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Calling it incendiary or inciting creates violence

Enough is enough.Stupid

From an article at msnbc website:

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

So let me get this right:

1)  It’s important to label these five youths as troublemakers and run them out of the school so that what the school administrators obviously see as a violent-ridden, Mexican American student population doesn’t go crazy?

(Isn’t that a bit racist?)

2) It’s more important to let a presumed fear of mob mentality rule the day instead of addressing those who are thought to become violent?

(Isn’t that setting up more violence?)

If I follow this logic, this means it’s OK for large groups to push their will on others by creating a perception of violence if what they want isn’t given to them — in this case the ousting of kids wearing American flags.

This means those students the administrators thought might become violent are not responsible for their actions because it would have been all the fault of the five boys and their incendiary clothing?

So if a woman wearing a certain type of clothing goes into a parking lot and her amount of bare skin incites a rapist to rape her, it’s her fault?

And if I carry a purse into a bad neighborhood where gangs are known to live and I get attacked, it’s my fault for inciting them with my purse and the possibility of easy money?

And if Glenn Beck rants about Obama as a bad president and a sniper decides to try to kill Obama, it’s all Beck’s fault because the sniper was incited to do evil by someone else?

What?! Evil, violence, and criminal acts come from inside a person. The choice is theirs.

When blame is shifted away from the criminal or those threatening violence, it only incites them to feel more empowered, because, after all, it’s not really their fault, is it?

What are your thoughts?


Photo credit: ayalon

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Betsy Wuebker May 6, 2010, 1:16 pm

    Beautifully written, Lori. I sent the following email to the principal:
    Dear Mr. Boden:

    I’m sure you’re getting many letters regarding your decision to suspend the students wearing the American flag. It appears to this observer that you are quite certain your decision was the correct thing to do.

    Based upon what has been reported in the media, I could perhaps see your decision as justified in the event that the students’ apparel may have been conflict provocative, whether intended or unintended. You do have the responsibility to maintain a safe, non-confrontational environment in your school building, where everyone is respected and honored. But it’s clearly evident further work is necessary to examine the circumstances under which our national symbol would be deemed provocative or disrespectful to students celebrating another country’s national holiday in our own.

    This scenario is manifest of a place where Americans of all backgrounds should never be. And certainly, it’s a place that non-citizens studying and deriving other benefits from American society can be made to understand is totally inappropriate.

    These types of decisions, motivated by and large by political correctness run amok, lead to further divisions in the our educational institutions, and by extension, the country at large. More than likely you don’t appreciate the spotlight under which you find yourself and your school at the moment. But perhaps it might ultimately lead to examining and modifying attitudes and practices that have mutated far beyond any well-meaning intent into the realm of the ridiculous.

    Betsy Wuebker

  • Cyndi May 6, 2010, 4:07 pm

    My thoughts: I agree with you 100%. I couldn’t have said it better myself. It is absolutely unacceptable that kids wearing non-offensive t-shirts were even asked to remove them, let alone that they got sent home for it. This is absolutely racism and the administrators of this school are complete morons who not only make bad decisions but clearly have no control over their troubled school and the violence that takes place there.

  • Davina May 6, 2010, 6:49 pm

    This is just ridiculous, Lori. I thought people had come a lot farther than this these days. I can see how this is asking for trouble by those who are wearing the shirts though. Hmm, truthfully, I’m undecided about this one.

  • Lori Hoeck May 7, 2010, 8:28 am

    Hi Betsy,
    Way to go! It’s so heartening to see people taking action on something that matters to them instead of sitting back and fuming unproductively!

    Hi Cyndi,
    Thank you Cyndi. Leadership these days seems to be a lost art. CYB (cover your butt) is the standard — not courage, foresight, and standing for principles.

    Hi Davina,
    Just kidding 🙂
    But now I’ll have to do a post on Victim-blaming and Victim-mentality.

  • Michael Ball May 7, 2010, 8:51 am

    Great piece, Lori.

    What’s even more disturbing is that the 5 students wearing the T-shirts were in the country to which the flag belonged! Since when is displaying your own flag in its own country incendiary?

    The key term here is that a majority of the students were Mexican Americans. That means that they are both Mexican and American and either flag should be acceptable. Why would our flag incite violence from them? This makes no sense at all.

    Did the principal take down all of the American flags in the school on Cinco de Mayo? My money is on the probability that they all stayed put on display. If that’s the case, this principal has a serious case of double standards and should be reprimanded.

    Is it just me or is this country going down the tubes?


  • Lori Hoeck May 7, 2010, 4:33 pm

    Hi Michael,
    Thanking you for visiting and commenting! Glad to have your input.

    Is the country going down the tubes? It certainly seems rabid adherence to political correctness over common sense is not helping.

  • vered | blogger for hire May 7, 2010, 4:33 pm

    I completely agree. We watched this on the news in disbelief and have asked the exact same questions.

  • Lori Hoeck May 7, 2010, 4:43 pm

    Hi Vered,
    As a senior martial arts instructor, I’ve had to deal with tempers fueled by anger and adrenaline in tournament sparring competition and in-class sparring matches between lower ranked students. I could never teach students self-control, inner peace, and calm confidence by fearing those moments or letting those times get out of control. So much could have gone right that day in California, but it was handled without wisdom.

  • Hilary May 8, 2010, 2:08 am

    Hi Lori .. I agree with your post and with Betsy’s comment .. we go way too far .. and unfortunately it’s leading to more troubles. Somehow we have to learn to tolerate all things, and respect our country and its way of life .. rules and regulations for the sake of it are crazy; but unfortunatley each new appointment feels they need to add or tweak things, without understanding the implications or the background, it gives them kudos they’re doing things, but doesn’t actually help – it’s a sticking plaster .. but for what?

    Dreadful .. petty – but so inciteful .. Hilary

  • Lori Hoeck May 8, 2010, 9:01 am

    Hi Hilary,
    Civility, self-control, reasoned discourse, seasoned debate, and civic-mindedness were taught by my family and in my school’s civic classes (way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth). For a world that kneels before the words “Tolerance” and “political correctness,” you’d think such homage might have improved things.

  • zaelyna May 14, 2010, 6:22 am

    Wow. As I read this, my mind immediately jumped back to my journalism class and the discussions on free speech. That class taught me that there’s a lot I’m on the fence about because I can easily understand and agree with the POVs of both parties.

    However, in this case, I lean more toward the side of those students because of all the reasons listed above. They did nothing except wear clothing to express themselves. If any violence came of it, the fault lies with the offenders, not the victims. Self-control, as martial artists are taught.

    People have a right to be offended by clothing as much as people have a right to wear “offensive” clothing. Open your minds and learn how to get along, or avoid the crowds you can’t handle. Seems simple enough to me–what’s the world’s excuse?

  • Lori Hoeck May 15, 2010, 9:40 am

    Hi Zaelyna,

    I had those same classes! Old-school, hard-nosed professors with a fiery passion for free speech and the power of the press.

    But then I hit the real world and became a third degree black belt who knows the score when it comes to victims and victim-hood. Self control, civility, and “learning to get along,” as you write — so true and so needed.

  • Lynda Lehmann May 15, 2010, 12:50 pm

    Excellent point and well said! Society has lost the power to look at things in a logical, rational, reasoning way. Knee-jerk reaction and fear rule the roost.

  • Cath Lawson May 15, 2010, 2:04 pm

    This is totally ridiculous and it’s sad that this type of thing happens a lot. It’s easier for schools to send innocent kids home, to please the mobs, rather than educating pupils to become accepting and understanding of others.

  • Lynda Lehmann May 15, 2010, 3:29 pm

    It’s frightening that schools and parents are AFRAID to give appropriate consequences, to discipline, set rational limits, etc. Political correctness has gone way too far.

  • Lori Hoeck June 16, 2010, 1:04 pm

    Hi Lynda,
    Knee-jerk reactions rarely work out well, do they?
    We must make a stand against political correctness or it’s here to stay.

    Hi Cath,
    Yes, and it’s up to us to make this change, don’t you think?