Byron Thomas, a black college student at the University of Southern Carolina Beaufort drew complaints from fellow students and their parents for displaying a Confederate flag in his dorm room window. He took the flag down at the university’s request, but says he will put it back up now that he has received clearance to do so from school officials.
Byron says “the past is the past” and he sees the banner as a symbol of Southern pride and not racism.
The 19-year-old posted a video online in which he tells viewers, “I know it’s kind of weird because I’m black.”
Thomas said a class research project brought him to the belief that the flag’s real meaning has been misconstrued.
“When I look at this flag, I don’t see racism. I see respect, Southern pride,” he said. “This flag was seen as a communication symbol” during the Civil War.
Thomas says he believes his generation can eliminate the flag’s negative power by adopting the banner as a symbol of Southern pride.
The freshman also said he doesn’t appreciate being called “African-American,” which makes him feel like “a half-citizen,” since, he says, he wasn’t born in Africa.
Do the parents who raised this young man agree with his stance on the Confederate symbol?
Not so much.
He says his parents don’t like the flag and he’s concerned about their point of view, particularly since they pay his bills.
“I don’t want to make my parents mad,” he said.
I’m going to have to side with your parents on this one, young man. The reason you have the freedom to put a controversial banner up in your college dorm (and the reason it is now legal for you to be educated) is because the army that fought under that banner lost a war waged over the right to enslave your ancestors (who, by the way, were from Africa).
The banner that represents that victory unites one America under its stars and stripes. —kathleen cross