Friday, November 12, 2010

Denair, California Middle School Boy Originally Told Not to Fly American Flag on His Bike Due to "Racial Tensions"

In Denair, California, a 13 year old middle school student named Cody was told by the campus supervisor of his school that he needed to remove an American flag from his bicycle that he had been flying on it since returning to school this Fall.  He complied with the instructions to remove the flag while on school premises but re-installs the flag on his bike when going home. 

Evidently, according to the school's superintendent, the boy is now able to keep his American flag on his bike.  He was originally told to remove the flag because of "racial tensions" from supposedly Hispanic students that were still upset over some issues since Cinco de Mayo. 

The outrage generated in the press from this has evidently been huge, and understandably so. 

My question, is why was this not originally used as a teaching moment?  Even though it is California, it is STILL a part of the United States and no one should ever have to be in fear of flying our nation's flag within its boundaries accordingly.  The flag represents our nation for ALL races that comprise our American population, so the racial tension argument is fallacious to begin with, for me. 

Now if these tensions are being raised by foreign nationals that are attending our schools, then they need to be taught that they are indeed living in our country as legal guests (hopefully) and need to show the proper respect for the country that is providing them an education.  If they are not here legally, then that is entirely different subject that I won't digress upon in this posting for now.  Needless to say their feelings on the issue should not be heeded at all under such circumstances.

Regardless, this is where school officials should have stepped in and discussed this with the individuals that had problems with Cody flying an American flag on his bicycle in Denair, California, The United States of America.

Thankfully they have reneged on their original request and Cody is once again proudly flying the star spangle banner from the back of his bike!

See the full video here.


S.W. Anderson said...

"The outrage generated in the press from this has evidently been huge, and understandably so."

I went to Yahoo! News, searched on "Denair, Calif., boy school flag" and got four hits, three consisting of the same Fox video.

". . .why was this not originally used as a teaching moment?"

How do you know it wasn't? The news story doesn't indicate that it wasn't or wouldn't be. From that story:

Stanislaus County Schools Superintendent Edward Parraz "said the campus has recently experienced some racial tension. He said some students got out of hand on Cinco de Mayo.

"'Our Hispanic, you know, kids will, you know, bring their Mexican flags and they'll display it, and then of course the kids would do the American flag situation, and it does cause kind of a racial tension which we don't really want,' Parraz said. 'We want them to appreciate the cultures.'

"Parraz said if a disruption arises over a flag, they want it to be taken down to protect the safety of all students."

I understand how telling the boy to not show his bicycle flag on school grounds goes against the grain. It seems like disrespecting our country to placate a bunch of people whose opinion supposedly shouldn't count on such a thing, especially if they are legal aliens and doubly so if they're illegal aliens. That's an understandable first thought — and exactly why Fox News saw fit to make a story of it.

Let's go past the first thought to evaluate what's going on here. This happened at a middle school. I remember middle school well, and the memories aren't fond. It's a tweens-early teens thing that seems to bring out the worst in some kids, and kids that age can be especially snotty.
(continues . . .)

S.W. Anderson said...

What we don't have in the news story is any word from any Hispanic student or parent. There are at least two sides to every story, and a good reporter would get Cody Denair's side, school officials' side and Hispanic students' side. But of course this story was a Fox News piece tailored for a purpose, two actually, and so it's missing a key piece.

If that missing piece had been included, I suspect you'd hear from Hispanic students and/or parents, that they got a bunch of crap from non-Hispanic students when they held their Cinco de Mayo celebration. That kind of thing is almost to be expected among middle schoolers. So, when Cody Denair made a point of showing the U.S. flag on his bike at school, Hispanic kids took it as a taunt, which they resented.

Parraz sensibly put first things first. Yes, make a teaching moment of this. Yes, try to get the kids to be respectful and tolerant of one another. But first and foremost when you're a school official, you've got to be concerned with peace and safety. Because parents, non-Hispanic and Hispanic, demand that first and foremost.

At the center of this are kids at a difficult, rowdy age. Go to the New York City area, and you're likely to see school and community functions where Jewish kids have Israeli flags up. There are occasions in Italian-American neighborhoods where you'll see Italian Flags hung in front of homes and businesses, and probably sometimes at school functions. I'm sure that nowadays there are occasions when in Brooklyn you'll see a bunch of Russian flags or Mexican flags on display. The showing of these foreign flags almost never generates problems. People with roots in many nations are proud of their heritage and culture, and like to show the old-country flag from time to time.

This is a hot-button issue in California now because of resentment and demonization on both sides. No small part of that, I'm sorry to say, is because some try to make political hay by demonizing Hispanics. It's an ugly and unethical thing to do.

The bottom line is that who shows what flag, and where and when, matters less than working against ignorance, hatred and political and the exploitation of both for political gain.

T. Paine said...

On the whole, I agree with most of your sensible comments, Anderson. Of course, safety is first and foremost the number one priority.

I cannot say, nor can you, that the local Fox affiliate did not try to get an interview with the anonymous Hispanic students/parents that were annoyed by Cody's flying an American flag.

I do indeed hope that this is used as a teaching moment, and perhaps it has been or will be. The superintendent struck me as a reasonable guy. And I do concur with your assessment of most middle school kids.

In the end though, I absolutely respect legal immigrants to our country to love and respect their traditions and homeland; however, the concept of the melting pot and embracing Americanism seems to have become an anachronism.

In the final analysis, this is America and its flag should always be allowed to fly proudly, sir.

free0352 said...

Go ahead and beat up Fox there SW, but you're still doging an important point.

These Hispanic kids are pissed an American flag got flown in defiance of their old country flag. That is FUBAR dude. I'll tell you this as an Hispanic myself, a kid like that is likely a La'Raza moron looking to start trouble. They do Hispanics a huge disservice with that BS, they hurt thier people and make our whole race look bad. They reinforce a lot of racist crap amoung some whites.

They don't fly those flags the way the Irish do on Saint Paddy's day or the way the Italians plaster their flag all over. It isn't an ethnic pride thing so much as a MEXICO above AMERICA thing with those dudes. I have no tolerance for that BS and niether should the school.

You know you're probably right about teachers trying to deescalate a situation. That's also a cop out on the part of the teachers. They're too scared either of violence or PC bullshit about being racist to stand up to some young Hispanic punks who probably don't remember mexico anyway- and so instead they pick on the white kid because that's safe. That's discrimination, and racist and stupid on top of it.

I say, if these mexican kids feel so strongly about the mexican flag that simply seeing an American flag freaks them out, we aught to send their asses back to Mexico. We'll see how much they love that American flag after they dodge some death squads in Juarez or tejuana for a few days.

T. Paine said...

Fascinating perspective Free. I definitely understand and am more inclined to agree with your views on this one, sir.

free0352 said...

I'm not a "sir" Paine, I work for a living! :)

T. Paine said...

Damn. I usually am quite careful about that with the good enlisted men I run into. My sincere apologies. Don't try to kick my butt for that please. I'd hate to have to hurt ya if you tried... ;)

free0352 said...

Careful of me you know I'm fragile...

S.W. Anderson said...

". . . the concept of the melting pot and embracing Americanism seems to have become an anachronism."

That has been said periodically for generations. I remember it being said when I was a kid, using the example that in New York City there were places where you could walk around all day and hardly hear anyone speaking English. I laughed when I read an article a few years ago about neighborhoods in New York and Brooklyn where more people were speaking Russian than English.

The melting pot is still melting, just as it always has. It works in generations, a family, a neighborhood, a region at a time.

free0352 said...

Clearly America's history has largely been anti immigrant. Just look how the Irish and Chinese were treated. Established Americans sometimes need to remember that "Melting pot" also means "they have to melt too"

That being said, LaRaza type Mexicans are doing Hispanics a great dissevice with their radicalism. They are a great but vocal minority- and they're making us (hispanics) all look bad.

One of the ways they do that is by for example... objecting to a kid flying the American flag on his bike.