Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson thinks NASCAR fans should be allowed to fly Confederate flags on private property, he said at an event with racing legend Richard Petty on Monday.
The controversy surrounding the flag and NASCAR reached a peak this summer when racing fans continued to fly the flag in the wake of a racially motivated killing in Charleston, S.C., when nine black churchgoers were murdered by a white man. Petty called the debate over the flag, which is considered a symbol of southern pride by many who display it at racing events, “a passing fancy.”
Carson, who is the only African-American candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, said on Monday that people should be permitted to fly the flag if they want to, even if it is considered a hate symbol by many.
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“Swastikas are a symbol of hate for some people, too. And yet they still exist in museums and places like that,” Carson told the Associated Press. “If it’s a majority of people in that area who want it to fly, I certainly wouldn't take it down.”
Petty, who retired from racing in 1992, informally endorsed Carson and called him “very humane.”
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- Erin Flynn