CA - American students catch heat for wearing red, white & blue on Cinco de Mayo

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by tlcya, May 7, 2010.

  1. Nova

    Nova Well-Known Member

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    No, I think you're racist because you keep calling these students "Mexicans" when we have no evidence that most are anything but Mexican-American citizens of the U.S.

    (I don't really think you are racist, Trident. I certainly don't know you well enough to make such a judgment. I do think you used words carelessly in the example I cited above.)
     


  2. Nova

    Nova Well-Known Member

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    I care because it's a huge holiday where I have lived (Southern California) for the past 30 years. It has nothing to do with Mexico v. the U.S. As you and others point out, it isn't even a big day in Mexico.

    But it has become a big holiday here in the Southwest in celebration of the countless contributions of Latino culture to our part of the U.S. I am more than happy to celebrate that influence because it has enriched our region and my own life.
     
  3. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    When knowledge and reason don't work, you do what you gotta do. It is a shame.

    Frankly, I prefer knowledge and reason. Unfortunately, people who hate free speech don't listen to knowledge or reason.
     
  4. time

    time New Member

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    I don't think anyone here can or should be accused of hating free speech.

    [Oh, sorry, I see that only certain people are 'true lovers of freedom', the one's you apparently deem to fit in that category or not. :floorlaugh::floorlaugh:]
     
  5. Nova

    Nova Well-Known Member

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    Well, *I* was listening. I think others were, too.

    I still agree with you in terms of adults. I just think children--at an institution they are forced to attend--are a special case.
     
  6. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    nova, sadly, you are the only voice on the "other side" of this debate who has come anywhere close to saying that you think the vice-principal erred. You have also attempted to justify his decision by opining that flag-wearing might be excluded from protection under the "fighting words" exception.

    And then we were treated to these gems:

    I am so mad at these bigots

    the flag-wearers were a$$-clowns

    Looks like a KKK rally to me

    They had their little racist rally outside the school....Nobody is interfering with their rights to be racist bigots.

    white people waving American flags in the faces of Mexican students on Cinco de Mayo is the closest thing I have seen to the KKK holding an anti-civil rights rally on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

    racism at it worst.

    Americans use other heritages as excuses to get obliterated, which is gross, IMHO.

    Posters here calling students bigots and racists because they wanted to wear an American-flag t-shirt. Posters making mean, hateful generalizations about Americans and white people because they wanted to wave the flag. Posters comparing peaceful, flag-waving protesters to the KKK. And these are the very same people who think that students shouldn't be allowed to wear the American flag, and who think flag-wearers are offensive.

    I support the right of every one of the people who made every one of those comments above to hold such opinions and to make such comments. However, they shouldn't be surprised if I call out their comments and point out that such comments are fully as hateful and racist and bigoted as they think the flag-wearing students were.

    The difference between them and me is that I would never enlist the force and power of the state to silence them, nor would I use the force and power of the state to suppress the rights of Mexican or Mexican-American students at the school. But they would use the force and power of the state to suppress the free-speech rights of the flag-wearing students at that school.
     
  7. Solitaryone

    Solitaryone Active Member

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    Thank You, Sonjay! :goodpost:
     
  8. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    Do me a favor? Go read about the anti-war black armband case. It was Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent Community School District. There's plenty of resources to be found through Google.

    This was during the 1960s. Passions running high. People were dying in Viet Nam. Hateful, volatile protests by both sides. Children in the schools whose fathers had been killed in Viet Nam, or were at the time in combat in Viet Nam. Extremely volatile situation all over the country. (Remember Kent State?)

    The Supreme Court said, in Tinker, "It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate."

    The Court held that in order for school officials to justify censoring speech, they "must be able to show that [their] action was caused by something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint," allowing schools to forbid conduct that would "materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school. The Court found that the actions of the Tinkers in wearing armbands did not cause disruption and held that their activity represented constitutionally protected symbolic speech.

    The very first enumerated finding in Tinker was this:

    In wearing armbands, the petitioners were quiet and passive. They were not disruptive and did not impinge upon the rights of others. In these circumstances, their conduct was within the protection of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth.

    Shall we replace the word "armbands" with the word "t-shirts" and see if it still fits?

    Surely there were students at that school whose fathers, brothers, uncles were at that moment in combat in Viet Nam, or had been killed or maimed in Viet Nam. Surely there were students at that school who in fact had extremely good reasons to be highly offended by the armband-wearing students.

    And yet.... that's not enough for schools to infringe the free-speech rights of the other students.

    If the anti-war black armbands in the 1960s, in the volatile milieu of that time, were not "disruptive" enough to justify the suppression of free speech of students in school, it's laughable to think that American-flag t-shirts worn on what is essentially a drinking holiday could possibly be sufficiently "disruptive" to justify the suppression of free speech of students in school.

    Yes, even students have free speech rights, and even students who are offended have to learn to deal with it. Whether you're a kid with a dead father killed in a war or a Mexican-American kid wanting to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

    Free speech is more than an empty slogan. Free speech means that you will be exposed to messages you really really don't like, and you have to deal with it. Everyone does. We all do. Every last one of us.
     
  9. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    And while we're at it, let's clarify a few things about this case:

    From the court's decision:

    At least one party to this appeal, student M.D., wore American flag clothing to school on Cinco de Mayo 2009. M.D. was approached by a male student who, in the words of the district court, “shoved a Mexican flag at him and said something in Spanish expressing anger at [M.D.’s] clothing.

    It was the Mexicans who were "shoving" (not waving peacefully, but "shoving") Mexican flags in the faces of the other students. Is that "racism at its worst"?

    Which brings me to the next point:

    On Cinco de Mayo in 2009, a year before the events relevant to this appeal, there was an altercation on campus between a group of predominantly Caucasian students and a group of Mexican students.(2)

    Footnote 2: We use the ethnic and racial terminology employed by the district court (Caucasian, Hispanic, Mexican). For example, the district court at times referred to students of Mexican origin born in the United States and students born in Mexico collectively as “Mexican.” We adopt the same practice here, for the limited purpose of clarifying the narrative.


    And so here we have posters being called racist for using the same terminology used by the court. For purposes of discussing this case, I see no reason to avoid using the same shorthand terminology the the court saw fit to use. If you want to label people "racist" for using that terminology, you need to start by labelling racist the court that made the decision that you approve of.

    As for concern about disruption? From the petition for cert:

    despite Respondents’ concerns related to the 2009 Cinco de Mayo incident and their claims of
    racial tension, see App. 27, Boden approved the Cinco de Mayo activities for May 5, 2010


    So, we had an "incident" during the 2009 Cinco de Mayo involving "racial tension," and yet the school did not act on their concerns about disruption in 2010 by cancelling the Cinco de Mayo celebration. If they were so concerned about disruption, they should have cancelled the 2010 celebration.

    As for the school's actual reason for banning the flag-wearing? It wasn't a content-neutral fear of disruption; rather, it was very specifically an illegal viewpoint-based action taken because the school wanted to suppress any messages that might not be sufficiently respectful of the Mexican students. Here's an excerpt from the reply brief to the petition for cert:

    • According to Respondents, during this meeting they “wanted to make sure also that there was an
    understanding of the importance, the cultural significance of Cinco De Mayo to our Hispanic students.”
    • Respondent Rodriguez testified as follows: “[T]he fact that it was Cinco de Mayo that day, I asked them, ‘Why today out of all days? Why today?’”
    • Respondent Rodriguez warned the students who were permitted to return to class to be “respectful” of the Cinco De Mayo activities that were to occur during lunch that day.

    The record, therefore, amply discloses that Respondents’ speech restriction was based on the very
    fact that “it was Cinco de Mayo,” demonstrating that the restriction was viewpoint based, the most egregious form of content discrimination.

    Source: http://www.americanfreedomlawcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/14-720-Reply-Brief.pdf

    And as for actual disruption? There was none. From the petition for cert (same source as above):

    The record reveals “that no classes were delayed or interrupted by [Petitioners’] attire, no incidents of violence occurred on campus that day, and prior to asking [Petitioners] to change [Respondent] Rodriguez had heard no reports of actual disturbances being caused in relation to [Petitioners’] apparel.

    As for avoiding or preventing disruption? If they wanted to avoid disruption, the school should have allowed the students to wear their shirts. Here's an excerpt from the brief in opposition to cert (IOW, the lawyers for the school administrators, who had won in circuit court and didn't want the Supreme Court to review the case):

    The next day, May 6, saw considerable disruption. Media crews, protestors and police all came to the school campus. The District’s superintendent received about 5,000 emails in an eight-hour period, which shut down the District’s school server multiple times. “There were many anti-immigration themed messages.”

    In response to the tumult, about 70 to 80 students walked out of class. According to a parent of one of the student-petitioners: “There was a man in a wheelchair with an American flag and a bunch of the male students went up to him, got in his face and ripped that flag out of his hands.” Another parent heard a Hispanic student and the man in the wheelchair shouting “Viva Mexico” and “F-U, F-U” back and forth, as they had a “tug of war over the flag.” The three student-petitioners received threats.

    Events were sufficiently tumultuous that none of the three student-petitioners went to school even the next day, May 7. (“afraid to go to school” because of “[a]ll the threats I had been receiving”), (“My parents didn’t think it would have been safe for me.”), (“after talking to the police”).
    Source: http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-co...-in-Opposition-to-Petition-for-Certiorari.pdf

    So, it would seem that the school's flag-wearing ban itself resulted in considerable disruption. Several dozen students walked out of class. A physical assault on a man in a wheelchair. A swarm of media crews. Students were kept home. Threats and tumult exploded. If the goal of the ban was to avoid disruption, it sounds like it was an epic fail.

    It's generally helpful to look at the actual facts surrounding an issue. This case has been misunderstood and misreported. It's been used to demonize students who were peacefully wearing patriotic clothing. It's been used to justify content-based infringements on free speech. The school's actions resulted in plenty of the very disruption they claimed to be concerned about.
     
  10. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    Early on, I brought up the black armband Viet Nam case (the Tinker case). Nobody here was interested enough in the "disruption" aspect to even comment on it. Rather, there was just more and more and more commentary about the KKK and racism and how Americans like to drink themselves insensible and how the flag is offensive and racist.

    I have now posted a more comprehensive look at the Tinker case (see my earlier post above). I believe that the Morgan Hill case is sufficiently similar to the Tinker case that the school's decision was wrong, the court's decision was wrong, and the 9th Circuit's decision was wrong.

    Unfortunately, the brief in opposition to cert made some very compelling points regarding the moot-ness of the case (not sure if moot-ness is a word, but sue me if you don't like it). By the time the petition for cert reached SCOTUS, the students had graduated. The principal was gone as a result of filing bankruptcy. The students weren't "punished" but merely silenced. The assistant principal had qualified immunity. And on and on. I don't believe that their assertions as to the substantive merits of the case had any validity, but the high level of moot-ness alone could have been the reason that SCOTUS didn't grant cert. We don't know why SCOTUS didn't take the case; they're never required to explain why they decline to grant cert in any particular case.

    I wish SCOTUS had granted cert. But I also believe that another case like this one will appear, and another, and another, and that eventually there will be a review by SCOTUS. And I believe that when happens, SCOTUS will apply the Tinker standard and rule that schools can't prohibit students from wearing American flag t-shirts (or other clothing or accessories, etc.).

    SCOTUS recognizes the overwhelmingly critical importance of free speech. In Tinker, the majority opinion wrote:
    The District Court recognized that the wearing of an armband for the purpose of expressing certain views is the type of symbolic act that is within the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. As we shall discuss, the wearing of armbands in the circumstances of this case was entirely divorced from actually or potentially disruptive conduct by those participating in it. It was closely akin to "pure speech" which, we have repeatedly held, is entitled to comprehensive protection under the First Amendment.

    Symbolic speech is within the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. I don't see how anyone could argue with a straight face that wearing an America-flag themed t-shirt is anything but symbolic speech.
     
  11. Tawny

    Tawny Bye

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    Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh why is my statement about Americans using international holidays lumped in with others calling people names? Not cool. At all. I never call people names, and to imply that I do is really messed up.
     
  12. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    That statement was basically saying that Americans drink to excess, using other ethnicities as an excuse. Sorry, but it's a mean-spirited generalization about Americans. It's not cool.
     
  13. Tawny

    Tawny Bye

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    I meant no disrespect or offense. I'm simply relaying what I see in the news and, heck, on my own FB newsfeed.

    HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO *posts photos of tequila shots*
    HELL YEAH ST PATTY'S DAY *bar room full of people wearing green holding up beer steins*

    I'm sorry if my generalizations offended. But to deny that many (not all obviously) Americans DO use international holidays in ways far from their intended purpose (remembering historical victories or tragedies) is intentionally missing the point.

    We expect everyone to respect our national holidays 100% no questions asked, if you object GTFO. But we make no remarks about those among us who abuse international holidays for selfish reasons (getting drunk and partying). As Americans, being as diverse and varied as we are, we should be respectful of all the many many backgrounds of our people, to include our own. Our nation wouldn't BE what it is if it weren't for the Irish, the Hispanic, the Spanish, the Germans, the Africans... the Natives. Etc. So why do we let disrespect of those cultures slide and throw a fit when our own is allegedly disrespected? The defense is always "THIS IS AMERICA" and for me, that isn't a defense, it's a cop-out. JMO

    I hope this post clears up my intentions with what I post. :)
     
  14. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    The problem is that I don't see anyone here disrespecting any other nationalities, races, ethnicities, etc, but there's plenty of scorn, criticism and name-calling of Americans on this thread. Why is it fine to bash Americans?

    This part isn't true: We expect everyone to respect our national holidays 100% no questions asked.
    No, what we expect is for everyone to allow us to respect our holidays and our country, and when we do so, to refrain from using violence against us and to refrain from enlisting the power of the state to silence us. That's not that much to ask, IMO.

    No one tried to stop the school from holding its Cinco de Mayo celebration. No one tried to stop the Mexican students from embracing and celebrating their heritage.

    And more to the point: You wrote this: "I'm sorry if my generalizations offended." They did offend, yes. You made a blanket statement about "Americans." Not "some Americans," or your American friends, or some subset of Americans -- just "Americans." What if I made some statement like that about some other group? Mexicans are ______. Black people are _______. Muslim people are ______. I promise I would be jumped on for that and rightfully so. If I then came back and said, "Well, I didn't mean all black people" or "I didn't mean all Mexicans" I would be told off for it, and rightfully so.

    I can't help what you see in your FB newsfeed, and I have no idea where you get your news, but I would hope you realize that your FB newsfeed is not representative of all Americans, and that "the news" by definition reports things that are out of the ordinary. The news doesn't report on all the Americans who don't go out and get plastered on Cinco de Mayo.

    Again, if I made generalizations about any group of people based on what I see in the news, I would be called out on it and rightfully criticized for it.

    OTOH, I fully support your right to make such generalizations, even if I disagree with them. I would never enlist the power of the state to silence you. Because you have the right to express yourself freely, even if what you have to say is offensive to someone else. As do I. As do the Mexican students at that school, and the white students at that school. Everyone has that right. No one should be silenced because someone is offended by what they have to say.
     
  15. EllieBee

    EllieBee Former Member

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    You forgot Oktoberfest and New Years Eve! Oh! And where I live, Mardi Gras. :)

    Drinking is a HUGE part of many of our national celebrations. Just ask LE. They staff heavy on holidays known for drinking.
     
  16. EllieBee

    EllieBee Former Member

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    Also, some people who are Americans also celebrate their ancestry and culture through holidays and rituals.

    My DH wanted to put a pickle on our Christmas tree the first year we were married. I had never heard of that tradition. But I did not suggest he go back to Germany. I said "huh, okay, cool".
     
  17. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    A pickle? That's a new one on me. Is that a German tradition? Does the pickle signify something?
     
  18. KaaBoom

    KaaBoom `·.¸¸ ><((((º> ...·´`·.¸¸ ><((((º>...·

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    You need to do better research. Those flags are displayed in accordance with US and international law.

    4 U.S. Code § 7

    (g) When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.

    http://www.senate.gov/CRSReports/crs-publish.cfm?pid='0E%2C*PLS%3F%22%20%20%20%0A
     
  19. Tawny

    Tawny Bye

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    I have very clearly stated repeatedly that I am talking about all Americans.

    Unsubscribing again. I shouldn't have let my curiosity get the better of me.
     
  20. RANCH

    RANCH United we stand, divided we fall

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    I Googled the German Christmas pickle and it appears to be a myth and totally off-topic.
     

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