It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
I keep seeing similar posts to that sentiment on my facebook feed (let it never be said that I didn't come from the country... lol). I would see them just like that, usually a crappy font over a picture of an American flag. No context, no explanation. So, they always made me wonder... who the hell is offended by the American flag? When has this actually happened? Is this just some sort of right-wing paranoia?
So, onto the internets I went for research and found a few results...
A Wells Fargo bank received complaints about their flag being "offensive." The article is pretty scarce on information. Is it relevant that the bank is in New Mexico? Probably to Fox News... Is it relevant that the flag was held up with tacks which may be considered disrespectful? Nobody asked! Is it relevant that the bank branch has since moved the flag to a proper flagstaff and has yet to receive complaints? We didn't stick around long enough to find out!
There was also a case of a man in an apartment complex being asked to remove the American flag off of his balcony because his Muslim neighbors considered it a "threat." This incident I find very interesting because I don't support the action of the apartment complex and do believe he has a right to fly his flag, but what isn't discussed is the implication made by the complaint. Has America really become so gung-ho that even proclaiming your nationality in such an innocuous manner, has now become a threatening sign to others? I wish the article had included an interview with the Muslim family to find out why they felt that way. But regardless, I find the whole situation very sad, indeed.
And then there was the article by Fox News that was too stupid and unprofessional for me to even comment on (imagine my laugh when I realized it was written by Mike Huckabee!).
But by far, the most interesting incident to me (and I suspect, the one that inspired the most outrage) was the incident which involved 200 Mexican-American students sporting the Mexican flag pouring into the streets in response to offense at fellow students wearing the American flag. It all started when 5 boys took it upon themselves to send a message by wearing the American flag on Cinco de Mayo. That was it. I don't support either sides' actions, but I also don't wholly support the point that the article reaches. The author concludes that it is the diversity education we have been force-fed that has poisoned the minds of our youth. The idea that it is our differing heritage, rather than our American heritage, to be proud of.
And maybe, in a way, he might be right. I do remember learning to be proud of my heritage, even at a young age. I remember making Swedish flags and displaying them along with all of the other students' flags to make a big symbolic melting pot. But within that memory is another memory, the fact that I always resorted to my Swedish heritage and didn't mention my Russian heritage. Because even at that young age, I was aware that Russians were commie enemies that hated us and were certainly not a good group to be a part of. I'd heard family stories of the hows and whys that my great-grandparents fled the motherland. I also knew that my great-grandfather had even lied about his heritage at points in his life to avoid persecution, and to this day, I don't exactly feel pride over this point.
But regardless of all that... I am still white. I have the choice of hiding that heritage, should I wish to (I don't anymore, I've since grown up and realized how dumb it was). That is not a luxury afforded some heritages, like Mexicans, which is the example in this incident. American History class might teach that we gain strength through diversity, but American society certainly tends to value some diversities more than others.
Was it really History class that gave rise to so-called ethnic gangs? Or was it the fact that I had Mexican-American friends that told me they had actually been spit on by their fellow students? Or the fact that Mexican slurs tended to the slur of choice, peppering the halls on any given day? Was it the teacher's fault that they told them to be proud of their heritage, or the fact that everywhere they went, they were ostracized as different, regardless of the author's claim that they were just the same?
In my opinion, it's a very narrow perspective that claims that the fault lies with the education system. If they don't feel proud to be Americans, it's probably because they've been told many times that they aren't. That they're the wrong color. That they should "go home," despite this being their homeland.
"If you don’t respect our borders and if you hyphenate your nationality you cannot be considered a true red-white and blue American."
The hyphen isn't the cause, it's a symptom. Let's place blame where due. It's derisive drivel like the above quote that fuels the ostracization.
And this is what I've been thinking about in the wake of Independence Day. It's far too easy to point fingers, but it's much harder to actually ask, "Why?"
I didn't mean for this post to be so long, but the monkey-mind sure does like to ramble on. I also hope this isn't too out of place on a Buddhist forum (even in the General Banter). Sometimes I feel like it's just nice to get perspectives that come from people with similar views as me. It's just so frustrating when people boil everything down to a patriotic catchphrase and call it a day, and that is exactly what I was hoping to avoid.