Wednesday, May 12, 2010

American Flags Ousted from High School

Save the angry emails that are most assuredly about to come my way, but I am not really sure why anybody could possibly be pissed off about 4 kids getting sent home from a California high school on Cinco de Mayo. Here's the rundown:

On Cinco de Mayo - otherwise known as National Mexican People Being Proud To Be From Mexico Day (or National Tequila/Corona Day, take your pick) - 4 students wore American Flag shirts. According to reports from school administrators, this created some hostility between the Hispanic students and other students. The school's principal asked the students to either turn the shirts inside out or go home for the day. The 4 chose to go home. And oh my goodness, what a shit storm has been caused by this.

Tea Partiers and American flag lovers around the country are trying to say that this is an affront to national pride and blah blah blah. I'm sorry, everybody, but please build a bridge and get the hell over it. With as politically correct as everybody - especially school officials - has to be these days, is it any wonder that school officials didn't want to chance racial tensions turning into acts of violence? Have you SEEN the current state of racism/immigration tensions in this country? Everybody is tense. Everybody is angry, whether you're for or against reform in its current state.

And, let's just be real for a second. When people say "immigration reform" these days, they mean Mexicans, people that look like Mexicans, and people that don't speak English and look fairly...you guessed it...like a Mexican. Interestingly, during the conference (linked above), only one student actually spoke, and that one student said that there have been growing tensions between caucasians and hispanics on that campus. If that's true, and if what reports are saying are true, then...come on...those kids knew what they were doing when they wore those shirts.

It's not like the students that were sent home were not given the opportunity to fix the situation. They chose not to, and I can almost guarantee that there is a provision in their school dress code codifying inappropriate protest material - or something of the sort. I went to a podunk little high school in the belt buckle of the Bible Belt, but we still had a provision saying we couldn't wear anything that would support potentially racist, homophobic, or otherwise potentially harmful messages. On the occasions when some shitkicking redneck kid wore his confederate flag shirt to school, he was asked to either turn it inside out or leave campus.

Yes, despite whether the high school principal took part in civil war reenactments, which he did.

Dudes, when you wear clothes to school that you know are going to piss off the other students, expect to be sent home. I fully support the administrators' decisions, and I am also a proud American and a proud flag waver. You can do both.

What do YOU think about this situation? Leave a comment, email IncitingARiotPodcast@gmail.com, or tweet me @IncitingARiot!

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

6 comments:

  1. You get a (Pagan) Nihil Obstat. Heck, I'm not sure I consider a "flag shirt" a respectful use of the national colors, either. Depends on the design, I suppose.

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  2. It was a deliberate provocation--sort of like waving the flag of Ulster at a St. Patrick's Day parade. They were looking for trouble from the Hispanic students, and the authorities made sure that they didn't get any.

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  3. To build on what Ulbh said, allow me to post from the U.S. Flag Code:

    The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red

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  4. By the way, while I agree in principle, I shudder to think where we could end up when policies are vague about what qualifies as "disruptive" or "offensive" attire. Is a pentacle necklace "disruptive"? Well, some Christian students might decide to harass or otherwise "evangelize" a student they spot wearing such a necklace, which could get disruptive. So can all pentacle jewelry be banned as disruptive then?

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  5. Actually, Jarred, I would support a ban on religious clothing of any type in schools. I think you could have your books to read on break, but clothing isn't adding to your education on the matter of religion. It just adds to tension and social strain.

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  6. I work in education down here in the SW, and was raised by educators in this area. I know how sensitive administrators are down here to the feelings of Hispanic students, and especially the illegal students. The White,Black,Hispanic, and Native American racial divide is pretty deep on a lot of campuses, and often broken into gangs. I fully understand why the administrators did what they did.

    However, from what I remember in my education studies, I am not sure this was legal. Maybe you know better Firelyte. The Tinker Vs Des Moines decision, regarding the students wearing black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam war, said that protest apparel without other action is fine.

    I do see where the people upset about this are coming from. I can't get myself all the way there to get worked up over this case like they are. I am troubled that things are getting to the point where just wearing patriotic clothing, no matter what the day, or by what douchey kids, has the potential to incite an actual riot.


    I'm actually all for student uniforms. It would make things far more simple =p In the last year or so, the clothing has been getting particularly bad with race/nationality based slogans and symbols here in the SW.

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