In Defense of Multiculturalism

A middle school student was forced to remove an American Flag off his bike last week for fear that it would incite racial tensions. Of course, the flag had been on his bike for the past two months, an American flag waves outside the school, and immediately after national outcry the boy was allowed to restore the flag.

Here is Superintendent Edward Parraz’s feeble defense of the campus supervisor’s decision:

Our Hispanic, you know, kids will, you know, bring their Mexican flags and they’ll display it, and then of course the kids would do the American flag situation, and it does cause kind of a racial tension which we don’t really want,” Parraz said. “We want them to appreciate the cultures.”

Elissa Harrington of FOX40 interviewed Parraz the next day when boy was allowed to display the flag:

Parraz said national flags were banned from campus after a Cinco De Mayo incident when tensions escalated between students displaying the Mexican flag and those waving the Stars and Stripes.

Needless to say, right-wingers seethed with rage at the original decision, and some pointed the finger at the bogeyman ‘Multiculturalism.’ Larry Sands, one of these finger-pointers at RedCounty, makes his point:

Multiculturalism states that all cultures are equal and if one strays off that reservation, one is frequently labeled insensitive, ethnocentric, racist and worse. However, part of the multicultural canon states that the majority culture is not equal to any minority culture and thus should not be acknowledged.

I’m not sure what this ‘multicultural canon’ is, but I assure you the ‘majority culture’ (assuming this means White Anglo Saxon Protestants) is not under threat from ‘minorities.’ Every Fourth of July, I see people of all races celebrate the independence of our great nation. On the national lawn, you see Amish people, Latinos, Blacks, and Whites all convene to see the glorious Washington Monument and the fireworks that light the sky.

Sands furthers his rant:

Hence, minority cultures are allowed to celebrate Cinco de Maio, Black History Month, American Indian History Month, etc., but celebrating a national holiday like Veterans Day is considered divisive.  Hence it is understandable that the Hispanic students at the school were offended at Cody’s expression of patriotism.

Veteran’s Day is not a holiday of the ‘majority culture.’ It is a holiday honoring all who defended our nation; it is not rooted in cultural origin whatsoever. Whites, Hispanics, Arabs, Asians, and Blacks have all served the U.S.A. Culture doesn’t mark Veteran’s Day but service.

Earlier in this post, I also noted how students celebrating their Mexican heritage on Cinco de Mayowere confronted with American flags. Imagine if someone started demonstrating with an American flag at a Chinese New Year Parade or at Oktoberfest. Unless the flag was waved alongside the others in these situations, one could only assume an antagonistic stance. It’s as if the American flag is existentially opposed to Cinco de Mayo, or those who celebrate it are somehow opposed to America (The irony is the Mexican defeat of the French on Cinco de Mayo prevented France from obtaining its real goal of breaking the American Union)  Of course, he then claims the Hispanics are being antagonistic:

Because the Hispanic students had been taught that kids like Cody are ethnocentric and racist and therefore to be reviled, the superintendent’s decision may have been a wise one. Protecting students from danger is really the most important job a person acting in loco parentis can do.

The real culprit then is neither the superintendent nor the antagonistic Hispanics, but rather the philosophy of multiculturalism and its devout adherents in schools, on school boards and teachers’ unions who have gained control of much of our public education system.

Sands also makes the absurd claim that Hispanic students are taught white students are ethnocentric and racist. Needless to say, there is no citation for this vitriol.

Moreover, if most Republicans share the mindset of Sands, then Stanislaus County should not have to worry about multiculturalism taking over its schools since the county is heavily Red (Del Rio, CA, the location of Denair Middle School, is represented by a Republican Congressman, State Senator, and State Assemblyman). Of course, then, Denair Unified School District must contain all these villains on their board like Robert Hodges, a farmer, or Louisa Allen, a retired instructional aide.

Sands is not done though:

Only when we start to teach all children – native born and immigrants alike — about American exceptionalism, e pluribus unum and why the U.S. is the destination of so many of the world’s downtrodden, will this incident not be repeated.

His proposal is entirely unclear; is he proposing we gloss over America’s mistakes? How do you teach American exceptionalism? I fear for what the Big Brother-name the class would be given (AMERICA IS THE GREATEST AND CAN DO NO WRONG?). No, we must teach the truth in our classrooms. We must praise the likes of Lincoln while condemn the savageries of Native genocide and slavery. Only if we learn from our mistakes are we able to prosper as a nation. U.S.A. is a great nation, yet we are always striving towards making it more perfect. For us to simmer in our arrogance and scoff at criticisms is to do great dishonor to our Founding Fathers.

We should continue to make our nation hospitable for immigrants and not antagonize them for their different cultures. Never can we expect assimilation if an ‘US vs. THEM’ mentality is created. To truly honor E Pluribus Unum, we must celebrate our similarities as well as our differences.

Saad

Enrolled at the University of California, San Diego, Saad is pursuing a degree in Political Science. He has written multiple articles for the College Democrats' newspaper on campus, The Left Coast Post. Recently, he circulated petitions for the California Democracy Act initiative. His interests include national and international politics along with economic issues. 

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  8 comments for “In Defense of Multiculturalism

  1. mary
    November 19, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Have you see the mexican flag posted on a highier pole than the American flag in santa ana plaza of the flags right next to a popular theater? Have we already surrender this land to a foreigner country?

    • November 19, 2010 at 7:31 pm

      Mary,

      You are seeing things, or you do not understand how distance and angle of view affect perception of objects.

      I challenge you to show any evidence of your claim. The flag poles in the Plaza are of uniform height. The flag of Mexico does not fly over our nation’s capitol building and our laws are fassed by the United States Congress and signed by the President of the United States.

      We have not surrendered to Mexico or any other nation. If you actuall believe otherwise, you are simply nuts. Feel free to return to your Tea Party now and leave reality to the rest of us.

      • mary
        November 20, 2010 at 9:14 am

        Prevatt You must prove that I’m wrong. I challenge you to show any evidence that my claim is wrong!!!!!!!!. Feel free to do it! You have my permission. I thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter. This is showing how “professional” blogger you are.
        Looking foward to read and see your progress in this matter.

        • cook
          November 20, 2010 at 10:09 am

          Mary, there are 50 state flags in the plaza of the flags, never have I seen another flag on the plaza’s poles.

          There are the US flag and California flag at the court house roof about 10 stories high.

          During meetings and protests, there are people holding other flags, but still no other flags are allowed on the poles in the plaza than the fifty state flags of the USA.

          The closest theater I know of is 4 to 5 blocks away from the Plaza of the Flags, Maybe you are thinking of Fiesta Market place instead. And even there, I have not seen a flag of another nation on the flag poles.

          • mary
            November 20, 2010 at 10:51 am

            Prevatt THAT IS THAT IS THE RIGHT LOCATION! fiesta market facility and yes! beside our American flag there is the mexican flag in highier pole than our American flag.Go check in your own and prove that i’m wrong!.

            • cook
              November 20, 2010 at 12:37 pm

              Mary, I am cook not Prevatt, and later today I will check the flags out at the fiesta market place.

      • mary
        November 20, 2010 at 9:31 am

        Prevatt have you take geometry lessons?. At what grade you took it?. I can give you some books if you need to now about this subject.My claim has not being refuted by city councyl and Dave Ream,so I urge you to do your civic duty and help to restore respect and honor to our American flag.
        And for your own wellness think about this quote”Multiculturalism is the tool of revenge for those who have failed to make it in the American establishment”

  2. cook
    November 21, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Hey Mary,

    The flag poles are the same height. (Adding the Mexican flag was a marketing ploy)

    I would expect that the redevelopment of the Fiesta Village into Down Town Orange County will end the use of a foreign flag as a marketing tool.

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