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

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

  1. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    Can you come up with any report of the display of the US flag being banned because it might offend the Irish? Or any reference at all regarding Irish Americans being offended by a US flag?
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  3. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    It's not "the flag" that was provocative here, but the speech into which the flag was incorporated.

    You understand that these are different things, yes?

    The misappropriation of supposedly-sacred national symbols into offensive speech is one of the oldest right wing debating tricks in the book, and is designed to elicit the sort of support that you have been so tenacious and uncritical in providing.

    To that point: it's unAmerican to employ the flag for partisan - let alone, offensive - policial speech.
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  5. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    See above. "The flag" was not "banned" here - it continued to fly on the school's flagpoles, throughout.

    Nor were the aggrieved students offended by "the flag." They were offended by political speech designed to antagonize them, one component of which was a (mis)use of the flag.

    You understand that excluding certain political speech is not the same thing as "banning the flag," yes? And that being offended by certain political speech is not the same thing as "being offended by a US flag," yes?

    It's not as if some Mexican students got offended by some plain, unadorned flag flying on a flagpole, and demanded the Administration remove all US flags from the school, or any such nonsense.

    Or let's try an object lesson: "The US flag says that Madanthonywayne is a traitorous interloper that should be rounded up and disposed of. Anyone who disagrees with this is likewise a traitorous villain, since they are offended by the flag."
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  7. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

    Especially if we go with one like this:

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  8. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    Can you find an analogous statement by any of the five students involved in this incident? The vice principle certainly never made reference to any statement or action by any of the flag bearing students but said that the mere sight of these flag shirts on cinco de mayo would incite violence.

    You are putting words in the mouths of the five students. Words they are not on the record as ever uttering. You then top that off by assuming you can see into the hearts and minds of people based upon what shirt they're wearing.
  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Wishful, blind jingoism

    There's a lot of that going around. You, for instance, are speaking for the offended students with your repeated, unfounded insistence that the mere sight of the American flag is what offended them. So perhaps you might wish to drop this part of your argument until you can better establish its veracity, and maybe focus on something more substantial?

    I don't know, just maybe?

    I mean, if there's an issue here to discuss at all, why not consider it instead of wishful, blind jingoism? Sure, it seems important for you, as a minority, to play up to white America so you can feel like part of the club, but that's your own issue, and hardly useful in any substantial consideration of this sort of situation.
  10. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    That is based upon this statement from the article quoted in the OP:
    The boys said the administrators called their T-shirts "incendiary" that would lead to fights on campus.
    The administrator called the shirts themselves incendiary. I don't think he meant the shirts were likely to burst into flame. I'm pretty sure he meant that Hispanic students would find them offensive to such an extent that they would be incited to violence.
    Playing the race card? I'd think that beneath you. Nevertheless, it has nothing to do with my opinion on this issue.
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  11. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Presumptuous patriots

    That does not make sense in the way I would conclude you hope it does. To be specific, what we have here is the following proposition:

    Because the administrator called the shirts "incendiary", we can conclude that students were offended by the sight of the American flag.​

    Words and symbols are merely words and symbols. What gives them power is what people do with them. You have been presumptuous on this point from the outset:

    "The obvious question is whether it is proper that the wearing of the symbol of our own nation should be banned at a public school. Furthermore, should a public school support the idea that a minority group might be offended by the symbol of the very nation they have chosen to live in?

    If the wearing of the US flag results in violence, clearly it is the individuals who find the sight of a US flag so provocative that they are incited to violence that are at fault.

    (Boldface and italic accents added)

    Additionally, as I have already pointed out:

    So what you have here is essentially statements of a coordinated plan to demonstrate patriotism including people who are "fired up" about a new, draconian, racist law in Arizona. Even at that level, the possibility of malevolence is a no-brainer.

    If we add to that people's perceptions of society in general and its various subsections (e.g., California, Santa Clara Valley, Morgan Hill, &c.), it isn't hard to suspect something more at play in the students' actions than simple stupidity ....

    .... "People took our message the wrong way," lamented perpetrator Dominic Maciel. And that is an understandable complaint. Except nobody has really made clear what their message actually was.​

    This, however, is apparently too complicated for you. Instead, you're relying on what is, frankly, idiot-simple presumption that happens to seem convenient to your argument:

    "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. That is not the act of a patriot or even of someone interested in assimilating into the broader culture."​

    My personal take on this specific aspect of the argument is that if you're so concerned about the idea of putting words in people's mouths, you should (A) stop doing so yourself, and (B) address the underlying issues I noted in #45 above, reiterated in this post in hopes of actually getting an answer out of any alleged proud patriots such as yourself.
  12. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    For about the 20th time in these threads, please refer to my previously-linked SJ Mercury News article wherein multiple of said students' parents go on the record as describing the speech as a planned statement of solidarity with Arizona's new immigration law, and an expression of hostility to illegal immigrants in general.

    That Cinco de Mayo - a holiday that celebrates Mexican-American culture - was chosen for making such a statement broadens that antipathy to all Mexican-Americans.

    This is not exactly rocket surgery, supposing one isn't willfully avoiding the obvious.

    He did not say that. He hasn't said much of anything publicly, in fact. What we know is that he found the displays in question sufficiently provocative to warrant sanction. We do not know what, if anything, else the students in question did or said (there are unconfirmed allegations that they were shouting aggressive nationalist slogans at students of Mexican backgrounds), or what other pieces of context contributed to his decision. He has not, to my knowledge, made any definitive public statement on what his reasoning was.

    I'm holding them accountable for the message that they actually sent - which anyone can percieve. If they were misconstrued, well, for about the 20th time on this topic: it's their responsibility to address that, apologize for the misunderstanding, and clarify.

    But that hasn't been forthcoming. I have heard no dissatisfaction from the flag-wavers as to the veracity of the message that was recieved. They seem to have gotten exactly what they wanted: they've antagonized the Mexican-American community, and also garnered a bunch of press attention and political support from racist nationalists. Everything seems to be going exactly according to the classic hate-draped-in-the-flag playbook.
  13. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    So your whole critique of this administrator is based on one out-of-context quote that is itself hearsay from the parties in hot water to begin with?

  14. nirakar ( i ^ i ) Registered Senior Member

    As everybody else has already said the flag has never been banned and was not banned in this case either.

    There may be a parallel case were some group was stopped from using flags to taunt another group for their crime of not living up to the taunters definition of being and behaving American. I am not going to try and find a parralel case because that would serve no point.

    Can't you see that the flag has no significance in this case? Nobody wants to take anybody's right to wave the flag and be patriotic away. Pretending somebody is trying to suppress patriotism or ban the flag is just more of that annoying political dishonesty that seems to have become so fashionable.

    First the anti-multicultural kids tarnish patriotism by misusing the flag to protest multiculturalism. Then the conservative culture warriors pretend that they are being oppressed when they are not allowed to oppress others.

    The interesting legal question that this case brings up is whether students of any ideology should have the right to protest in school against their fellow students and or their behavior. These kids were using the flag to protest (or to just be provocative for fun) against multiculturalism and or against Mexican immigration.

    Madanthonywayne, what do you think the flag kids were doing? Don't I have this case analyzed correctly? Somebody like Buffalo could just ignore the context entirely and stick to the "liberals and multiculturalists are oppressing patriotism, suppressing free speech, and weakening America" storyline when viewing this story; but your not Buffalo, so is it still your position that the principal was clearly wrong to make the flag kids end their quiet protest in the school cafeteria against the celebration of Cinco de Mayo?

    Did the Celebration of Cinco de Mayo oppress the flag kids?
  15. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Which context is important - free speech as it applies to schoolchildren is a markedly different beast than free speech as it applies to adults out in the public sphere.

    Schoolchildren don't have the right to say or do anything in school which disrupts the learning environment. That is what their free speech rights amount to, while they're at school. The administrator may or may not have misread the situation, or reacted to it inappropriately. But he has broad discretion to do exactly that, precisely because the right of all children to a safe, productive learning environment outweights their rights to free speech inside the confines of that environment. And it is the administration that is charged with upholding that state of affairs.
  16. mordea Registered Senior Member

    So one can antagonise American Mexicans by simply wearing the American flag? Most interesting...
  17. Gypsi Registered Senior Member

    When one is "simply" wearing the flag, no.

    When one is using the flag to convey an anti-mexican message, yes.
  18. mordea Registered Senior Member

    So the American flag is considered to be anti-Mexican by American Mexicans? Interesting. Most interesting.
  19. Gypsi Registered Senior Member

    You asked:
    I replied:
    If you re-read my response very carefully and slowly, you'll see that it does not state that the flag is "considered anti-Mexican by American Mexicans".

    Or let's make it REALLY simple for you:

    The flag itself = not offensive
    The reason the flag was worn (to express anti-Mexican sentiment) = offensive

    Got it now?
  20. mordea Registered Senior Member

    Ah, so the flag can be used to express anti-Mexican sentiment. Interesting.
  21. mordea Registered Senior Member

    What speech?
  22. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    So it would appear. Or, to use your own argument here - we're actually speaking of the idealogical context in which the event was initially seen.
    Yours notwithstanding.

    So, again, we're down to you advocating that they should have chosen what to wear based on whom it wouldn't offend.

    And yet which "side" are you falling on here?
    Quite apart from your statement about being "torn", it is apparent that you side with the schools decision - or at the very least are doing your utmost to defend it.

    Only if the school and the Mexicans had shown equal amounts of intolerance and stupidity to what you accuse the five Americans of displaying, yes?
    And yet your accusations of stupidity are aimed in only one direction.

    Rather a misrepresentation on your part. From the quotes you so courteously provided, it would appear that the "shouting" took place within the confines of the home prior to any "demonstration" of patriotism. Speaking of which, you again assign a value of stupidity to what was, in essence, what amounts to a very quiet demonstration - barely worth calling one at all.

    Is it the case now, that the tradition of protest against a government, or support for it, must be conducted in such a manner as to not offend anyone at all? You are choosing to fight what you consider to be a draconian law by enforcing an equally draconian form of censorship?

    Your choice of terms, Tiassa, is perhaps as inflammatory than the actions of those you are choosing to misrepresent.
    Perhaps we should send you home.

    Apparently? Or is it perhaps that it wasn't clear what point they were trying to make due to the simple fact that they weren't overtly making one except in the most passive manner possible?

    Publically ridiculed?
    It does look as if the majority of comment is in support of them.

    Just as you constantly remind us of yours.
  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    I'm sorry, was I supposed to be impressed?

    The one you already rejected out of hand:

    Perhaps some more reading on your part might be helpful. Or, to reiterate:

    ... I think the situation isn't so simple. In the last several years, schools have found fault with t-shirts acknowledging or implying homosexuality, declaring pacifism, supporting the U.S. Constitution, and for various other reasons. The choice to brandish the U.S. flag as a specific and agitating counterpoint to Cinco de Mayo is a question that becomes valid in this context.​

    We can scream about how wrong this seems, but the outcome at Morgan Hill is reflective of the tendency we've undertaken in America to give over to bullies. Where are all these free-speech patriots when it's a gay kid in Tennessee? Ah, but in that one, people don't get to complain about a bunch of Mexicans.

    Well, that and they would also be speaking up for a faggot. I find it a telling suggestion that it had to come to this before people decided to get upset about the situation. Even more so when we look at what they're upset about. This whole "patriotic" outrage depends on specific presuppositions, such as we see from Madanthonywayne, Mordea, and yourself, crafted specifically as a pretense for that outrage.

    And then, when presented with alternative considerations more complex and subtle, they either complain of words being put in people's mouths (e.g., Madanthonywayne), or blindly reassert their customized outrage (e.g., Mordea).

    Well, I suppose there is also a faction that miss the point, embarrass themselves with deplorable reading comprehension, and aim to compensate—

    —by trying to make the argument personal.

    There's nothing new under the sun about your argument, Marquis. And that includes the stench.

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