Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Soft-spoken iReporter sparks Internet debate

Byron Thomas seems like an unlikely political lightning rod, but the polite, soft-spoken Southerner has a knack for stirring up passionate debates here on iReport.

 

When Thomas argued earlier this month that it was wrong to call gold medal-winning gymnast Gabby Douglas an African-American because she represented the United States and not Africa, the conversation quickly spread around the Internet.

 

 

His iReport inspired writers at The Washington Post, BET.com and other blogs to publish columns challenging his views. Thomas hadn't seen the articles, but said he wasn't surprised that they disagreed with him.

 

Thomas said he's always been outspoken – last year he fought with his college housing department for the right to hang a Confederate flag in his dorm room. "People have died for me to have my freedom of speech, so why shouldn't I use it?" Thomas asked.

 

He says that a lot of people assume that he's studying political science, because of his strong views, but he is interested in a different kind of storm. The 20-year-old student at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, plans to be a meteorologist and then get his doctorate in climatology so he can study global warming.

 

"I've always wanted to storm chaser," he said. That's always been a dream of mine."

7 Comments
August 15, 2012
Click to view k3vsDad's profile

Yep, our gogreen college student does have a way stirring the pot. Keep up the good work, Byron. You cause people to think and to talk whether views and perspectives coincide or are diametrically opposed.

August 15, 2012
Click to view GoGreen58's profile

And I heard some colleges did Case Studies on ME!!! Not happy bout that.

August 16, 2012
Click to view davidw's profile

Hey Byron,

I deleted your comment because I didn't wan't people using your phone number to make crank calls.

You can click on k3vsDad's profile and send him a private message if you want him to have your number.

 

August 21, 2012
Click to view mab91c's profile

He always stirs good debate. Good luck in all of your endeavors, Byron.

August 23, 2012
Click to view mompop404's profile

Are you kin to Clarence? You should go to a KKK rally in the SC woods. Bring your flag and see hoe that works out for ya!

August 30, 2012
Click to view Freddypatch's profile

It's a sad day when a black man in the United States of America will in 2012 display a union jack flag and publically declare he is not "african" because he was not born in the continent. I am a West Indian born African American whose ancesters fought against chatel slavery and won their emancipation in 1848. I am not proud today to say I live in a colony of the United States. Despite being an american citizen I do not enjoy the right / priviledges of voting for the President of the United States something most americans can do because they reside in "states". That young man need to read about his heritage and history. Maybe then he will realize who he is.

September 18, 2012
Click to view doerting's profile

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