September 16, 2005

Yes, you are a Racist.

Fleming senior wears racist T-shirt to school
Those are the words a former senior at Fleming Island High School remembers hearing as he walked from his fifth-period algebra class toward the gym. The 18-year-old, who is not being identified due to his family's concerns of safety, had just taken off his Dixie Outfitter T-shirt, exposing a highly offensive shirt.

"What about it?" replied the 18-year-old, skinny and white.

"Well, you know it's racial," said a black student, now in a group confronting the 18-year-old.

"Yeah. So?"

The undershirt the white student wore had a confederate flag on the front with the words "Keep it flying." On the back, a cartoon depicted a group of hooded Klansmen standing outside a church, waving to two others who had just pulled away in a car reading "Just married."

Two black men in nooses were being dragged behind.

Upset by the shirt, a 17-year-old black student hit the white student in the head. A crowd of about 100 students gathered to watch the Aug. 29 fight before authorities intervened.

The white student said he left the school following a three-day suspension. He said he was supposed to go back on a Friday but school officials called and asked his family to keep him home until the following week because "the school's in an uproar." [..]

"I'm not racist or anything," he said. "It's just, some people I hate, some people I don't get along with. And black people just happen to be the ones because they think they're better than everyone else."

The student said his parents were shocked at his decision, Mom dismayed and Dad disappointed.

"I just can't believe you'd wear a shirt like that to school," he said was their reaction. "My mom was kind of upset about it. My dad was like, whatever, it's your life."

The 18-year-old said he has friends who are black, and he said he does not think they would be mad at him because they know he would not do what was depicted on the shirt.

Although a friend has borrowed the shirt, the man said it is "more than likely" he'll keep it in his own wardrobe.

"I'm a redneck," he said. "But no, I'm not racist."

(Hat Tip to Steve Gilliard)


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