What had happened was…
Five students at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, California, decided to “show their colors” wear items to school, depicting the American Flag, on Cinco de Mayo, at a school with a large Mexican American student population. During brunch break, the school 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.
Read the Full Story HERE
Back in the day, before Alex yanked that plug out of the back of my head, I would have let this story slide as some racist piece of shit. But now I sit here with this bandage still on the giant hole in the back of my head, trying to answer the question proposed by article writer, George Kiriyama

Freedom of expression or cultural disrespect on Cinco de Mayo?

Hmm… While I can see why some people would think this was cultural disrespect, I’m thinking it’s a no brainer.

  1. All my life I was taught that people who flew Confederate flags were racist. It’s a little easier to deal with when you live above the Mason/Dixon line, but when you become a NASCAR fan, like republicans, it’s just part of the deal. One weekend I was in Charlotte, North Carolina to see a race. At the hotel, a white guy, rocking a Confederate Flag, high-five’s me in the hallway because I was “showing my colors” wearing my #3 Dale Earnhardt hat. Later that day, at Charlotte Motor Speedway, I walked up to a card carrying democrat, American flag wearing, black couple. At first they smiled and said hello. But when the husband saw my hat, he stopped shaking my hand, muttered something under his breath about me, Dale and Chevy and he and his wife stormed off. After that day I realized that a flag is just a piece of cloth and it can’t hurt me.
  2. Have you ever been in New York City during the Puerto Rican Day Parade? I’ve only seen it on TV, but it’s something to see. When you walk down a residential street, you see the Puerto Rican flags flying everywhere. People have t-shirts, hats, big flags, little flags, tattoos, flags shaved in their heads, flags painted on their cars, etc. On that day, you know how proud some people are to be Puerto Rican or of Puerto Rican decent. But you know what else you see that day? American flags. Why? Because being proud to be Puerto Rican doesn’t require anyone to be ashamed that they are Americans.
  3. Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “fifth of May”) is a holiday held on May 5 that commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It is celebrated primarily in the 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.

That said… did those little rednecks mean to be disrespectful when they wore their American flag paraphernalia on Cinco de Mayo? Most likely.
Did they have the right to do it? Hell yeah! Because saying no would be like me expecting everyone to take down their Christmas trees on Kwanza.

All of this is making me think I need to resurrect my “Show Your Colors” campaign.