A Bay Area high school’s officials were right in banning students from wearing American flags on their shirts on Cinco de Mayo, the Ninth District Court of Appeals ruled this week.
Morgan Hill High School officials were afraid the patriotic American T-shirts would spark ethnic violence, so banning the shirts was not a violation of the students’ free speech rights, according to the ruling.
The story goes back to May 5, 2009 during a high school’s observance of the annual Mexican holiday, when some Mexican American students were walking around campus with a Mexican flag and some Anglo students answered by hoisting “a makeshift American flag up a tree” and chanting “USA,” according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
So, when this came up in Morgan Hill, school officials wanted to ward off any problems by banning anyone from wearing anything that might be construed as patriotic American themed to school on Cinco de Mayo.
Now, I think it’s important to remind readers of a couple of indisputable facts.
One, Morgan Hill is a city in the state of California, in the United States of America.
Two, Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, not an American one.
The fact that many schools, cities and other institutions here enjoy helping their Mexican-American friends and colleagues celebrate their heritage on the 5th of May, does not change these facts. Neither does the fact that no other country that I know of, Mexico included, helps the Americans living there celebrate their heritage by throwing 4th of July parities. Just saying.
The bottom line is that for some reason, some Latino students in the United States feel justified in reacting violently when faced with the fact that California is part of the United States of America. This should not be acceptable to anyone, and the onus for preventing this type of ethnic violence must be on the group doing or threatening the violence, or terrorism wins.
It’s not the way immigrants behave; it’s the way invaders behave.
There is something terribly wrong when Americans are penalized for being American, and made to show deference to some other nationality or culture right here in our own country. I mean it’s OK to celebrate one’s culture of origin, but it’s not OK to force everyone to bow down before it.
In the Morgan Hill case, the judges ruled that the school’s actions “were tailored to avert violence and focused on student safety.”
The other approach, and the one I would have taken were it up to me, would be to say any violence related to this celebration will cause the celebration to be cancelled forever more. Or the rule would be no one, neither side, is allowed to display anything of a nationalistic nature.
But to punish the Anglos by banning American patriotism on an American campus in favor of Mexican patriotism on an American campus is strange, crazy and wrong.
It seems to me to give new meaning to the phrase Mexican American. Maybe those on the side of the violently militant Mexican American students are less Mexican American than they are Mexicans living in America; which is an entirely different thing.
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