Monday, May 10, 2010

Old Navy T-Shirt sparks outrage

I understand, as I stated on Saturday, that talk radio has been hammering this point for days now. Yesterday while reading about Basilides I internally debated whether to bring this topic up on the blog today. After a fair amount of reflection here I am. Last week four students at Live Oak High School were sent home from school because of wearing Old Navy T-Shirts that proudly display the American Flag. One may wonder why this would be. The boys wore the American flag T-shirts on May 5th. Cinco de Mayo is a historical day in Mexican lore as it marks a victory the Mexican Army had over the French at the Battle of Puebla. Now, that victory is symbolic for Mexicans because it showed their unity and patriotism.

Nothing ought to be taken away from the heroics of the day for Mexicans as the battle against the French had significance for their country. What is more alarming is that American students inside the United States are requested not to wear a T-shirt, from Old Navy, that displays the American flag on that day because it may offend. Do we no longer live in the United States? Have we sold back a portion of our country to Mexico? Where is Rev. Sharpton or Jackson or the ACLU in defense of these students? Last I checked it is not a crime to wear a t-shirt to school with the American flag on it.

That being said, did the students wear the T-shirts to create a hostile environment? One student, Annicia Nunez, at Live Oak High School said, "I think they should apologize cause it is a Mexican Heritage Day. We don't deserve to be get disrespected like that. We wouldn't do that on Fourth of July" ( http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36981179?GT1=43001). I am all for diversity and understanding of other cultures but we live in America; the melting pot of the world. To say that "we" wouldn't wear a T-shirt with the Mexican flag on it on the Fourth of July out of respect is ridiculous. We all have the same freedoms in America and if anyone wants to wear a T-shirt with the Mexican flag on it on the Fourth of July so be it. Morgan Hill Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Wes Smith issued a statement: "The incident on May 5 at Live Oak High School is extremely unfortunate. While campus safety is our primary concern and administrators made decisions yesterday in an attempt to ensure campus safety, students should not, and will not, be disciplined for wearing patriotic clothing. This matter is under investigation and appropriate action will be taken" (http://www.morganhilltimes.com/news/265447-american-flag-t-shirt-controversy-grabs-nations-attention).

Campus safety, really, this statement is a throw away. The school principal and staff should have never confronted these students nor should they have bowed to pressures of the day. Instead a great teaching moment was lost and our school system failed us again. Why is it when we speak of tolerance and understanding that it is only a one-way street? We all come from different backgrounds and upbringings. Heritage is important, yet you don't see the school system clamping down of those wearing an American flag on June 6th when it is Sveriges Nationaldag. Where is the outrage then? Again I ask, where is Rev. Sharpton or Jackson or the ACLU? Is it not a violation of these students' civil liberties?