The Corner

Is Wearing a Mexican Flag on the 4th of July Illegal?

VDH, preposterous. Five California teens were kicked out of school for wearing American flag t-shirts and bandanas on Cinco de Mayo:

On any other day at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Daniel Galli and his four friends would not even be noticed for wearing T-shirts with the American flag. But Cinco de Mayo is not any typical day especially on a campus with a large Mexican American student population.

Galli says he and his friends were sitting at a table during brunch break when the vice principal asked two of the boys to remove American flag bandannas that they wearing on their heads and for the others to turn their American flag T-shirts inside out. When they refused, the boys were ordered to go to the principal’s office.

“They said we could wear it on any other day,” Daniel Galli said, “but today is sensitive to Mexican-Americans because it’s supposed to be their holiday so we were not allowed to wear it today.”

The boys said the administrators called their T-shirts “incendiary” that would lead to fights on campus.

First of all, Cinco de Mayo is a second-rate holiday in Mexico. It celebrates a short-lived tactical victory in a war started over a debt default, and in the United States functions mainly as an (unneeded) excuse for college kids to drink. Mexico’s Independence Day is September 15.

Second of all, I have no idea if the boys’ clothing was meant to be “incendiary” or not. But even if they were trying to be jerks — what, precisely, is incendiary about the American flag to Mexican-Americans? The French flag, maybe.

Third of all, at least one of the students was of Mexican descent:

Dominic Maciel said his father is of Mexican descent.

“I have no problem with them wearing their Mexican stuff, their Mexican flags,” said Maciel. “I just thought I’d show my pride. American pride.”

Fourth of all, is not the real outrage here that an public employee asked a child to turn an American flag inside out?

Daniel Foster — Daniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

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