sever 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 10:49 am | Report abuse |
      • Black Man

        What hes doing is allowing white people with hidden agendas of racism to hide behind that flag and call it patriotism or love for being a southerner.. I call call it the modern day kkk! They gotta hide behind something if its not the white sheet its a flag

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

        Cool, next he should dress up as a Klansman and defy the myth of them not liking blacks. After that he can dress as a gollywog and go to Harlem.

        December 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tessa

        Yes...just like rappers and some others have taken ownership of the N word and made it their own. Back in the day, those were fighting words.

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

        He is another example of much too much white nooky can mess up a black man's brain . Checkout fools like Clarence ThomAss, OJ, and now this young uncle Anuz

        December 6, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • streetdude66

      In Smyrna, Ga there is a firehouse that flies the old state flag which was part Confederate flag with the state emblem on it. The firemen that work there refuse to fly the new state flag because they still believe in the Confederacy and refuse to admit being defeated by the North. You guys lost the Civil War and slavery has been abolished. Live with it and let freedom ring for EVERY American

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

      Actually if he was white I could comprehend easier. it only bothers me because his argument is so flawed.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • derek

        His argument is based on his opinion, as the article states. It doesn't have to be based on modal logic or some debate form.

        December 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • Cruddy

        Just because you have an opinion doesn't make it right. If he is going to put his opinion out there as if it is a fact then it should be logical and completely factual.

        December 6, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. AnotherRealAmerican

    once u go black you cant go confederate

    December 6, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. Anthony

    I think this kid needs to go read The Cornerstine Speech given by the VP of confederacy in 1861which states that the black man's natural position is slavery, and this is the reason for the civil war.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  5. p41

    He doesn't know any better; he just got off the boat. lmfao

    December 6, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. zkoobs

    Thank you for having the courage and enlightenment to say what you have. You should be proud as well as your parents. Its time to stop the division and the stereo typing. Let's move on and finally flourish as ONE NATION UNDER GOD INDIVISIBLE WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL

    December 6, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  7. Herb (12th Apostle)

    The confederate flag is a symbol of division. It is an anti-U.S. symbol. There are plenty of ways to display pride in southern heritage. The colors of a defeated attempt to disband the union isn't one of them.

    December 6, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sogooden

    Herman Cain Part deux

    December 6, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mabelrc

    He says he doesn't see the confederate flag as a racist symbol because he researched its true meaning and that anyone that does see it as a racist symbol is ignorant. What does he think about the swastika. It, originally, is a symbol for good luck. I wonder if he'll be hanging that up soon. Once we have imbued something with cultural meaning I think its ridiculous to say that only ignorant people recognize that meaning. I understand he is expressing himself and trying to make a change but trying to erase the cultural/symbolic meaning that an ojbect, like a flag or swastika, has is akin to forgetting why those meanings are there. If we forget our past we are in danger of repeating it. Also, to say that people that see the flag as a racist symbol is arrogant.

    December 6, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • anon

      You bring up a good point. Keep in mind though only in the western world is the swastika totally demonized. In Asia the swastika is displayed at many Buddhist temples and is used to mark temples on maps. There are also many other forms of the swastika in terms of direction shape etc that are not readily recognized by the western world.
      I believe that by taking any symbol that has been used for hate and turning it into something good you can promote healing. I have to agree with his thought process here. The best way to render an idea or a symbol useless is to defuse it. Maybe this is the sort of defusing that is needed. If anything it makes the discussion a productive one allowing all sides to weigh in and hopefully put an end to all the racism coming from all sides.

      December 6, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bill Clinton

    ★ ☆ ★ ☆ RON PAUL 4 PRESIDENT 2012 ☆ ★ ☆ ★

    December 6, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  11. p41

    Ask him how many time he's been pulled over by a cop...while walking?

    December 6, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Chad Lyon

      How can you be pulled over if you are walking?

      December 6, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dave

    Why is this guy a joke? Too me he's right on target. We are not to forget our history, but we do need to move on. He's moving on.... Get over it...

    December 6, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  13. Furious Styles

    OBVIOUSLY, the school system in which he graduated from glossed over the true mean of what that flag stood for. We can thank all of the high school History classes that dedicate 1 paragraph to that time period.

    December 6, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • miked

      I went to a public high school in the Northeast and we learned about the confederation and what they stood for.

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

      What does it matter though? This isn't the 1860's anymore. Don't you think its about time we all move on instead of holding on to thoughts of revenge for things that took place a very long time ago. If we can use the Middle east as an example of why not to hold on to hate. Shia and Sunni have been fighting for a thousand years over which side was the successor. Muslims and Jews have been fighting for thousands of years as well. All they do is continue to gripe of how they have been wronged by others instead of working together to do right for each other. Further as the boy mentioned in his interview the American flag to Native Americans symbolizes genocide yet I don't hear them complaining about it or calling it racist or any of the above. Those tired old ideas and longing to hold onto things that really have no relevance in today's world is exactly what is holding society back from understanding one another.

      December 6, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jeremy

    Thousands of blacks DID fight for the cofederacy. A fact.

    December 6, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Of course they did, as slaves

      December 6, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Chad Lyon

      "A Fact" Yes but you have placed it out of context. Fighting by choice and being forced to fight are two very different things.

      December 6, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
      • anon

        Check your facts buddy there were freed men that fought for the south by choice too. Also there were slaves forced to fight for the north until the proclamation. Unfortunately history is rewritten by the victor countless times over to suit their own needs at the time. Anyone that believes that sort of thing doesn't happen in America is ignorant absolutely.

        December 6, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Cruddy

      Sounds like Stockholms syndrome to me! I'm pretty sure there were some black people that fought for the South. Did you ever give that a thought and ask the question....Why would a educated, mentally competent black person fight to preserve a system that considered his very being less than human? Would you have fought to preserve that system if it was you and your loved ones in the shoes of the slaves?

      December 6, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  15. p41

    As offensive as it may be...you sir are an uncle t0m !

    December 6, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  16. mfx3

    The only way to destroy a symbol is to redefine that symbol's meaning. Do this, and you'll never see another "confederate flag" again.

    December 6, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  17. Charles W. Artis

    We are supposed to be 1 nation under God, not one northern and 1 southern one.
    "States rights" is Alabama governor George Wallace said when he was trying to enforce
    segregation laws. If it wasn't for Thurgood Marshall, first as lawyer, later as supreme court
    justice states rights would mean segregation.That what the stars and bars are symbolic for.

    December 6, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  18. clayton

    That is one hell of a young man. Bravo sir.

    December 6, 2011 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Yes.... what an obliging young Uncle Tom!

      December 6, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
      • Dave

        Uncle Tom – who's the racist now? He's moving forward – you're still stuck in the past..

        December 6, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  19. p41

    Can you say "Uncle Ruckus, no relation" (Boondocks).

    December 6, 2011 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  20. julian

    Had that flag succeeded , he would be in that university as a cleaner only.

    December 6, 2011 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Cullen

      Not likely,

      The Confederacy was not some "Hate the black man" nation as you and other ignorant individuals would think. Had the South won, the slaves would have been freed eventually and without the bitterness and hate attached to it that was seen.
      Please try to educate yourself on history...

      December 6, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      You are the actual racist. I read this guys article and thought he was brilliant. I too believe the flag represents states rights. I am white and from the south, if you are not from the south you do not understand. Not everyone down here is a racist (racist are everywhere north, south, east, west and they come in every color). To me the flag is about heritage, like civil war reenactments. I find your comment offensive that you think if the north had not won the war, black rights would not have changed and this smart young man would have just been a janitor.

      December 6, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  21. kris

    This kid is smart. Finally someone is looking at the Confederate flag in a "non racial" way. Maybe we can all learn from this black man's point of view. Keep it flying!

    December 6, 2011 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      ...but of course, just like the Swastika is not a real symbol of hate; it was originated from the Christian cross. Let's start looking at it too..... from a different point of view! (I am biting my toungue buried in my cheek.)

      December 6, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
      • Well Traveled

        The swastika has a current following of over 500,000,000 people, as a Hindu fertility symbol. Should they realign their beliefs to satisfy Western Sensibilities?

        December 6, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  22. Sean Cook

    An interesting article for anyone working on campus, especially in Housing/Residence Life. I know that "public display" policies come up a lot for discussion. In many cases, people have been asked to remove items from windows and other public areas, which this student did on his own. But later, he was told to remove it from his living area. That crosses the line for me, for sure. Interested in reading thoughts from people who think it didn't, and their justifications.

    December 6, 2011 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
    • roe

      This guy really need to talk to someone that experienced things he himself has yet to (and hopefully never will). People can say what they want about the flags but we all know that there is more involved than any of us may ever know. politics coupled with hate and most times utter ignorance. My grandmother is from the south and listening to the stories from her childhood would make one think twice about what most anything in america represents. Freedom i have to agree with him is a big deal to us young black men in america, but that does not mean freedom to be blind. I would challange this young man to look into his past. Find out what history lies behind him. Then mabe he will truely understand why this is such an issue. And as for the north and south thing. Any person that can read knows that this was not just the south and not just black that where oppressed by this flag. Even YOU white people have experienced this class and social warfare related to this flag. Educate yourselves. We live in the same state the history books talk about. P.S taxation without representation is very much alive. No schools no roads no jobs just false hopes and two partys. Take your pick.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  23. billy5521

    This is hilarious. Who cares which flag he chooses to hang in his window? Its his right...And for all the historians shifting the slavery/racist motive card, niether the Union, or the Confederacy thought blacks were anything other than subhumans worthy of nothing except what they got. At least the Confederates were open about it. Lincoln wanted control; not freedom for blacks. The union soldiers committed exponentially more crimes against blacks than any of their "slavemasters". Sound familiar, proponents of "party politics"? The Dems tell blacks "you'll never get ahead, so depend on our handouts, and give us your vote"; the GOP tells them "you can be anything you want to be, we just won't let ya."

    Read textbooks to pass exams; to know the truth, read the notes and manuscripts by those that actually fought in the war–archived in libraries across the nation...

    December 6, 2011 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Dion Green

      that is a good point, but you cannot deny the fact that many of the racial atrocities committed against blacks were done with the rebel flag in the background. so "the racist car" has to be played. and as bad as the north was, that is one of the reasons the falag we use today is not the same as the falg used then. but i agree, he does have the right to hang his flag.

      December 6, 2011 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
      • billy5521

        Of course it has to be played; there's no question about what it stood for. And for the record, while I support his "right" to hang the flag, I think he's absolutely nuts. : )

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

        For Dion Green. Show us some photos. For Billy.Why do you think he is nuts? he has as much right as anyone.

        George Purvis
        Southern Heritage Advancement Preservation and Education

        December 8, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
      • No One Is Safe

        @george – i think you mean "Southern Heritage Inventors of 'Truth'"...

        December 16, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • George Purvis

        No one–

        Are you addressing me? If so I have an entire website you can go to and correct with factual information.let's see what you have. Bring your best.

        George Purvis
        Southern Heritage Advancemnat Preservation and Education.

        December 16, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Flying K

    Finally – a black man who truly understands what it is really about. It is unfortunate the meanIng has been perverted by racist and hate groups. To me, it represents Southern heritage, freedom, & state's rights.

    December 6, 2011 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  25. Greg

    Thomas should pay more attention to the history of the Civil War. The state's rights so vigorously defended by the Confederacy included the right of white men to own black men, women and children as property. It really is past time to put away Confederate propaganda.

    December 6, 2011 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd Thomas

      You do know the South had plans of their own to abolish Slavery right? Slaves were a very large investment very similar to buying a car in todays times. The South wanted to slowly abolish the system.

      December 6, 2011 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
      • Thor

        Ok, so it is alright to "plan" to stop beating your wife and kid. Just so long as you "are planning" to stop it ... that's ok. So, that means, if I decide to imprison someone falsely, it is ok... so long as I "plan" to release them. ... Yes... it is the same thing. A human being is not property, never has been meant to be that way. ALL men are created equal... Both (men and wo-men).

        December 6, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  26. YoMama

    The real story here is if a white student had done the same the ACLU and every bleeding heart would be out there condemning him.

    December 6, 2011 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  27. JoeProfet

    My aplause him, he is living the American dream and is a free-thinking young man. Outstanding article and he touches on the very crux of what is wrong with our nation today. People are overly sensitive and interiorize everything to the point that nothing can be said without offending someone. I loved his point about how the American flag itself could be a symbol of oppression to native Americans. Too right! Rise above it, America! Excellent job, Byron Thomas!!

    December 6, 2011 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
  28. outlook

    He got every one of you talking.

    December 6, 2011 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • JoeProfet

      You too!

      December 6, 2011 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  29. tizbad

    The South Will Rise Again!!!!

    December 6, 2011 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis (formerly from Georgia)

      ...and when it does, you will REGRET it.

      December 6, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • miked

      It's been how long now?

      December 6, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  30. johan valles

    Bottom line is this is America. let him hang whatever flag he wants for whatever reason. If you dont then I guess the American flag doesent represent freedom. Look at what we allow the Westborough church to do.

    December 6, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  31. brian mcintosh

    i applaud this young american for seeing past all the age-old bias that is virtually destroying our country. the melding together of all idealisms and the freedom to do so is paramount to ourselves and our hopes for the future of all persons.

    December 6, 2011 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  32. Aremu Adetoro

    Hope Nigerians and the authorities there from this and take a cue, the human spirit is desirous of freedom, and America is land of LIBERTY. God Bless America

    December 6, 2011 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
  33. Jake

    I'm sick and tired of this.. Why is it a problem if he displays a confederate flag?! The flag's origin was not meant for racism, that was adopted later by the KKK. Similar to the Swastika, it's symbol was not originally a nazi symbol...
    America has so many double standards and I am sick of it. Somebody can raise a mexican flag, an Israeli flag, but ohh, no, it's offense.. What happened to free speech??
    This kid has every right to fly any flag he wants, confederate or not. Anyone is, black, white, mexican, asian, whatever. Political correctness at it's worst...

    December 6, 2011 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
    • trainwreck

      the swastika is a luck symbol in other cultures. the confederate flag however is a flag of rebellion against the USA for states rights, primarily that right to own and control others. he has the right to fly it but dont pretend it is a patriotic flag

      December 6, 2011 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
      • Todd Thomas

        Another person who should really read up on their history. The primary cause of the Civil War was not even based around Slavery but States Rights and Taxation.

        December 6, 2011 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
      • Jake

        Despite if it is part of a rebellion or not, it still holds historical significance. Speaking of rebellion, what about those who desecrate the flag as a form of protest. That's a form of rebellion, how about we ban that too?
        Speaking of which, that is correct, the civil war was not fought over slavery primarily as you said. It was a war about separation and state rights, but you cannot condense it to simply 'The civil war was fought over slavery'

        December 6, 2011 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
      • knows history

        @Todd Thomas

        You mean a State's right to keep slavery lawful? Let's not twist history by copping out of the actual cause. Dress it up however you want. The primary point of contention between the North and the South was the issue of slavery.

        The creation of the Confederate States of America was so the Federal Government didn't abolish slavery in the South, because their economy thrived from it.

        December 6, 2011 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
    • ChuckMac

      Similar to what's going on in Iraq....the Confederates (after the war) were insurgents. They were a breakaway element of the government who wanted their own extreme ways to become the norm. Yes...some blacks did fight for the Confederacy, but only after being promised their freedom. This further lets us know that the economic back bone of the Confederacy was slavery. When we try to skirt this fact.....it's laughable.
      Flying the flag in the name of "pride" only shows our lack of historic knowledge....as opposed to the stories we tell ourselves to soften some of our less flattering history.

      December 6, 2011 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        97-99% of southern whites did not own slaves with it being more likely 99%. Flying the flag was not about racism. It came to be that way in the 50s and 60s and is why I personally do not believe in flying it or it remaining over states capitals or flags that did not raise it until the civil rights era out of racism. However, if you have legit pride in southern heritage or had family fight for the confederacy and honor that by flying the flag there is no problem with that. My fathers side fought on the confederacy as a product of the state they grew up in, there was no slaves as they were poor mountain men. My mothers side didn't come until the 1900s from Ireland however other family members did and were forced into the northern army when they couldn't land at desired southern ports. There is a lot of history that is ignored and a lot of history that is sensationalized and thats not real history. History is knowing the facts free of emotion.

        December 6, 2011 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
      • Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis (formerly from Georgia)

        Many men, women and children have died for Freedom.....Every man or woman has the right to believe whatever he or she wants, and every child do not have that same right because a man or woman dictates what they should believe. If this Black man wants to fly the "Rebel" flag, let him.

        December 6, 2011 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  34. leo

    iI am also from the south. and think no black person should fly the flag. it stands for the vey thing that has oppressed blacks fror years. I think racism is very much live and well in america. and that flag just means white

    December 6, 2011 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Guess what, that's not your call... If he wants to fly a flag, he can fly any flag he wants. Are you not fond of freedom?
      Either you are incredibly ignorant or you are not from the south, learn your heritage, the confederate flag was not a symbol of 'hate' in the confederacy, it was only represented as hate by the KKK...

      December 6, 2011 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
  35. AnotherRealAmerican

    Dave chappelle made a skit about this.

    December 6, 2011 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
  36. CraigB


    (Anyone who still believes the old whitewash that the Civil War wasn't about slavery and racism needs to check this out a.s.a.p.)

    December 6, 2011 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Craig I posted this earlier in response but Ill post it for you as well. Taking a liberal professor's book as the ultimate word is pretty stupid. If slavery was the true reason behind the war, explain slave states not only joining the union but being guaranteed the right to keep their slaves. Explain VA and its generals being courted up until the day they succeeded to lead the armies of the north. Explain why it took 2 years to pass the emancipation proclamation and on numerous occassions Lincoln stated the war was not about slavery (in fact his wife owned more slaves that Lee and Longstreet combined-not hard b/c they didn't have any.) VA succeeded b/c of the violations it saw in govt policy plain and simple, if slavery were the issue it wouldn't have been offered the ability to join the north with slavery intact. As for the comments about racism, who the hell do you think you are? What school did you go to that you think the north wasn't racist (hell go to Boston or Buffalo now and tell me it still isn't)? They rioted and killed blacks in the street during the civil war. There was no love lost between the vast majority of northerners and blacks and to even claim so shows so much ignorance that I probably shouldn't even respond to you. There is so much history that people like you do not know but comment on all the time. For example, did you know by percentage free blacks in the south were 10X more likely to own slaves than whites? Did you know the armies of the north were filled essentially with slaves from Ireland who were forced to enter the north's ports via a blockade and were forced into the army at gunpoint while exiting ships? Did you know the major US cities in the north rioted against the war and forced militarization? Probably not b/c that would require reading actual history and not just crap that likes to stir things up

      December 6, 2011 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
      • AnotherRealAmerican

        I am brown and just going to one of the civil war confederate museums gave me the chills.

        December 6, 2011 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  37. Jack Mihov

    Interesting young man. Thinking differently is not a crime. This kid is clearly not a racist and is trying to bridge the gap between the races in his own way.

    December 6, 2011 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  38. Lvanhelsing

    This guy is a white liberal's worst nightmare...a black man who thinks for himself...fortunately there seems to be a growing number of us in America today...socialism hasn't worked for our people for the 40 years we've tried it...it's not going to work now...black people (and all people) need to depend on themselves and their families...not government. Government is the quickest way to generational poverty.

    December 6, 2011 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  39. Walter

    I recently spent a night researching this and think before anyone states their opinion, they should do the same. You would find that there were not only white slave owners but also black slave owners. Slaves were not treated as badly as Hollywood would make you believe as we are the Bible Belt, and though their were some slave owners that beat their slaves their also husbands today that beat their wives. I feel that the reason that the Confederate Flag has gotten a bad rap is because groups such as the KKK have adopted it as their.

    December 6, 2011 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  40. Concerned

    The Confederate flag was the flag of the WRONG side......PLAIN AND SIMPLE......PERIOD!!!!!!!!

    December 6, 2011 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
    • .006%

      I totally support this young Americans' right to display the flag. His reasons for having pride in the flag have nothing to do with biggotry or hate, just pride where he comes from (while in Iraq I displayed the California flag). To the rest of the "know it alls"....The United States is not perfect and NIETHER ARE YOU! If you don't like the way the big government is doing things .....vote. And if you can't pack up your tent and put it in the VW bus and make it to the polls in November.....there is always Canada!

      December 6, 2011 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
    • therealhawkman

      And so was the flag of the American Revolution in it's day. Remember? Betsy Ross, the flag with thirteen stars and strips? Oh, and perhaps you have heard of the Gadsden Flag (Don't Tread on Me).

      December 6, 2011 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  41. Honest

    Kudos to him for going against the grain. This country has the credit of making sure it remembers the past but boy, oh boy, do we like to hate! We also like to segregate ourselves and stick labels on everything. It's just sad. Look at all these comments and all the anger written here.

    I never thought of the confederate flag as a symbol of racism, but a symbol of the south and it's culture: sweet tea, hot weather and hospitality. Just because the Klan used it doesn't mean they should be credited for it. They also used burning crosses – so should the symbol of Jesus Christ be included as well?

    I don't think he's ignorant at all – I think he's brave and honest about how he feels and for that I commend him. When something has too much negative power what do we do? We glorify it loud and clear with anger. What we should do is remove that power and return it to a neutral symbol to be redefined no matter what it is. Otherwise we give these symbols power over us.

    I'd also like to point out that the school administrators were the ones who made the stink, not the students. That says something to me, too.

    December 6, 2011 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
  42. Sashatree

    While I respect his right to display this flag, and can theoretically understand some of his positions, I can't help but feel that this is akin to Jews for Hitler.

    December 6, 2011 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Mason

      <-laugh, Jews for Hitler,....Well there were a number of Jews who did fight for Hitler.

      December 6, 2011 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
      • Cruddy

        yeah but how did that turn out for them and their families?

        December 6, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  43. Jason Stuckey

    The American flag and the Confederate flag are both symbols of racism and oppression. This country's foundation was built upon racism, oppression, rape, murder, trickery and deception, and this idiots distorted views on the Confederate flag dishonors the memories of all Black people, past and present who lost their lives in the fight for freedom and equality. I'm wondering if he did this just to get attention, because no self respecting Black man with an ounce of sense would defend the Confederate flag. Most Black people don't take pride in the American flag, because we know what it represents.

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

      OK, Jason, just who raped whom, who signed the Declaration of Independance? And who amongst them was shot by the "shot heard round the world"? Do you even know who was the first American who died opposing the British in Boston at the Boston massacre?

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

      Awww, well if it represents such ugly things for you perhaps you should return to the country where you can watch your wife and children being chopped to death with machetes cause this or that faction has decided to take over TODAY. See if that gives your poor broken heart a flag to take pride in.

      December 6, 2011 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd Thomas

      You should really try to read a book or two before making an ass of yourself.

      December 6, 2011 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
    • airframe89

      Mr. Jason Stuckey

      If you do not take pride in the American Flag why are you still in this country? I can tell you why.... you enjoy sleeping under the blanket of freedom that has been fought for over many wars. A freedom that is actually a privledge, not a right. What have you done to contribute to the freedom of this country? Have you ever been in the military? Fought in any wars? Been to any third world countries and actually witnessed true oppression? Your statments lead to the impression that you have a limited vision as to what the real world is like. If you do not respect my flag and what it truly stands for, excercise your freedom and leave!!!

      December 6, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  44. white in ohio

    future president of the United States of America

    December 6, 2011 at 6:37 am | Report abuse |
  45. Woody Brown

    Stockholm syndrome.

    December 6, 2011 at 6:35 am | Report abuse |
  46. HMC

    Newsflash, children think like children, lol! It's pretty silly for someone who admits he hasn't been a victim of racism to proudly display something that deservedly or not, has been adopted as a beacon for those who perpetuate disgusting bigotry. Understand that, son...whatever the flag "means" to you is irrelevant. People who despise your black a** so much they would beat you mercilessly, drag you behind their truck, then hang you, JUST because of the pigment in your skin adopted that flag as a symbol of their hate. Not everyone, but enough to make it representative.

    There are a ton of different ways to show Southern pride than to put up that flag. IMO, smells like he just wants attention. Why put it in the window? Wants to be that cool, "different" guy. He probably roots against all his home sports teams too.

    If I ever saw you in person, Id give you a big middle finger. However, don't be mad...to me the middle finger means you're number one!

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

      HMC I think your last line in that post sums up Byron's problem more than anything that has been said here. He talks about what it means to him without seeming to take into account all the people who suffered under that flag and what it meant to them. He also seems to dismiss that there are a lot of people who currently think that flag is racist and proudly fly it to personify and exemplify that racism. People who would given the opportunity, throw him in the trash bin bleeding and beaten.
      You can't just declare that something has a new meaning because you don't see it the other way. Thinking against the majority isn't necessarily a bad thing but isn't that also what murderers, peadophiles and other criminals do? They just see it a different way, that's all.. BZZZT! WRONG! Thanks for playing! It would be like hanging a noose in a tree and calling it a swing. The states rights that they were angry about losing were the "rights" to abuse and own people. I saw a couple other comments here about how people beat their wives or do damage to other people now so what's the difference. They're right that there's no real difference but they don't seem to grasp the concept that it's ALL wrong and it's always been.
      The Nazi's had their own way of seeing things too and they were defeated and we don't memorialize them as just having another point of view. The swastika is not making a comeback. The people who adopted it as their symbol did so so effectively that those crimes and heinous acts committed under it soiled that symbol beyond reclaiming. I think it is too late for the confederate flag, if it ever had a noble meaning I think that time is passed and sure, it is your right to hang it up but I think a great deal of that right comes from the fact the union won and you can't just say it doesn't continue to have a negative meaning for anyone who knows anything about history.

      Just as a side note I find it quite hilarious that people verbally attack the "liberal north" like they are oppressed by it. Oooooo the mean old liberals wanting their "freedom" and "democracy", trying to make a place where everyone is supposed to be equal. How cruel. What would you allow your state to decide about if you could? Return to slavery? No inter-racial marriage? Segregation? Olde tyme plantations? No votes for certain segments of the population? I wonder.

      December 6, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  47. BushBush


    December 6, 2011 at 5:52 am | Report abuse |
  48. Don

    Race and slavery aside, people forget that the flag represents the Confederacy that started the Civil War and fired on the Union!

    December 6, 2011 at 5:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert Iacomacci

      You are right, EXCEPT Fort Sumter the last time I checked IS and WAS in South Carolina, not New Jersey. Your and I mean YOUR Union attempted to occupy, pretty much as it does in other nations around the globe today, occupy our State. So, this justified Sherman attacking Columbia, Charleston, Atalanta, Savanaha. On and On over 600,000 men died countless civillians just to keep your FORCED UNION, and NOW it is, through God's Grace COLLAPSING!!!!!!hahahaha

      December 6, 2011 at 6:18 am | Report abuse |
      • Thor

        My Union has freed many. The ground that my father has laid claim to in France, is the ground that covers his body. The ground that has claimed some pieces of me remain in other countries. The ground that some of my buddies hold reverent, bear the parts of their bodies that have been left behind... too many to pick up after the IED. Some of the ground that me and my forefathers have left our blood and parts are stood upon by some of the very leaders who speak freely now that my Union has liberated their countries from tyrants. And you too, can become part of my Union so that you may be free to pursue your happiness.... openly..... oh, but you are doing that! Hmm, I wonder how it is that you are free? Obviously, you have been able to do it all by yourself, since you do not belong to my Union. Good job patriot! It's good that you didn't have to leave little pieces of you around the world to do that.

        December 6, 2011 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
      • No One Is Safe

        thank you, thor... for your service, and for your eloquent response.

        December 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • HMC

      Newsflash, children think like children, lol! It's pretty silly for someone who admits he hasn't been a victim of racism to proudly display something that deservedly or not, has been adopted as a beacon for those who perpetuate disgusting bigotry. Understand that, son...whatever the flag "means" to you is irrelevant. People who despise your black a** so much they would beat you mercilessly, drag you behind their truck, then hang you, JUST because of the pigment in your skin adopted that flag as a symbol of their hate. Not everyone, but enough to make it representative.

      There are a ton of different ways to show Southern pride than to put up that flag. IMO, smells like he just wants attention. Why put it in the window? Wants to be that cool, "different" guy. He probably roots against all his home sports teams too.

      If I ever saw you in person, Id give you a big middle finger. However, don't be mad...to me the middle finger means you're number one!

      December 6, 2011 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd Thomas

      Another moron who should really read a book not propaganda from the north. People like you are sheep that just follow the heard and cant think for themselves. The first shots were fired in South Carolina. If you actually got off your lazy no good ass and did a little research you would realize the North was the aggressor for most of the War NOT the South. You would also realize that the South had plans in place to abolish slavery but at a slower rate.

      December 6, 2011 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  49. lcleejr

    its absolutely refreshing to see a different perspective about this issue. the downside is, had he been white, he would have been labeled a racist and maybe have been thrown out of college. it took courage for him to stand up for his beliefs. he will probably be put down or called names by people of color mostly. his reality is encouraging and inspiring. if more young adults thought like he does, our country would definitely be moving forward in the future.

    December 6, 2011 at 5:24 am | Report abuse |
  50. Lasenna

    Wow, it's amazing how uninformed so many commentors are. First of all, I never have and never will support slavery. It was wrong, and I for one am glad it no longer exists in the United States.

    Now, that being said, the Civil War NEVER started because of slavery. It started because the South was upset that Lincoln was elected president instead of their own candidate. Slavery wasn't even an issue until the Civil War had been going on for 2 years! Second of all, AFTER the Civil War it was LEGAL for Northern states to have and keep slaves, just not the seceded ones. In fact, slavery continued in the Northern border states long after the Civil War was over. Seriously, Southern pride does NOT mean pro-Slavery. After the war, the greatest segregation and racial fears existed in the North, and those are some of the places where Martin Luther King Jr. faced his greatest opposition in his push for desegregation.

    December 6, 2011 at 5:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Don

      You need to read Mississippi's Declaration of Seccession, it explicitly states Slavery was because they left the Union. Nice try

      December 6, 2011 at 6:01 am | Report abuse |
  51. Jason

    Misguided, has he forgotten about the Jim Crow Laws, states rights? the right of a state to allow ownership of People! What an idiot!

    December 6, 2011 at 5:09 am | Report abuse |
  52. littlewhitechick

    wow, i think this dude has no idea what he's talking about. the south made that their flag during the war for slavery.

    December 6, 2011 at 4:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Jamison

      the civil war wasnt about slavery, the civil war was fought because the south felt the north was violating states rights.

      December 6, 2011 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
      • Don

        Again, read Mississippi's Declaration of Secession, it states they left the Union because slavery was going to go away.

        December 6, 2011 at 6:03 am | Report abuse |
  53. wobblyrobby

    He is displaying the Confederate battle flag which was used to rally the troops in combat and he is right about some of his sentiments....the flag of the Confederate government was the Stars and Bars which was the pro-slavery movement to secede which none of you so-called historians seem to realize...

    December 6, 2011 at 4:57 am | Report abuse |
  54. James

    Long live the South !

    December 6, 2011 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
  55. Jason

    I'm so glad the south lost, because America would a truly IGNORANT COUNTRY, just like YOU!

    December 6, 2011 at 4:36 am | Report abuse |
  56. Cal Bear

    This kid needs to read more, as well as take more history courses.

    A lot of things are open to interpretation, but the Confederate flag isn't one of them.

    Does the kid drive a '69 Dodge Charger?

    December 6, 2011 at 4:36 am | Report abuse |
  57. DB

    Well...to know Byron is to know that he has always been a visionary. He is not this attention seeking kid as being suggested by some of his critics.It would be more acurrate to describe him as opinionated, knowledge seeking and dooropener for debates. To debate an issue is to stick to the issue being discussed. Byrons agurement is not how the war started or ended. Its not who signed what papers. Its not south versus the north. Its not even black versus white. Its what rights he has as an "American" and how he can form CHANGE in peoples 2011
    perseceptions of a flag that has been used for hateful purposes. This is what college is about...learning and forming your opionion basing it off of facts and research. I applaud Byrons efforts. When many thousands of the first slaves were brought over what flag do you believe they saw hanging from the ships??? It wasn't the confederate. And they make our children pledge alegiance to the revamped American flag every morning at school. That's what I see to be Byrons agurement. That "we" should not let our past determine "our" future. The reality is we are the future and our forefathers have paved a way for us to be able to inspire and establish CHANGE just as they fought, bleed, and died to do the same. Byron I speak for myself in saying you have not embarassed me at all.

    December 6, 2011 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Marshall

      This poor uneducated man needs to learn history. Read the Cornerstone Speech, it was the declaration of independence for the South. It is the most vile racist rant ever penned. The Confederacy thought blacks as subhumans and he – by flying that flag – is agreeing with them.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:38 am | Report abuse |
      • Lasenna

        I guess you didn't know that Lincoln and pretty much most of the North were extremely racist too, even among white people who were in favor of abolishing slavery. The Northern whites considered black people to be subhuman; which was what led to the white flight and much higher levels of segregation in the North as history progressed onward. I'm not saying that slavery was right, and I certainly don't agree that they were inferior (I acknowledge that the same materials and education weren't available to them so that kept them behind the curve), but the idea that the North was all "honey and roses" for black people is grossly misinformed. There are many autobiographical stories by authors who moved to the North thinking to find acceptance and equality and instead found hatred, mistrust, and great difficulty.

        December 6, 2011 at 5:41 am | Report abuse |
  58. Mike

    It's nice to read something where something actually study the history of a subject than relying on the current cultural on a subject. A lot of good posters tonight for a change stilla lot of ill formed people going on the bases the that hate groups set.

    The Rebel battle flag is most asscoited with today as a syombol of hate becase of idiots like the klan. the history behind the flag and the war was of freedom and state right from a federal gov who were at the timeing favoring the north with its heavy industy. Slavery was a issue in that it was used to justfiey the war. it created tensions between the two sides it was a evil priatice but not one that was only done in the south all thought the war their were noothern states who has slaves Lincolin was a poltician thought and thought and used slavery as a way to get votes. If you read his speeches he had no intintion of freeing the slaves and only did it to stop the South from getting support from other countries that did not like slavery. the British were for a time thinking of helping them but since they did away with slavery close to a hundred years before and slavery was very unpopular in Europe by making the war about slavery helped the north.

    many posters seem to paint the south as the true evil behind slavery where they are just one in a long list of who used slavery. the frist slaves in the Americas were the native Americans they didn't work out well so Europeans brought over Africans. they were not how many have posted captured primarly by whites but by rvivarl tibes and nations in Africa. The people who cpatured them did not look on them as their brothers and sisters they were the enemy they did not think they would return home in a few years and more or less didn't care they were the enemy. it been awhile since i heard the story while taking a class in college on African American studies. It's about a African prince who was captured ans sold into salvery he induvially gained his freedom by telling his master and the other authories that if you let me go home i will rpivadie you plenty of other slaves all who are non muslim. there many stuch stories of the slave trade in Africa.

    Another thing about slavery in Africa were not were Africans captued and sold but also Eurpeans who by many accounts had a bit of a rougher time mostly cause they were usealyl cpatured on the coast after a ship wrech marched arrose the desert where many died then sold to Muslims who wouldn't exactly friendly to Christens. some got ransomed off to Europe if a family meber was found or if they were high up the aldder others would convert since Muslims by religious law had to treat muslim slaves better since techannlly they were nto suppose to enslave other muslims a course many of the converts once they got free would return to Europe only to be killed for being a heretic for converting.

    So the back to the psot the current standard view of the flag is of hate but a flag and a sylombol can be whatever peopel want it to be many smybols have had their meanies changed from being good things to evil things like the Nazis symbol was of a nice thing made evil which most likely for how evil it was made will forever bee viewed as evil now. The American flag to some is a smybol of hate liek the native Americans who made traities and had them voilated time and time again. the battle flag has the ability with cultural understanding to be used as a anti slavery smybol for freedom than one of evil.

    December 6, 2011 at 3:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Marshall

      Read the Cornerstone Speech. The South issued the speech to let the world know their exact intents. The South declared that black were subhumans, and vowed never to grant them freedom.

      Google Cornerstone Speech and read it yourself.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:43 am | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        interesting never looked at that

        December 6, 2011 at 5:31 am | Report abuse |
    • terry tharp

      i ike your posting it is very informative, but you need to check your spelling a lot of spelling errors. i could still figure out what you were trying to say. my daughter spells the same way most of the time.she spells the words the way thy sound.other then that i agree with you and looks like you did some research.and yes the indians were here first they are the ones who i believe have suffered under our government more than any one else. i believe our ancestors or fourfathers of america really screwed the indians.in a way we did they same to the indians that other countries have done to their people.like these other countries do tell people they have to leave their homes and go where ever they are told to go.have you ever seen these movies Fiddler on THE ROOF or SCHINDLER'S LIST or THE SOUND OF MUSIC or THEDIARY OF ANNE FRANK OR DANCES WITH WOLVES OR ANY other history movies that show what relly has happened to the humane race the things that people have to suffer with and go thru.or also the movie ROOTS is very go to it shows alot of what people really went thru at that time in history. But do some research on what america has done to so everyone needs to get a the indians they were here first. and our fourfathers decided to take control of their land and their way of living pretty much the same way other countries have treated thier people like you will see if you watch the movies i listed earlier.let me know what you think.

      December 6, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  59. Huh?

    I wonder how he feels about James Madison having to control his slaves after they rebelled against him?

    What an interesting kid. He sure is getting attention...

    December 6, 2011 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
  60. Rodolfo ramirez

    This article and the comments make me feel sorry I ever gave my blood sweet and tears for this country. what a waste, no hope for the future

    December 6, 2011 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
  61. Norm

    As far as I can tell Old Glory had a much longer period of slavery than the confederate flag. How many northern slave owners willfully released their slaves compared to the south? That's a real question, not rhetorical. I'm humble enough to accept figures that counter my point.

    December 6, 2011 at 3:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Marshall

      All of them. Every Northern State ended Slavery and fought to prevent it from expanding.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:41 am | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        Umm Maryland, WV? Delaware took years. Have you ever read an actual history book.

        December 6, 2011 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  62. Angel

    I truly wonder if our country will ever over come racism. Every race has their own racists because some people are afraid of what they do not know. Until every person in America decides to look at everyone for who they truly are rather than what color they are, nothing will change.
    I must say, I am proud of him for standing up for something because there are not enough of us that do. If anything, he did make a lot of people stop and think.

    December 6, 2011 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  63. ?

    funny thing though, today the north is more full of hate. don't see that many racist people now days and those that are only hate those few groups of people, but go to new york and like no humanity at all.

    December 6, 2011 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
  64. chuck

    America needs a new heart. America needs to repent of her sins and turn to God.

    December 6, 2011 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
    • ?

      hell no.. haha
      thats like moving backwards, religion only brings more hate and war.

      December 6, 2011 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
    • AusieSceptic1

      which version chuck?
      the harold camping version? or perhaps the eddy long version? fred phelps perhaps?

      December 6, 2011 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
  65. Alan

    You tell them Thomas....you speak the truth, as a true American, you resonate honor and should be proud. The rag of stars and stripes of today could never be sewn large enough to cover the shame it has caused since the civil war. You are a rare breed in your political way ot thinking. If you ran for president you would surely have my vote. Bravo!

    December 6, 2011 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
    • simple truth

      It is sad when I see someone's comments like yours that indicate you do not realize how good things are in America. If you studied history and/or traveled the world at all, you would quickly come to realize that our country is not perfect but has done 10x more good than bad in the world. You should be proud of America, and when you find little things that need improvement, be part of the solution and not just complain about it.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  66. John H

    A true idiot! He can hang whatever he wants, but how does a true idiot get attention? Regardless of intentions, the flag currently represents hate, racism, and division. I don't understand how anyone can try to unite a generation with a symbol that divides it? It is so crazy that it just might work folks! Is this all we got? Really?

    December 6, 2011 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Jared

      Its interesting to see him defending it for those reasons in particular. Being from GA myself, I usually hear white people defend it for another reason: i.e. the Civil War was started over states' rights and not slavery, which we all know is a load of BS.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
      • ?

        uh.. slavery was a state's "right". need to think about it..

        December 6, 2011 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        Also from GA, when i frist moved here had the same opion that it was BS after a long while of talking with people and after college i came to it not totally bs. Slavery played a part in it but if you look at the South back then the avg person did not own a slave i think the percentge was around 1-3% of the population so to say slavery was the main reason would be a bit off since you couldnt get that many people to fight if was on something only a small group had. The over all was state rights with being the gov was favoring the north and its heavy industy than the south and it more agraian industy. Also if you study history not the junk that teach in public schools Lincion did not free the slaves and was not a fright to slavery till the British began thinking of helping the help it was a way to make the war aganst slavery and mute support for the south. Lincoin from his speechs had no intion of freeing slaves Congress freed them after the war he only freed the ones in State of Rebellion serveal Union states had slaves thoughout the war.

        the rebel flag a fun topic always when i frist came here i looked on it as a rasim symbol which it is used for but it not the only thing it stands for. it has been made rasist by fools who use it for it own goals i have many friends both white and black who see it as symbol of freedom and states rights and idiot few who see it as their symbol for hate.

        December 6, 2011 at 3:02 am | Report abuse |
  67. R.major

    What an idiot. You are an uncle Tom and an embarassment. Check out the book – without sanctuary- and still fly your happy flag! I hope your massa is proud of you.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  68. fineart

    He's probably a good kid, a little miss guided though. He should get some help learning about the history of African Americans in the USA before he makes more misstatements. At least he is not in jail, strung out on drugs, fathering children he can't support. If he's smart and I think that he is, he can turn this international attention into a life time advantage; maybe that's what he had in mind all along.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  69. Bob

    Ignorance, slavery and racism existed (and some continues to exist) under the flag of the United States almost 100 years longer than that of the Confederacy. Indians were driven from their land by the millions under the the red, white and blue. Why no problems with the American flag? Perhaps because so many see it as the flag that represents them and just the specific history they care about?

    December 6, 2011 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  70. VRage13

    HISTORY LESSON: Who can tell me what the American Civil War fought over? You can cheat and google the answer if you wish.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  71. status quo

    Steve,true, some Africans sold their own into slavery but it was under false pretenses. They had NO clue the horrors their people would be subjected to. They thought their people would soon return. However, let's not sweep under the rug the real truth, which is the MAJORITY of slaves were preyed upon and taken by (not paid for) force by whites. And I think this kid is an idiot. #thatisall

    December 6, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      So other African tribes, hispanics and arabs that bought slaves in the same time period don't count. We'll just ignore them because they weren't "the majority." Wow.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        Oh wheres a like button finally someone who knows their history here. Also the other Africans thought honestly can't call them that their was and really is no national idientiy as being African in Africa. They were members of tribes and nations the ones they captured with members of the their enemies and i really doudt if they could care less if they returned. It wasn't like they were friends like i think ill sell "John" into slavery im sure he will be back within a year and ill have some extra spending money thats kjust plain idiotic. it a known fact if you study the slave trade and take classes in AAfrican American studies in college that Africans not whites captured and sold slaves more so than White why would they need go deep in a country when you had people willinging to sell their enemies into slavery.

        December 6, 2011 at 3:09 am | Report abuse |
      • Jason

        The issue, Hello! is about Slavery in America!!!

        December 6, 2011 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        It is but it always good to understand the broader terms in which it came to be

        December 6, 2011 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
    • phred

      I think you are a little confused. Every major African tribe held slaves, they didn't just "sell a few" to whites. White people didn't teach them slavery, or create the market. I'm not trying to say that whites/Europeans are not culpable, but trying to make slavery of Africans their fault is absurd, as is trying to say that the majority of African slaves were held by whites. It's simply not true.

      December 6, 2011 at 3:03 am | Report abuse |
  72. VRage13

    Mr Thomas...well said. You have beautifully said what many other Americans have been saying for years without anyone hearing us. I have asked this question and blacks hate it. "A white guy born in any of the Africa nations immigrates to the US and becomes a citizen. Is he an African-American?" I ussually follow that question with "From what part of Africa did you immigrate from?" Or I may ask them "When do you last visit your home country?" What I have found out is most are American born Americans who are just interested in trying to get something for nothing.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
  73. A.B.C.-88

    White Southerners caused alot of harm to blacks in the south.. And one of the symbols they stood behind was the confederate flag. It isnt ignorant for people to feel like the flag brings back harsh memories of the racism and violence that took place across the south. Just because this kid feels pride doesnt mean everyone who stands on the other side of the spectrum is ignorant. Neo-Nazis and some Germans can make the argument that they feel pride in seeing the Nazi flag.. But the fact of the matter is others would be offended... Its a double standard situation. But in the case of the confederate flag, there is a valid argument as to how some people could be offended.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  74. Ed

    Its so nice to read about a positive change for once, way to go Thomas! By the way Have any of you commenters, ever heard of facebook?

    December 6, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  75. HP

    Byron Thomas is proudly displaying ignorance on the sacrifice, pain and hummuliation his fore-fathers suffered under that flag he is so proud to hang. And no matter how many of you try and wish it away, racism has been there, is here and will still be there unless people judge each other not by the color of their skin but the content of their character! Go figure

    December 6, 2011 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Ignorance, slavery and racism existed (and continues to exist) under the flag of the United States almost 100 years longer than that of the Confederacy. Why no problems with the American flag?

      December 6, 2011 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  76. Godknows

    I don't understand why people think their above one another. No one chooses their own race before birth. We will all be judged based on our spirit not our physical skin color. Also, isn't that why most of the white race came to this land to be free and not be treated like they were beneath someone else. Ironically they're doing the same thing that our ancestors escaped from. Everyone wants to go to heaven and live peacefully together but nobody can even get along down on earth. God please forgive us for we do not know what we are doing.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
    • terry tharp

      i agre god help us

      December 6, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  77. Glenn V

    How refreshing, to see a story about someone who is brave enough to challenge the status quo, in a respectful manner. This is a brave, perhaps visionary, young man. His response to criticism is inspirational.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Blaine

      Well said.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  78. riah

    1st of all I think using the word BLACK is so disrespecting!!!!!!! What happen to African American!!!! That's some bs!!! I really don't like that at all!!!! Correct it please...oh yes I'm African American!!!!!!

    December 6, 2011 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      The kid doesn't like Al Sharpton's term "African American" because it makes him a 2nd class citizen and he is an American and proud of it, you talk of disrespect? well be respectful of him and there is nothing wrong with black and you are NOT and African.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Blaine

      Why is "black" racist? I am white, and I am fine with being called "white". If you are black, you are black. If you are white, you are white. What's wrong with that?

      December 6, 2011 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
      • dk

        Do you call Asians yellow? Latinos, brown people? I think we should start calling people in this country American minus whatever their race is. You may describe their ancestry, but let's just stop calling people African American, Asian American, etc.

        December 6, 2011 at 3:56 am | Report abuse |
    • brooke

      really, the guy in the article explained why he himself didn't like the label. People call us "white" all the time, and not Caucasian.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
    • tasha

      Like Byron said it is time to be called Americans not African-Americans because you were born in America not Africa. He is right lets make that change you are an American. You might be black but you were born hear in America just the same as white people.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  79. Jason

    The sad thing here is that many people in America today will not let the "race card" go away. Like the kid said he's not "African American" he's American.... If more people took this stand racism would go away. However, it's a good way to play victim – remember fellow AMERICANS – Africans were the ones who sold their OWN people to the whites.....can't we all just be equal and get over this race concept? The media loves it which in turn fuels the fire of people who today never were a slave or parents were slaves.....I, personally, feel Jesse Jackson and Al sharpton are probably some of the biggest racists in America today

    December 6, 2011 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
    • tasha

      Jason Africans was stolen from Africa as well as blacks selling them off and some thinking it might be better in American and worked to be free. For the ones that was taken and sold holds a powerful hatred of whites. Blacks went through a lot of pain and suffering for me, my family and others. We can not forget the past but learn from it. I always told my kids never to play the racists card because it be-littler who you are as a person. The past is something that some time help and hinders Americans.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  80. Kelly

    As white girl who has grown up in the country setting of North Carolina, I find this guy to be a truly awesome individual. Growing up with rednecks who would "proudly" hold this rebel flag up as sense of heritage pride, I've always viewed them as ignorant and racist who would never amount to anything and would most likely become a pathetic adult who still believed in white power and the rebel flag for no other reason at all than their fathers taught them to act like that. Guess what, my prophecy for them rings true. While these rednecks were busy growing beer bellies and talking about how blacks are the problem with our nation, these rednecks have neither better themselves or contributed to society. In my eyes, black people have overcome so many obstacles and do just as much for our country as any other white person does. So the next time a person uses this rebel flag as a crutch for their racist beliefs, I want them to ask themselves what they have actually done for our society that makes them so dominant because they are white. 3/4ths of the white male population where I live have neither experienced war nor bloodshed for a cause and yet they feel like they are privileged to some sort of heritage. Newsflash...most believers in the rebel flag's racist meaning have done nothing for our society but drag it down.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  81. Steve

    That kid is the beginning of the next generation, his parents should be very proud of him maybe he should be running for president. Good bye AL Sharpton and your bigoted racist views.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  82. roxanne

    Irony at its best.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  83. Red Pison

    Looks like he's willing to serve.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  84. Rich Zubaty

    I wish the South had won. Then they wouldn't be mucking up our elections and we would have national health care and less war.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  85. Epimetheus

    He is just too stupid for words! "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." Did he really say that? South Carolina knows him so well that he would still be a slave without rights, property to be sold, subject to whatever they deemed was proper punishment, and perish the thought that he ever looked at a white woman.

    The South is an absolute embarrasment! I was born in Mobile, and my father's family and ancestors were from Mississippi. Yet, while I love certain things southern, I can make no excuses for the treachery and treason of the South. And, evidently this moron doesn't realized that the specious state right's, smaller government advocates generally define people's rights as whatever they want them to be: Christianity would be mandatory, blacks would be slaves, women wouldn't be allowed to vote, and it would be an autocratic and patriarchal society ruled by white males only.
    I am a white southern male and I am absolutely appalled and ashamed of what the South has done historically, and of what it is currently doing to the country.

    There is no way anyone that he has the intellect or reasoning skills to be in college. He needs to be studying remedial history and logical thinking.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
    • krautmick1922

      Interesting how everyone keeps saying. "Treason " the southern states had every right to secede ...it wasn't until after the war that laws were passed barring it.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      He only wants to be have his freedom of speech respected, was that too much to ask? You storm with your slavery and the rights blacks gained yet you opose the right to display freedom. You missed the whole point of this story Sir. And calling this kid 'stupid' for not seeing things your way that just goes to show what a low person you are. Lighten up, you are a very rigid person. You definitely can learn from this kid.I can tell you think you are so much smarter than many others, but you are not.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
      • vs101

        John, No one is debating his right to express himself. Nazi lovers parading in their uniforms, or Klan members parading in their white robes can certainly do so. The issue is not his right of expression but an opinion on whether the idea being expressed has taste or merit. I figured that this would bring out the confederate loons out of the woodwork.

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

        December 6, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  86. Bill

    Globally, the Confederate battle flag is considered a symbol of protest against established authority in politics, culture and authority. SOURCE : National Geographic Atlas of the World, International Flags, page 271.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Cruddy

      Really?? So because they say it, then it must be so? I never took the survey so my thinking is that if I was missed there must be others that were missed. Therefore their results are invalid.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  87. Rich

    @historian I don't think so. Just an annoyance. When did you graduate? History?

    December 6, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  88. Historian

    this is so subversive. this kid is a cultural genius. one of the greatest that ever lived.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  89. aaronmann

    to all people who belive the confedrate flag is only racist you are just as ignerent as the racist who give the flag that name my family was from the north and south and im proud of all who served during this crisis in our history the men in the north who kept the unoin together and the men in the south who held off the strongest army in the world the war should divide us now we should be proud that we over came it the divison and ignerence is what caused the war not slavery or states right its becuse people refused to hear others opinons so i happy this young man stoud up for what he belived in and respected others as well our country should be together nomatter what we agree on and do not the freedom to live amongst one another nomatter what is what makes america great

    December 6, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Now...from now on..before you attempt to lay someone out....you need to start using spell check, commas and periods....ok.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
      • Travis McGee

        And you neee to learn the correct use of ellipses before you ridicule someone else's punctuation, or lack thereof.

        December 6, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  90. Eric B

    Full Disclosure: I am a southerner and proud of where I come from.
    That being said the battle flag was used in a struggle to defend states rights. But let's not forget that the core right was the right to own people of color as an economic asset.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  91. Shaun

    I think that when you fly or hang the flag of a different country it says something. The original people that flew this flag no longer wanted to be part of the United States. People that fly the Confederate flag instead of the American flag are saying something. To me, it says that you are differentiating yourself from the rest of us at a time when we need no more division. We are all Americans.I think the man can do what he wants, as he does have the right, but I don't think it's positive. We have to stop acting like we are so different from each other. The fact is, southerners have always acted like they were superior under the surface, while using the disguise of humbleness and humility publicly.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Ransom

      It is what he believes in and what he wants to do. It represents his interests and background. If you don't like it tough. The American flag is racist towards Native Americans who were persecuted by us. So the American flag is just as guilty people

      December 6, 2011 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  92. Ontarah

    Not sure if attention seeking is a factor with this guy or not, but I actually really hope he's genuine. I appreciate what this flag can mean to some people in terms of racism or bigotry, but the underlying fact remains that it's a symbol and will mean different things to different people. I don't think the comparison to the swastika is entirely applicable. For one because perceptions about this flag aren't nearly as monolithic as perceptions of swastikas (and even swastikas aren't universally despised...just go to Tibet some time.) I think the idea of seizing a symbol that many people view as negative and changing it into something positive instead. It's not about erasing what the object was used for in the past, but about what it can be used for today. Think of a cross. Both great atrocities and great acts of goodness have been committed under that symbol. Most major symbols have had questionable or unethical applications at some point or other.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
    • KC and jojo

      Reminds me of the Dave Chapelle skit where he was a blind black guy in the KKK. Lol, and they didn't know it cause he always wore the costume.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  93. TxJim

    Why are you flying a flag of a country we defeated in war?

    December 6, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • liononoil

      Who is we and who won what?

      December 6, 2011 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  94. Rich

    If "his generation would like to make his own history," I hope such endeavors will begin in scholarship and fact. If this freshman wishes to see things as they should be, and not as they truly are and have been, then I hope he pursues a career in dental sciences and leaves his imagination to Xbox.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  95. Do you really like old news

    Sounds like a smart young man, who has learned from Herman Cain. Guessing we will see him running for office in a few years... taking advantage of the republican memeber who want to prove that they are not racist.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  96. randi

    i am so glad someibe else out there finally believes this way.....i have always said that flag wasnt racist but that ignorant people made it that way.....for any one from the south that flag is our heritiage no matter the xolor of any of our skins.....for me there should b no prelude to being american.....for me if you were born in american then you are american...everything else is just where your ancestors came from because if we were all to put something in front of american then there would never b any true amrucans and thats not the case.....we all have ancestors that came from other countries.......

    December 5, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  97. nwi

    Maybe they should should do a weekly installment column called "Wrong Headed Opinions of 18-year-old College Kids". Sounds like news to me.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • KC and jojo

      This kid is a highly successful troll. A+

      December 6, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |

    I wish CNN would survery our Jewish friends and ask them how they'd feel if THEIR son openly displayed a Nazi flag and/or swatika while talking about "healing"? I wonder how THEY'D feel about people telling THEM to forget about the Holocaust since it happened in the past and "some" think that' s long enough to "get over it"! The "vestiges" of our dual pasts ais STILL pervasive in America – anti-semitism and racial bigoty still exist! When it no longer does, then and only then will this flag be meaningless!

    December 5, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Truth Teller

    As an African- American myself, this guy is the dumbest person ever and makes no sense. For the ones that agrees with his decision to honor out of all flags, the confederate flag , definitely means he is looking for attention or the white slave holder has done his job. That flag was represented to keep SLAVE GOING you stupid fools. His opinion didn't have reasoning to explain representing the flag in his window. You people praise this article as, yea he's is expression his opinion wooyahh. lol most of you guys live in a fantasy. This flag means the continuation not freedom.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • KC and jojo

      You sound Chinese, more than African American.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
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