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Byron Thomas, a 19-year-old black college student at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, chatted with CNN’s Don Lemon about the controversy he stirred up by deciding to hang a confederate flag in his dorm room window.

Thomas told Don Lemon: “To me it is a heritage thing and a pride thing it is not a racist thing whatsoever.”

After doing a research paper on the flag back in September, Thomas says, “I’m no idiot. I researched both sides but in the end i formed my own conclusion.”

Update: After all the backlash, Thomas now says he won’t display the Confederate flag, but still believes it’s not racist.

Listen to what Brian had to say below:

History of the Confederate flag:

The display of the Confederate flag still remains a highly controversial and emotional topic, generally because of disagreement over its symbolism.

Supporters of the flag view it as a symbol of southern heritage and the independence of the distinct cultural tradition of the South from Northern government.

Some hate groups use the flag as one of the symbols associated with their organizations, including racist groups such as the Neo-Nazis, Aryan Nations and the Ku Klux Klan.

Non-Supporters of the flag, especially many African-Americans, associate the flag back to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, when fighting against desegregation suddenly became the focal point of that resistance.

The flag reminds many people of the years of Jim Crow segregation and segregationists’ political campaigns, when police dogs and hoses were used to stop integration.

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