Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News Cinco de Mayo flap

  1. May 10, 2010 #1
    Recently, there was a flap over some non-hispanic kids wearing images of the US flag to school on Cinco de Mayo and getting sent home because of it. So I looked up information on Cinco de Mayo. I thought we were celebrating a condiment, but here is the real skinny. It is mostly an American holiday, not much celebrated in Mexico. It commemorates a battle won by Mexicans against French forces. I wonder how it would have gone down if those kids had been wearing French flags. Here is a photo from a Cinco de Mayo celebration.

    http://symonsez.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/cincosaginaw.jpg" [Broken]

    Not surprisingly, it shows a flapping American flag as well as a Mexican one. The people seem happy enough, but I sense that they are trying in vain to hide their seething resentment. Before a fight breaks out, I want to remind them that you see American flags at all kinds of hyphened American pride celebrations in the US. I am not turning this into a formal poll, but you might like to chime in anyway:

    1. Being an idiot myself, I agree with the idiot principal of that school.
    2. Being a real person, and not a caracature of one, I am just as proud of being an American as are Mexican-Americans.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2010 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I love cinco de mayo, it's usually a great day. This year the nueve de mayo was a better day for me, though.

    I used to have a dog born on the cinco de mayo. He should have been named Juan, but the person who owned him before us (he was a used dog) had already named him Chester.
  4. May 10, 2010 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    This isn't some school in the middle of nowhere, it was a school that had had prior problems with fighting between the two groups of students. And when, on a primarily Mexican holiday, a GROUP of young men decided to wear American flag shirts its fairly obvious they were trying to push the buttons of the hispanic students. While freedom of speech and expression exist in this country, it is the responsibility of the public school administration to deem certain clothing as volatile (i.e. Gang colors), which is pretty much what this is a case of.

    The students were in the wrong. School was right.
  5. May 10, 2010 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Source? I'm vaguely interested in the background of this non-sense (the incident, not your post).
  6. May 10, 2010 #5
    The USA helped the Mexicans later defeat the French after the French had come and obliterated the Mexican army. I don't think it's proper that a school bans wearing your nations flag to school on a national holiday just because some other people may not like it.

    After looking it up actually you can see that the celebrations have become more popular in the USA than in Mexico for Americans of Mexican heritage. If they are so proud to be American-Mexican why the fuss over the flag? If they are only proud to Mexican and don't like America then they can go back to Mexico.

    I mean like, I can show I'm proud of my country on whatever day I please... especially in my own country.
  7. May 10, 2010 #6
    I disagree. I believe this event just goes to show how much faith the principal of the school had of the Latino community at this school. If all it takes is wearing a flag to set them off into a frenzy of 'gang-fighting' then that school is a miserable failure. I see this event as more of a true moment to teach the students about the real values held in a multi-cultural society... a teaching moment which the school failed miserably to capitalize on and in fact did the opposite.
  8. May 10, 2010 #7
    St. Patrick's Day and Columbus Day are the first two examples of annual celebrations that take place throughout the US that involve members of immigrant groups as well as the general population. I'm not aware of any situations of similarity...can anyone find a specific link whereby general population Americans were not permitted to "fly US colors"?
  9. May 10, 2010 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    2017 Award

    The situation seems similar to the Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. In this case, students were suspended from school for wearing black armbands in protest of the Vietnam war. The court, however, ruled that the school's ban on the armbands was unconstitutional. In the majority opinion, Justice Abe Fortas wrote that in order to justify violating students' right to free speech, the school "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." Therefore, the students seem well within their constitutional rights to have worn their American flag shirts even if such actions may have been unpopular.

    Of course, if school officials thought that the students were trying to intentionally start conflict with other students by wearing these shirts, school officials would be well within their rights to monitor these students and intervene should they try to start a fight. But that is the point where the school should intervene and not when they show up in the American flag shirts.
  10. May 11, 2010 #9
    Insufficient information.

    No link, no details, merely speculations.
  11. May 11, 2010 #10


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Heres the more updated article:


    ", a day after more than 200 Hispanic students reportedly skipped class on Thursday and marched to school district headquarters while chanting "we want respect" and "si se puede""
    "Police have been told to be on alert for gang-related retaliation against the boys, according to Ken Jones, whose stepson, Daniel Galli, was one of the students who refused to turn their T-shirts inside-out when asked by a vice principal on Wednesday. "

    So there has been more activity. So the police (who escorted the students) allegedly are "on alert" for gang related retaliation.

    If they actually feel the need to be on alert, it most likely backs up the idea that there has been previous tension, though we can't be certain.

    http://www.morganhilltimes.com/news/265506-tea-partiers-rally-in-support-of-lohs-students-america [Broken]

    On the saturday after, the tea party felt like they should be there...
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  12. May 11, 2010 #11
    Who cares if there were previous tensions. If showing their own countries(all of the students) flag is being disrespectful (they ARE American right?) then as I said before, they or their families got here somehow... and they can take the exact same method back.

    It's pathetic that in America showing an American flag can be counted as being disrespectful to a person based on their 'who they are'. In my opinion this just is another example of America failing at assimilating people into their society. The people who get into America, legally or illegally just want to take advantage of America, not be American. Mexicans probably wish that America was just an extension of Mexico and not a seperate country.

    I guess that'd solve one thing: Border hoppings. :rofl:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  13. May 11, 2010 #12
    I find the American flag offensive as a symbol of nationalism, but I would never try to ban people from showing it, especially if you are alowing the flag of Mexico. This is the kind of kooky thing that makes the anti-immigration fanatics sound like they have a reasonable fear.
  14. May 11, 2010 #13
    Just curious, you feel nationalism is a bad thing?
  15. May 11, 2010 #14
    I think he said that using the flag to show nationalism is offensive (not just a 'bad thing')... he particularly specifies the American flag.

    So now I'm just curious, you feel showing the American flag out of a sense of pride is a thing to take offense to?

    I think if I were American I'd find your comment offensive and unnecessary given that you provide no substantial reasoning behind the comment.
  16. May 11, 2010 #15
    I feel nationalism is unnecessarily divisive. Millions of people have been killed because of nationalism.

    That being said, they should have been allowed to wear the shirts. I'd go so far as to say that any country's flag should be allowed.
  17. May 11, 2010 #16


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Technically the American flag is the ONE flag in the US that "shouldn't" be used as clothing :)

    -> "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 below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general."


    Remember, this isn't the case of someone being arrested for wearing it. In the school system the authority has the right to censor if they feel it my instigate violence.

    According to the supreme court on free speech:
    If he does so without “materially and substantially interfer[ing] with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school” and without colliding with the rights of others. . . . [C]onduct by the student, in class or out of it, which for any reason--whether it stems from time, place, or type of behavior-- materially disrupts classwork or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others is, of course, not immunized by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech.

    Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503, 89 S. Ct. 733 (1969) @513

    They also go on to state that in the Tinker case, the students COULD wear the armbands because this case "was entirely divorced from actually or potentially disruptive conduct by
    those participating in it"
    whereas in OUR case there was fear of violent retaliation. (maybe?)

    To be honest, I'm not sure I care either way. We're fed such filtered news that we have no idea of the true temperament of the students, or whether the principal ACTUALLY felt fear of violence, or even if the students INTENDED on causing a disruption to everyday classes by organizing 5 friends to wear American flag apparel on a primarily Mexican holiday.

    I hope it goes to court to get settled out. Too many ignorant people are using this as a launching point about illegal immigration though it has NOTHING to do with it. This isn't a border town, its near San Fransisco. And these are ALL American Students.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  18. May 11, 2010 #17
    Times have changed Hepth. Times have changed.
  19. May 11, 2010 #18


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    When I was a kid, wearing the american flag would automatically get you into trouble. Abbie Hoffman learned that the hard way. Now these "revolutionaries" by them at Old Navy and call themselves patriotic americans on Fox News.

    How sad!
  20. May 11, 2010 #19
    This is a good point if you are applying it 365 days a year. If only 1 day a year, it loses its strength.
  21. May 11, 2010 #20


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Forgot the 'smirk' emoticon, Jimmy. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

    I was living in Del Rio, TX in the late 60's and early 70's when the Crystal City riots spilled over into our 'neck' of the woods. Back then just wearing cowboy boots (and being blonde/blue) was enough to provoke a response from the roaming gangs at lunch and especially on the last day of school. I spent my entire spring semester practicing sprinting from my last class to the waiting buses just to be ready on that last day of school.

    It was real cool living in the middle of that crap!
    Last edited: May 11, 2010
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook