I have been thinking lately about the episode at a Morgan Hill, California high school, where 5 students were informally suspended for wearing shirts depicting the American flag on Cinco de Mayo. For the uninitiated, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s surprise victory over French forces at the obscure Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It is celebrated primarily in the Mexican state of Puebla and in the United States.
While Cinco de Mayo sees limited significance and celebration nationwide in Mexico, the date is observed nationwide in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day, the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico.
I have celebrated Cinco de Mayo myself, as have many other Americans. For most Anglos, it’s an excuse to go out, eat Mexican food and consume massive quantities of Mexican beer and margaritas. It’s not that much different than St. Patrick’s Day… also celebrated here in the U.S, but seldom in Ireland.
Much was made in the conservative media of the students’ suspension, and with good reason. Why should American citizens be punished for celebrating their national pride, no matter what day they choose to do it? As usual, the looney, liberal lamestream media gave the incident little to no coverage.
According to one of the student’s parents, the five teens were sitting at a table outside Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, CA, last Wednesday morning when Assistant Principal Miguel Rodriguez asked two of them to remove their American flag bandannas. The boys complied, but were still asked to accompany Rodriguez to the principal’s office.
The five students were then told they must turn their T-shirts inside-out or be sent home, though it would not be considered a suspension. Rodriguez told the students he did not want any fights to break out between Mexican-American students celebrating their heritage and those wearing American flags. This makes one wonder if Mr. Rodriguez is unable to control his students, essentially making him unfit for his job. Mr. Rodriguez, sometimes the easiest path (the one you took, singling out just those 5 students) isn’t the right path. The right path would have been to have all students remove any garb supporting any type of national pride, be it Mexican or American.
The Morgan Hill Times reported more than 100 students were spotted wearing the colors of the Mexican flag – red, white and green – as they left school, including many who had the flag painted on their faces or arms. So, here we have 5 students who are asked to remove the celebratory garb, but few of those celebrating Cinco de Mayo are asked to do the same. Was this fair? Hardly. More importantly, was it constitutional? I think not, but that’s for the courts to decide… which I am sure they will have an opportunity to do.
Question: Why do Mexican-Americans feel the need to show their “national pride” for Mexico? Do these people show the same national pride for the United States on the 4th of July? Personally, I feel a person of Mexican descent born in the United States (i.e., a citizen) is an American… not Mexican-American. You might be of Mexican heritage, but you are not Mexican… YOU ARE AN AMERICAN! Get with the program, support your country or get the hell out and take the illegals with you!
I can’t wait for the response to this… complete with the threats, name calling and racist/bigot label. Go ahead… give it your best shot. What you don’t know is I am probably the least racist person you will ever meet, though I am a firm believer in the rule of law. Having grown up in San Jose, CA back in the 50s/60s, I learned to speak conversational Spanish from my classmates, whose families were documented (operative word) farm workers in the area. Today, I prefer to speak Spanish where it is the native language (i.e., Latin/South America, Puerto Rico, etc.). It infuriates me to have to speak Spanish in order to communicate with an illegal alien here in my own backyard.
I learned early on in my travels that having the ability to speak to the locals in their native tongue goes a long way toward cementing good relations. They appreciate the effort you have made, you tend to get better service in restaurants and hotels and are more likely to get help when you need it. Those who have entered the U.S. illegally could take a lesson from this. If you want to come here, and you absolutely cannot wait to get a visa (or even a passport), take the time to learn English… and learn it well, before you come. You’re more likely to be accepted (and less likely to be looked down upon or ratted out to ICE) if you can show you’ve made the effort to assimilate into our culture.
As I’ve stated all along… it’s not about race. It’s about good manners, the law and your (in)ability to show respect for it.
This is just One Man’s View. As always, your comments are welcome.]]>