12 November 2010

The Fruits Of Anti-American Exceptionalism

This is the type of thing that happens when schools fail to teach, in an affirmative way, American Exceptionalism - school officials requiring a young boy to remove an AMERICAN flag from his bike because someone might be offended!!

A school official at Denair Middle School told Cody some students had been complaining about the flag and it was no longer allowed on school property. 

By failing to instill and encourage a sense of American pride and patriotism in students and, instead, fomenting a hyper-critical attitude aimed at America's founding principles, students in lower grades are now getting increasing doses of what has historically been limited to college campuses. As political correctness (which many blogosphere academics say isn't really a concern), continues to permeate much of our educational establishment and academic elites, this type of thing will likely increase. First it was the Confederate flag, now its Old Glory. Unbelievable. Don't look for very many academics to condemn this. They're either complicit or afraid. But I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised.

Don't schools still fly the American flag?


 

14 comments:

Vince said...

What happened to the post on the video footage of African-Americans at Gettysburg during a reunion?
http://oldvirginiablog.blogspot.com/2010/11/other-greatest-generation.html

Does anyone else get an error trying to access that post?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Sorry Vince. I was cleaning up some draft posts and it got deleted. What are your thoughts on the government telling this kid he can't fly an American flag on his bike at school?

Michael Lynch said...

I, for one, think it's asinine, and constitutes possible grounds for legal action.

--ML

David Rhoads said...

Apparently, the school supervisor in question has reversed the decision:

http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_16604443?source=rss&nclick_check=1

And, although the school supervisor's request for the boy to stop flying the flag on his bike was misguided, it seems it was motivated less by some sort of anti-Americanism than by a desire to avoid conflict among students at the school. That kind of action for such purposes is not especially unusual given the case law concerning First Amendment rights within schools.

Also, although the supervisor is a state employee, it's kind of a stretch to say that "the government" told the boy he couldn't fly the flag. At any rate, all's well that ends well.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"it seems it was motivated less by some sort of anti-Americanism than by a desire to avoid conflict among students at the school."

That statement is self-contradictory. Why would a kid flying an American flag (I assume the school flies one too) cause "conflict" unless those complaining had something against the American flag? It's utterly disgraceful and, yes, anti-American.

A stretch? How so? The government official, acting in his official authority as an agent of the government, told the boy he could not fly his flag. Had the boy refused, this person could have used his authority, granted by the government, to punish the young boy.

Yes, it did end well, except that the person should apologize to the boy. Those complaining should be reminded what country they are living in.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Michael - though I hate bringing lawyers into every one of these types of issues, I tend to agree with you on this one.

Michael Bradley said...

According to news reports the school has decided to administer punishment to those students who cause the conflict instead of penalizing those students who are exercising their first amendment freedoms. What a revolutionary concept!

Case law on students within scholls is rather clear--students do not leave their first amendment rights behind when they enter the school door.

Michael Bradley said...

Like Vince, I was enjoying pursuingd the Gettysburg video thread. The entire film is available on CD and there you will find all the African Americans identifying themselves as having been present with the CS army.

Vol. 21, 1913, Confederate Veteran, pp 435ff has a great deal of material on the event.

If you want to study race relations in the late-19th & early 20th centuries you will need to be broader in your research that the pages of the CV--the GAR dealt with race in its publications also. The GAR refused to allow African Americans to join camps with white veterans.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"the school has decided to administer punishment to those students who cause the conflict instead of penalizing those students who are exercising their first amendment freedoms."

A rare case of common sense!!

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Michael:

Again, I'm sorry. As I noted, I was hastily deleting some drafts and got that one mixed up w/another. Thanks for these recommendations.

Vince said...

I don't see anything wrong with the kid flying the flag from his bike.

I'm skeptical, though, of your concerns over the dangers of not enforcing an "affirmative" teaching of American Exceptionalism. I don't think it takes too much more training than Sesame Street's "One of These Things is not Like the Other" to sift through our country's historical portfolio--its merits and demerits--and come to an appreciation for the country's exceptional positive qualities (including the principles expressed in the country's founding documents). And the negative views are mainly a function of narrow assessment criteria or high expectations.

I guess it boils down to your view of history as a discipline: scientific inquiry or nationalistic project. Perhaps you could help explain by pinpointing a historical episode and describing what how American Exceptionalism would influence how that event would be taught (and why it's better)?

Vince said...

"If you want to study race relations in the late-19th & early 20th centuries you will need to be broader in your research that the pages of the CV--the GAR dealt with race in its publications also. The GAR refused to allow African Americans to join camps with white veterans."

I have indeed spent plenty of time studying Civil War memory in the North (primarily Pennsylvania), as that's what I really care about. To give you an idea of my devotion to primary source research, my first date with my girlfriend/now-wife was to the microfilm reading room of our local historical society :). Unfortunately, that's currently on hold (the microfilm reading, not my marriage) while I study for a career in a non-history field. What I post on this blog is merely back-of-the-napkin research done using Google Books and assembled for dialog about Civil War memory issues on this blog.

Regarding the GAR, its relationship with race is complicated and fascinating, especially when you get down to the local level. Your statement about GAR posts is loose and imprecise, but rather than try to describe the intricacies the GAR and race, I think Stuart McConnell's Glorious Contentment provides a good overview of the subject on pages 213-219.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"I don't see anything wrong with the kid flying the flag from his bike."

Isn't that stating the obvious? Why would anyone see anything wrong with it in a school in the United States?

Evidently, this experience provides evidence that someone isn't getting that Sesame Street level of education, wouldn't you say?

"how American Exceptionalism would influence how that event would be taught (and why it's better)?"

"Why it's better?" Are you serious?

Our founding documents, the War for Independence, the free market economy, liberty, and a Christian-Judeo/Common Law basis for our legal system all combining to produce the greatest Nation in human history.

Michael Bradley said...

I stand by my remarks about the GAR. "Glorious Contentment" makes it plain that the organization was white, Republican, and anti-Catholic. In 1891 the GAR refused to have separate "divisions" for white and black vets but the local camps were not inclusive.