Confederate flag beside the Canadian flag on a home in Surrey. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press)

Woman defends Confederate flag spotted at Surrey home

Resident says flag was not ‘raised in any racist way’ and that people need to ‘do their homework’

With racial tensions high in the U.S., many Canadians are taking solace in their country’s firm official stance.

But one woman isn’t so sure that extends into the Lower Mainland.

Justine Galo of Burnaby spotted a Confederate flag hanging from a Surrey home last Saturday, the same day that a 20-year-old Ohio man rammed his car into a crowd that was counter-protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

RELATED: 3 dead in violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville

“As accepting as we are as a culture, I do find there is a vocal minority of people who feel much the way as white nationalist demonstrators in Charlottesville,” Galo told Black Press in a story published Thursday.

Galo, who used to live in the United States, said the flag touched a nerve.

“It’s a sore spot since I have been a target of a bigot in Georgia and I cannot forget it,” she said. “The root of that [attitude] in Georgia has much to do with the Confederacy. It boils my blood.”

But the woman who lives at the Surrey home where a Confederate flag has been spotted insists the flag isn’t a symbol of racism.

“It’s not raised in any racist way, shape or form,” Kaetlin Lynch said Friday.

RELATED: Canadian extremists have more than one face

Lynch contacted Black Press in response to the initial story posted Thursday about the flag, saying she was upset and angry about it, and that the story made her home a target.

Black Press had tried to contact the owner of the home before publishing the story by calling the phone number listed with the home’s address in the phone book, but the person at that number said he no longer lived there.

Lynch said her boyfriend hung the flag up on Canada Day “because he’s redneck,” and that both of them have researched the meaning of the flag.

“He doesn’t believe in racist crap,” she said. “We’ve read the actual history of the flag and what it actually stands for, and that’s why it’s up there. People need to do their homework, simple as that. Do your homework before you judge that it’s a racist flag [only] because Michelle Obama said it was.”

Galo said the flag – despite being flown on Canadian soil – symbolizes hate she endured while living in the south.

She mentioned a time she said hello to child at a public festival in Altlanta.

“A little Caucasian girl came to me and smiled. I waved back and her mom came and snatched her and muttered, ‘Don’t touch that woman. Asians are dirty.’”

The moment still haunts Galo, more than 20 years later.

“I’ve been called many names in my life, but I’ve never felt made to sound like a plague like I did that day back in 1996,” she said. “Hate is taught.”

Just Posted

Late-winter snow storm blankets Lower Mainland

Some areas got up to half a foot of snow

Langley street named after the late Hugh Davis

The street is near the family homestead that’s still a working farm.

Vancouver Giants fall with only 10 second left against Victoria

A Langley hockey team dropped a 4-3 game on the Island, before returing home to play Red Deer today.

Freezing temperatures expected in Lower Mainland

Snowfall warning ends, but surge or icy air to continue

Ball hockey fundraiser to honour Langley man lost to cancer

Annual tournament at UBC aims to raise $45,000 this year

Langley welcomes the Year of the Dog

The Live in Langley Chinese Association Lunar New Year gala was a feast for the senses.

Body of missing skier found

Man’s truck found in Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s parking lot covered in ‘several days’ snow’

B.C. VIEWS: Subsidy supercluster settles in B.C.

Ottawa, Victoria add to their overlapping ‘innovation’ budgets

Canada’s Beaulieu-Marchand wins bronze in Olympic slopestyle

The skier from Quebec City scored 92.40 on his second run

Russian athlete suspected of doping at PyeongChang Olympics

The case could be an obstacle to Russia’s efforts to have the Russian team formally reinstated

Canadians place second in first heat of two-man bobsleigh

Justin Kripps and Alexander Kopacz finish 0.02 seconds behind Latvian team in Winter Olympics

Man who stole millions from Seabird Island band sentenced to 4.5 years jail

Stephen MacKinnon sentenced in Chilliwack court for stealing $2.3 million over eight years

Most Read