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

    You are also responsible for your own speech. And that includes what you actually say, not only what you intended to say. When the two don't line up, and problems are caused by that, it is incumbent upon adults to recognize that they misspoke, apologize for confusion, and clarify.

    If these kids were misconstrued, then an apology is in order, and a clarification needed. If that's not forthcoming, then the reasonable position is that they did indeed intend the message that was recieved.

    Not a good option for a school community wherein the populace is constrained to a fixed, young age group. And that is why your normal free speech rights do not entirely hold in the context of students at school - administrators are granted considerable latitude to deal with behavior that disrupts the school environment, for the reason that everyone also has a right to recieve their education in a safe, productive environment. Ignoring the trolls and waiting for them to grow up doesn't work when it comes to keeping high school kids in line - they'll have long since graduated and moved away before they grow up.
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  3. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    The right in question, here, is the right to a safe, productive learning environment in schools. Students do not have the right to disrupt the learning environment. This is not a matter of protecting anyone's "feelings," but rather of protecting their right to an education.

    If this had occurred amongst adults in some public setting (a park, say), the story would be different. Then it would be a simple matter of the right to say whatever asshole things one likes. But not when it's kids doing it in a school.

    You mean, people shouldn't use the flag of our country as a part of speech intended to piss off other citizens.

    When people do that, the targets of their scorn sure as hell should get pissed off about seeing anyone so misuse the flag of their own country.
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  5. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    I have repeatedly cited interviews they gave to the press detailing what their political views are.

    Is anyone else noticing the ongoing accumulation of rightist arguments here that are based on nothing more than fabricated ignorance? It's striking that it continues - accelerates, even - once it's been called out as such, and countering information presented.
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  7. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Plenty of Americans are dual citizens, you realize. Do you find dual nationality offensive, in the first place?

    The implication that high school children can choose whether or not to be offended is interesting - but that's a side issue. The question here is whether the offending students did things that could be reasonably expected (by the administrators) to lead to disruption.

    The question of what the offenders should reasonably have expected is also interesting, as well as the question of what they did expect.

    Perhaps, then, what they desire is not to assimilate per se, but for the culture to broaden so as to include them. Pretty much like it has for most other groups that immigrated here - the idea that everyone must always assimilate into some fixed, pre-existing culture is a racist canard. That's not generally how healthy immigration works. It's simply an excuse for you to resent them for being different than you, since you're too lazy or insecure to broaden your culture to include others.

    That's not to say that immigrants don't have to make their part of the effort as well. But to pretend that it's incumbent on them to do all of the work is, in a country like the United States, pretty much preposterous on its face. Which is why it's difficult to see how such an insistence can indicate anything other than a basic animus towards the immigrants in question.

    That's both baseless and extremely offensive. This is exactly the sort of cheap nationalist rhetoric that the flag was included in this effort to provoke: you invoke this bizarre insistence on total patriotic naivety towards any display of the flag, and then insist that anyone who feels otherwise is a traitor. That would be ironic - since the entire reason the victims objected to begin with was the use of the flag to imply that they're traitors - if it weren't so fucking vile.

    A paraphrase, since you guys insist on playing the simpleton here:
    "My flag says you're not a real American!"
    "That's offensive!"
    "See! Only a traitor would be offended by what the flag says!"

    WTF are you talking about? The response in question was by a school administrator. Hispanic students don't have the authority to send other students home from school.

    So what, exactly, is this unproper response from the Hispanic students that you find so seditious?
  8. WillNever Valued Senior Member

    Nay, not if that misinterpretation is purposeful, forced, and aimed to race bait, as is probably the case with any Mexicans who are pretending to be angered by exposure to the American flag. In that case, the Mexicans should be apologizing for exhibiting this sort of highly phony victim posturing complex.

    After being shown this article, I e-mailed it to a couple people of hispanic descent whom I know. Their responses were as follows:

    That's real testimonial from two ACTUAL hispanics, both of them of Mexican descent and one of them whose citizenship continues to remain Mexican. These two hispanics are embarrassed by the reaction toward the students, and this appears to invalidate the idea that American flags are offensive to hispanics who profess to want to live in America.
    Last edited: May 7, 2010
  9. WillNever Valued Senior Member


    One of the students who was wearing the flag is of Mexican descent himself. The vice principal who decided that the American flags were racist towards Mexicans was a Mexican-American.

    One of these individuals allowed their ethnicity to decide their beliefs. The other individual stood up for his beliefs in SPITE of his ethnicity.

    Food for thought.
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    (Insert Title Here)

    Well, let's compare:

    Conservative: You can't play that music because it offends me.

    Liberal: You cannot verbally abuse your employees on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, or creed.​

    I'm not too distressed about not being able to call people nigger and bitch while at work.

    Norwegians and Irish in this town, man. And nobody blinks. (Really, this is a town that occasionally hosts the King of Norway, most recently, as I recall, in the 1990s.)

    Don't ever wonder why people find conservative artistic criticism useless; it lacks any sense of subtlety. In this case, the subtlety you're overlooking is in the statement—

    "They are choosing to be offended by their own flag, and then flying the flag of another nation in preference to that of their own."​

    It's not the flag that bothers them. It's the way in which it is perceived as a supremacist statement against a culture.

    Right there is a huge difference, but seemingly one that escapes your recognition.

    Such a compensatory statement suggests a bit about the dimensions of your perception. Why not show up to a Veterans Day parade wearing an Italian flag? Or North Korean? Maybe it's someone's proper heritage, but that would be going out of one's way to flip a bird at the vets, don't you think?

    The proposition that proper expression is subject to your approval is a bit absurd. It would have been a response, and even a reasonable response.

    And that makes sense if we boil these issues down to the pabulum simplicity you demand.

    Well, look at what liberal pandering to conservative appeasement demands has won us. It's time to stop surrendering to madness.
  11. sifreak21 Valued Senior Member

    i do believe the VP was mexican also, if he was caucasion or black would the outcome have been different?
  12. WillNever Valued Senior Member

    Correct, he was of Mexican descent.

    As well, certain people in this thread seem to believe that backlashing against the flag-wearing students is a "left argument." I am here to state that that is not the case. "Left arguments" do not somehow equate to "all arguments in favor of ethnic minorities."

    I am probably one of the most left wing people on all of Sciforums, I'm white (Scottish and German ancestry, specifically) with blue eyes, brown hair, and I too condemn the Mexican backlash against the flag-wearing students in this event.
  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    This is what we've made

    Will, you need to stop trying to paint this according to the conservative palette. In a recent case in Tennessee, a boy was sent home from school for wearing too gay a t-shirt. The administration's position was that they had seen a gay-related fight a week before, and made their stand against further disruption on the heels of the prior incident. As I noted to our neighbor Madanthonywayne:

    Thus we might consider what other factors might have contributed to the school's decision. To the one, if, as Quad suggests, there are legitimate concerns related to past violence in Morgan Hill, we can expect those incidents and effects to enter consideration. And, to the other, if there are legitimate concerns related to past violence in Morgan Hill, that only increases the asshole score for these students.​

    At present, one of the challenges about understanding this incident is that we don't have all the relevant facts of the administration's decision.

    But such a situation would imply that the students might have been ordered to change for their own protection. This, of course, is a deplorable situation, but also one that falls in line with much of our present American ethos. We hear that logic come up in various sociopolitical debates, such as the gay fray°. That is, people are expected to give over to the sensitivities of the intolerant. Another should suffer so a bigot doesn't feel uncomfortable. We might find the situation repugnant, either generally or specifically in this case, but it is hard to argue that such an outcome does not reflect the ongoing trend.

    Perception is everything in a case like this. As one of the offending students explained, "People took our message the wrong way." And as I considered in response to that idea, nobody has really made clear what their message actually was. They've had a few days to concoct whatever justification they would like; let's see what they can come up with.


    ° such as the gay fray — The argument goes that homosexuals should not raise children because those kids will be victimized by bigots in their communities. This argument persists despite studies suggesting that children of gay parents perform at least as well as their peers, and some evidence would even say that they do better in certain aspects of their educational and social lives. Yet we are reminded constantly that the only appropriate thing to do in the face of intolerance is to give over to the bullies. Now, the proverbial shoe is on the other foot, and many who would give over to the bullies any other day are offended by the implications of their own arguments.
  14. PsychoTropicPuppy Bittersweet life? Valued Senior Member

    And? Too much political correctness. If someone gets provoked by that then they've got serious identity issues..Everything seems to get interpreted the worst way possible nowadays..
  15. nirakar ( i ^ i ) Registered Senior Member

    The flag was being used that day as a heckling tool. What was provocative was not the flag but rather the intent to provoke.

    The US flag can say many things. What it says depends on the context of how the flag is used. Sometimes the flag means we love freedom and equality for all and sometimes the flag means we would love it if everybody who did not conform to our beliefs beliefs got their asses kicked.

    For the story in context rather than the story being turned into deceptive inflammatory political theater go to this link and watch the first video

    My impression: The small clique of flag wearing kids were being provocative for the sake of being provocative. I don't think that group of friends that caused the problem were all that racist. One was part Mexican and if his friends did not mind him being part Mexican they probably also were not hard core racists. I don't think these kids were really being patriotic. They only wore the US flags because it was Cinco De Mayo and they knew they could get some attention by wearing US flags on that day. That 40% Mexican school celebrates Cinco De Mayo.

    Those kids were essentially saying fuck you to the Cinco De Mayo celebrators. That is why the principal intervened when some other students complained. Across the USA, school policies on free speech and free expression are all over the place. High schools generally are not as free as universities or shopping malls. Many high schools ban various political expressions but these kids were not really expressing anything except some vague hostility for multiculturalism and a desire for attention.

    The school backed down from it's stance but since Cinco De Mayo was over that backing down was meaningless.

    As a high school principal what should you do when some of your students are trying to deliberately antagonize others of your students? What should you do to a obnoxious and provocative heckler at a high school basketball game? These kids were hecklers and heckling is free speech but deliberate attempts to inflame tensions between cliques at a high school is bad counterproductive behavior.

    If the kids wanted to thoughtfully protest against multiculturalism should the kids have more free speech rights than if the kids wanted to be antagonistic just for the fun of being antagonistic?
  16. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Of which there is no evidence, here.

    The question is what a reasonable person would infer from the speech in question. And I don't think that's particularly mysterious in this case - all of the arguments to the contrary rely on manufactured ignorance ("the flag can't mean anything offensive, by definition" being the primary one).

    That you've attacked your own strawman using anonymous anecdotes does not impress.

    So what? It certainly wouldn't be the first time that Americans of Mexican descent engaged in ugly bigotry directed at immigrants.

    Also, as to the OMD provocateur you guys keep invoking: his father was Mexican and apparently bailed out long, long ago. He was raised entirely by his white mother. So perhaps he is motivated by some daddy issues.
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    It's the Uncle Tom syndrome. Ever watch an Afro-American cop arrest an Afro-American motorist?
  18. milkweed Valued Senior Member

    The school was wrong. And they know it.

    "Galli says he and his friends were sitting at a table during brunch break when the vice principal asked two of the boys to remove American flag bandannas that they wearing on their heads and for the others to turn their American flag T-shirts inside out. When they refused, the boys were ordered to go to the principal's office.

    "They said we could wear it on any other day," Daniel Galli said, "but today is sensitive to Mexican-Americans because it's supposed to be their holiday so we were not allowed to wear it today.""

    If it is 'sensitive' for mexi-americans, it is because it is an example of the failings of teaching history and not because some kids wore flag shirts/bandanas.

    "The Morgan Hill Unified School District does not prohibit nor do we discourage wearing patriotic clothing. The incident on May 5 at Live Oak High School is extremely unfortunate. While campus safety is our primary concern and administrators made decisions yesterday in an attempt to ensure campus safety, students should not, and will not, be disciplined for wearing patriotic clothing."

    Cinco de mayo is a minor holiday in a few parts of Mexico. Simply put, it is a celebration of Mexico refusing to honor its debt payment, specifically interest on borrowed money, with France. It has little in comparison to St. Patricks day (which it has been compared to) but I suppose, in a convoluted way, it could be compared to the boston tea party. Difference being, Mexico agreed to the conditions of the loan, and then reneged.

    Interesting trivia on protest colors of St Pats day.

    and here:
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Primarily in Puebla, where the battle that it celebrates took place.
    That's one the most convoluted stretches I've ever seen put on a cultural topic. Did you formerly write for Pravda, explaining how the Russians invented the cotton gin and computers?

    France was a rather dishonorable country in those days, led by Napoleon III. Mexico had been shattered by a 25-year civil war with Spain and its economy was in wretched shape. Defaulting on debt was unavoidable. France invaded Mexico, aided by Spain and England. On May 5, 1862, a small company of Mexican soldiers defeated a larger, better-armed French force at Puebla, giving hope to the entire population. This is what Cinco de Mayo celebrates: one battle.

    The French were not defeated yet, and went on to capture the capital, which in those days was at Veracruz. But the Mexican army put up such a fight that the French were unable to divert any of their troops and material to help the Confederate army in the American Civil War.

    France and the U.S. were not exactly allies at that time. Many Americans never forgave them for supporting the Confederacy, and when World War I broke out there was strong sentiment for entering on the side of the Germans.

    Without the distraction of the Mexican war, it's likely that French interference in our Civil War would have caused it to drag on for many more years. As it is, it was possibly the bloodiest war since the era of Genghis Khan, killing two or three percent of the country's population, and creating rifts between Northern and Southern Americans and between light-skinned and dark-skinned Americans that have still not healed 150 years later.

    The U.S. was extremely grateful to Mexico for their inadvertent help. When the Civil War ended, the U.S. jumped in to return the favor in Mexico's war with France. All American military personnel were offered passage to the Mexican border, where they were allowed to surrender their weapons and uniforms, accept discharge, and enlist immediately in the Mexican army.

    With this assistance, the Mexicans prevailed over the French and retained their sovereignty. This cemented an enduring bond between the two countries. After Pearl Harbor, and again after 9/11, Mexicans queued up for blocks around the U.S. embassies and consulates, hoping to come to our aid and join the U.S. military. Just as, until the end of time, Americans will always die to defend England, Mexicans will always die to defend America.

    This is what Cinco de Mayo is about. Nobody remembers why the Franco-Mexican War started. They only remember how it ended, that the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, was the turning point, and that America saved Mexico.
    Again, your spin on the culture of the Melting Pot is certainly unique. Sociologists routinely compare Cinco de Mayo to Oktoberfest, St. Patrick's Day and Chinese New Year, all of which are celebrations of national cultures and the Americans whose ancestors came from those nations.

    We don't have a day for Italy so we eat pizza all the time.

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  20. milkweed Valued Senior Member

    My convoluted history matches the students. It was with intent.

    We didnt support France, in part because we had already screwed Mexico out of plenty of land for the US:

    And of course, we didnt want the french/brits/spanish having access/territories along the s. US.

    And the celebration of cinco de mayo is a direct result of Mexico refusing to honor its debt to France, Britain and Spain. Mexico gave them the excuse by their own actions.

    "He was enthroned as Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico. Maximilian of Habsburg was very much the product of progressive ideas in vogue in the West at the time. He favored the establishment of a limited monarchy sharing powers with a democratically elected congress and inspired laws that abolished child labor, limited working hours, and abolished a system of land tenancy that virtually amounted to serfdom among the Indians. This was too liberal to please Mexico's conservatives, while the liberals refused to accept a monarch, leaving Maximilian with few enthusiastic allies within Mexico."

    But we are going way off topic.

    Back to the school issue. The school was straight up wrong. I can see it through their (schools) eyes, I just dont agree with their vision.
  21. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    I'm embarrassed to say that I was unaware of most of that. I knew that Cinco de Mayo commemorated Mexico defeating a superior French force, but I'd not heard of it in the context of the US Civil War.
    Sure. But a US flag would never be seen as provocative or out of place at a St. Patrick's Day celebration.

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  22. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    I agree with that, but do teachers need to wait until after a fight breaks out before they do anything? Or, if they can proactively defuse the situation, how do they do it? By sending all the Mexican Americans kids home for the day?

    I have a right to insert the words "Not at all under your fictional God" into the pledge of allegiance, and if anyone is incited to violence that is their fault, but if I were in high school and teachers asked me to stop because it might cause a fight...

    It seems to me that the teachers always value "order" over liberty when it comes to conduct on school grounds.
  23. nirakar ( i ^ i ) Registered Senior Member

    It would have been that out of place and provocative in 1885 at a Saint Patrick's day celebration when the Irish American kids knew that much of society was saying nasty things about the Irish and were wishing the Irish would stop coming. It is all about context. If the flag is intended to provoke it will provoke but only after some group has been told that they are unwelcome and unAmerican.

    Go into an Irish bar next Saint Patric's day with a group of guys wearing Union Jacks on Orange clothing and claim to be proud protestants and see if that is provocative.
    Last edited: May 8, 2010

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