US Flag Shirts "incendiary" on 5/5 at California School

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by madanthonywayne, May 6, 2010.

  1. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    No you couldn't. I've never seen a Cinco De Mayo celebration that was in any way exclusive of non-Mexicans - and doubly so in a white-majority school district.

    I expect so, yes. Such is commonplace in schools in the southwest. Typically Saint Patrick's Day, Oktoberfest, Chinese New Year and often certain Jewish holidays are also celebrated as opportunities to share and celebrate the contributions of various immigrant groups to American culture.

    No. Cinco De Mayo is not a celebration of identification with Mexican nationality. It's an American holiday. It is not widely celebrated in Mexico. The purpose of the holiday is to celebrate Mexican American heritage and contributions to American culture. To the extent that it has anything to do with national solidarity (which is to say, not much), it's about solidarity between the United States and Mexico in resisting European colonialism.

    Wearing an American flag does not aknowledge these kids ethnic backgrounds. For that, they'd presumably need Irish and/or German and/or English and/or whatever flags. If they'd done that here, well, I doubt anyone would have objected.

    It has everything to do with them: that's the community that's raising them, and those are the values they are going to such lengths to express publicly.
     
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  3. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Is hanging a flag in the auditorium likely to cause fights or disruptions? If not, then there's your answer.
     
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  5. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Kids don't have full 1st amendment rights in school. The standard is whether or not something is likely to be disruptive. With the arm band thing, the court's opinion was that the administration was trying to ban it simply because they didn't like the message, not because it was likely to cause a disruption. There are plenty of other precedents for schools restricting expression. Like the recent "bong hits for Jesus" thing.
     
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  7. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    They hang the flag in the auditorium every day, not just when there's a holiday celebrating minority culture.

    And my understanding is that these kids were also wearing flag bandanas, in addition to the shirts. It's difficult for me to imagine a context wherein high school kids dressing like that on Cinco de Mayo would reasonably be interpretted as anything other than a political statement. If they actually dress like that all the time, then maybe I'm wrong. But I'd find that pretty incredible.
     
  8. Omega133 Aus der Dunkelheit Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, you're telling me.

    Honestly, who's going to be upset at a someone wearing their countries flag on a shirt, in their own country?
     
  9. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    A minority that is being told they aren't a real American by the combination of the display and its context.

    You should be angry at the white agitators for misusing the flag as a symbol of ethnic animus, rather than angry at the victims for seeing the message as what it was (instead of obtusely regarding every instance of the flag as a pure statement of national inclusion).
     
  10. John99 Banned Banned

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    One of the "white agitators" is mexican.

    OK, get back on your soap box now.
     
  11. Omega133 Aus der Dunkelheit Valued Senior Member

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    But how are we sure that the teens were conveying that message?
     
  12. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    You mean, had some amount of Mexican ancestry - all of them are Americans.

    And this would hardly be the first time someone with some (or even, a lot of) Hispanic ancestry got involved in anti-Mexican/anti-immigrant political activity. Nor will it be the last.
     
  13. John99 Banned Banned

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    So what is your point?

    He said he was Mexican, he looked Mexican. It is common for people to fly two flags, one from their country of origin or ancestors and one from U.S. Which is probably true for most\many countries.

    I have no idea what you are talking about and never met a Mexican who was anti-Mexican or why a Mexican wearing an American Flag would be anti-Mexican.
     
  14. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    For starters, that's how it was interpretted by neutral observers.

    For another thing, some of the kids parents have told the press that it was intended as a political counter-statement to the displays of Mexican national symbols at Cinco De Mayo celebrations, and specifically that they oppose illegal immigration and support the recent Arizona legislation:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_15030582

    For another, that's certainly how I'd interpret a bunch of high schoolers showing up in flag shirts, shorts and bandanas on Cinco De Mayo. High school kids do not typically dress like that, and so choosing to do so in an overt way on such a holiday inherently makes a political statement. And I would expect most reasonable observers to draw the same conclusion - certainly the school administrators saw it that way.

    If what you meant to ask was what message the students intended to convey we have, on the one hand, the statements by their parents linked above and, on the other, the fact that it's irrelevant. They're responsible for what messages they do actually convey, not the ones they thought they wanted to convey. If they've been misconstrued, then they should apologize for not taking the care to make their message clear and so avoid offending, and then clarify. If it's a genuinely benign message and they are genuinely contrite about having managed to disrespect their fellow Americans, then I'm happy to let them off the hook. But I strongly doubt it, given the community they come from and the statements from their parents.
     
  15. John99 Banned Banned

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    Then the right thing to do is have a 'no flag wearing policy' for all flags.
     
  16. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    What I said was Americans of Hispanic descent. Not "Mexicans." In the first place there are plenty of Hispanic cultures besides Mexico, and in the second place there are plenty of Mexican Americans who indulge in all sorts of bigotry directed at the poorer classes of Mexicans (particularly illegal immigrants). If you've never encountered this, well, consider yourself lucky. It's ugly stuff.

    That would be an American wearing an American flag to school on Cinco De Mayo. As their parents told the press, they oppose illegal immigration and wore the clothes as a political statement to that effect.
     
  17. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    The right thing to do is to have a 'no disruptive behavior' policy for all students, which is what we already have.

    Wearing a flag - any flag - generally is not an aggressive political statement. It's context that determines this stuff, and that you seem determined to ignore in an attempt to avoid aknowledging the facts of this situation.
     
  18. John99 Banned Banned

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    When has wearing a national flag - any flag - incited violence?
     
  19. John99 Banned Banned

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    So basically you are saying that wearing a Japanese flag is anti-Chinese?
     
  20. John99 Banned Banned

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    Meanwhile they, most likely, have American flags displayed right there in the classroom.
     
  21. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

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    What is your basis for assigning malevolent motives to the five students wearing American flag T-shirts? Is that mentioned anywhere in the article? Do you know them personally? Is there some report of them shouting racist slogans, beating up immigrants, belonging to the KKK, anything?

    By the way, those old navy US flag shirts are sold for 5 bucks a piece in July. They're dirt cheap. My kids have several of them and wear them a lot. I've got a few too.
     
  22. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    As it happens, I'm told by some friends of mine who attended this very high school that there was a large brawl some years ago there, initiated by racist hicks who wore lots of overt American flag clothing on Cinco De Mayo in order to agitate Hispanic students. So that's the background for this incident. We'll see if this makes it into the news coverage - as of now I have no outside source for that.

    Moreover, there's quite a big of context missing here. We don't really know how these kids were behaving, apart from their dress. But this is in a community where significant tensions exist between Mexican-Americans and whites, so it's difficult to imagine a planned political statement like this not being associated with some other provocative behaviors.

    To be honest, I'm starting to wonder whether we'll ever see any serious, in-depth reporting on this issue. It seems to mostly be a dog whistle for the teabaggers: "wearing an American flag on American soil can never be wrong! Grar!"

    It would be, in a comparable situation. Although it's difficult to formulate what that situation would look like. But I can easily think of many situations wherein I would reasonably expect to incite violence by wearing a Japanese flag shirt - a commemoration of the Rape of Nanking, for example.
     
  23. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Mostly a knowledge of what community relations are like in Morgan Hill (and the south Bay more generally), together with a lack of any benign explanation that fits the known facts reasonably. But also:

    Multiple of these kids parents went on record to the press, in the article I linked, stating that it was a political demonstration intended to display antagonism for illegal immigration, and solidarity with the recent enactment of racist laws in Arizona.

    Choosing to do that on Cinco De Mayo is, at a minimum, insulting to their Mexican American peers, even if you do judge their underlying beliefs to be benign.

    In my book, when hicks from Morgan Hill choose to exploit Cinco De Mayo for a public political in favor of racist legislation - and do so by implying that celebration of Mexican American culture is unAmerican - that counts as "shouting racist slogans."
     

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