Monday, May 3, 2010

"How come at these immigration rallies, people are carrying flags of every nation except the USA?"

One of the memes I find annoying is when people disparage immigrants as being more loyal to their "old" country instead of their new one (i.e., the United States, or Los Estados Unidos, if you prefer). It's not hard to find remarks in the comments section of conservative sites (and mainstream ones), or even mainstream newspapers like the Orange County Register, where people ask "How come I see the flags of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, etc., at these rallies, but never the flag of the US of A?!"

Well, maybe it's because you're not actually looking and you're only repeating a talking point that sounded good to you at the time.

Exhibit A:
Here's the source (and here's the source for the picture at top). Of course, it's the New York Times, that liberal rag, so maybe they picked the one single spot where people had their American flags out. Or maybe they handed out the Stars & Stripes just so they could prove the yahoos wrong. Could be it. They're that evil.

While we're at it, Exhibit B:

Here's the source for this one. These were easy enough to find. All I did was a Google image search of "immigrant rally." I didn't even have to add "American flag" to get these results. KushiFact labels this one blatant lie.

There are more after the jump...

I see only American flags in this one [source].

"We are America." [source]

"We are not criminals. Give us a chance for a better life." [source]

Points off, because these folks have their flag backwards. [source]

Unions and immigrants. [source]

Not yet American but already angry. [source]

This one's not from the NYT. [source]

This one's from MSNBC, more liberal loonies handing out Chinese-made American flags to immigrants. [source]

Not sure if this is disrespectful or not, but I know Canadians do this with the Maple Leaf. [source]

Sphere: Related Content

15 comments:

  1. Or maybe the protesters are just catching on nowadays to the PR value of pretending to respect Old Glory.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why is it that the U.S. is made out to look like that bad guy in this and not the countries that these people had to leave for a myriad economic and human rights reasons?

    Why aren't these pro-illegal immigrant rights politicians, cities (S.F., Denver, etc.), and catholic cult leaders putting the onus on the likes of the Mexican, Guatemalan, Honduran, Chinese, South Korean, etc., governments who aren't doing enough for their own people, but EXPECT the U.S. to do more than their fair share? Hell, does any other nation on the planet take in as many legal immigrants as the United States does each and every year? Too bad we aren’t hearing about that!

    Anyway, flag lessons that were learned a few years ago and adjusted accordingly. Only now, the crowds are much smaller than they were back then.

    ReplyDelete
  3. every day when i wake up i burn an american flag. it's my patriotic duty as a radical anarchist

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Sanity Inspector, you may have a point there about understanding the PR value, but these images are familiar to me going back to the 1980s. And many of the photos here themselves are not from 2010 but from 2006 or 2007.

    ReplyDelete
  5. John from Taejŏn wrote:
    Why is it that the U.S. is made out to look like that bad guy in this and not the countries that these people had to leave for a myriad economic and human rights reasons?

    First off, for the record, the only one I'm making out to be the bad guy is those who demonize others with falsehoods, as in the person who asked the title question.

    Second, we hold our own country to higher standards — the values inherent in the nation's founding and the Constitution itself — because they are our values and it is the foundation on which the nation is based.

    It is utterly irrelevant to how badly Mexico, Nicaragua, North Korea, or even Canada treats its citizens when we discuss whether illegals or immigrants are being treated fairly in the United States.

    And who says the government there is not doing enough for the people simply because they wish to go somewhere else? Maybe Mexico is a mess because of the guns from the north sent down to arm the suppliers of drugs for the norteamericanos. Would Juarez be a mess if it weren't for the illegal drug trade fueled by drug demand and drug prohibition in the US?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a hard-ass on immigration. I think we need a biometric SocSec card that is required of everyone to fill out their W2, and if they don't have one they can't work. And any employer who cannot show a randomly arriving inspector that all his/her employees have fulfilled this requirement is fined and/or imprisoned. And that goes for regular Joes who hire for pay people to mow their lawn, fix their roof, etc.

    Anyway, flag lessons that were learned a few years ago and adjusted accordingly. Only now, the crowds are much smaller than they were back then.

    Many of the pictures were from a few years ago. I don't know if the meme was ever "mostly" true, but it certainly got repeated a lot. Now if you're looking at a Cinco de Mayo celebration, on the other hand, I'd expect to see almost nothing but Mexican flags.

    ReplyDelete
  6. shinbone wrote:
    every day when i wake up i burn an american flag. it's my patriotic duty as a radical anarchist

    I would be loath to have a constitutional amendment barring you from doing that, as long as you did it safely and in an environmentally sound manner in accordance with laws governing incineration of objects.

    But I'll tell you, though, that flag-burning — of probably any country's flag — just hits me in a visceral way.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Or maybe the protesters are just catching on nowadays to the PR value of pretending to respect Old Glory.
    Or at least LA mayor Tony Vilar is --- heard him kindly remind protesters to bring their American flags to the May Day protests. Or at least the ones in LA, anyway.

    Anyway, used to be offended by the waiving of the Mexican/Guatemalan/etc. flag. Now I don't care which flag the foreigners are waiving... as long as they're waiving it on the bus back home.

    ReplyDelete
  8. As mentioned, that statement about more non-USA flags at those rallies is definitely overstated. I guess that overstatement just came from the fact that you DO see non-U.S. flags waving at these ralies. But I just don't understand or accept that they have to hold their mother-country's flag at these immigrant rallies. Whether they are from Mexico, Korea, a Latin American country, or wherever...you should be holding only the US flag if you are trying to be a US citizen.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Like other commenters, I think the prevalance of US flags may be a PR choice. Nevertheless, my observations of immigrant families in my community suggest that some immigrants, including undocumented ones, do wish to live with us as one of us while others regard the US as real estate to live on and a job market to live off. The former deserve a path to citizenship, the latter temporary guest worker visas at best.

    A first grader in my class wears a homemade embroidered wristband bearing his name and the flags of Mexico and the US. I see this handmade gift as a beautiful co-mingling of identities.

    More than flag-waving, a willingness to use English is a fairly reliable indicator of a desire and ability to integrate. My community offers FREE day and evening English classes with FREE childcare, yet there are a fair number of parents who cannot engage in a simple conversation in English despite having lived here several years. I see this more with the moms than with the dads, who learn English on the job. It's not a matter of being too busy, either, because I see these moms tooling around town, driving their cars and chatting on their cellphones. I see them shopping on weekends in local malls. Just as the presence of English in Korea enables expats to avoid becoming fluent in Korean so does the availability of information and services in Spanish enable Spanish-speakers to avoid learning English.

    Anybody can pick up a flag and wave it around. Learning a new language is a significant investment that treads a path to citizenship.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sonagi, I really don't disagree with anything you said, although I would add that in California, at least when I lived there up until I graduated from college in the 1990s, there was typically a waiting list for the English-teaching classes at junior colleges and community centers. That actually became a campaign issue when California voted to make English the official language in the 1980s, as immigrants were being demonized as not caring to learn English.

    At any rate, while I don't mind the direction others are taking, the original point of the post was to point out — quite handily — that this meme of immigrants not waving American flags at all was utterly false.

    Now call it good PR (though this is nothing new from what I've seen in Orange County) on the part of the organizers, or call it genuine statement on the part of the demonstrators, but whatever it is, it lays bare that this oft-repeated meme is false, and obviously so.

    But the fact that it is so often repeated despite being so easily debunked by anyone who cares to try, to me goes to the heart of the matter on debates like immigration (legal or illegal): Too many people are arguing from a mindset that is steeped in vitriol and demonization and not in facts.

    ReplyDelete
  11. There is a waiting list in my area, too. However, it doesn't take more than a year to get in. One reason why there is a waiting list is that once you're in the program, you can stay as long as you want and keep re-enrolling. Unlike college and university courses, there is no such thing as satisfactory academic progress. According to one teacher, some female longtimers use day classes as a social activity, a chance to catch up with friends while someone minds the kids. Meanwhile, new arrivals wait for a slot. Our tax dollars hard at work.

    Sorry to wander away from the orignal topic. If you've never done that yourself on a K-blog, you're welcome to throw a stone at me.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I don't think the waiting lists in California were for the reasons you have cited. I don't think they had day care, for starters, though I think people did take the chance to socialize (that's a major reason for lots of people taking any community center or J.C. class).

    But it did belie the notion that immigrants weren't trying to learn English at a time when they were being beaten over the head with that claim.

    Sorry to wander away from the orignal topic. If you've never done that yourself on a K-blog, you're welcome to throw a stone at me.

    My apologies if I've given the impression that a well-meaning digression was unwelcome. Quite the contrary.

    It's just that when things go in an unintended direction, I may be getting into an area where I'd rather watch than participate.

    ReplyDelete
  13. RE: the meme that you find annoying

    I had an interesting conversation with my first graders today. We were reading a nonfiction story about maps and talking about what maps show. A map of the US prompted remarks like "I live in Mexico," "I'm from El Salvador." Upon further discussion it was clarified that these children were ALL born in the US. This did not surprise me, for I am aware of the fact that the majority of ESOL students are native-born US citizens. I find it interesting yet unsurprising that none of these first graders identify themselves as Americans, despite being born and living only in the US and attending US public schools since kindergarten, saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning and learning about US symbols like the bald Eagle and Statue of Liberty. I realize that these young children identified themselves as living or being from another country because they are too young to understand words like city, state, and country. When I pointed to the children and myself and said, "You and I, we're all Americans," they looked at me bewildered. One boy told me that his family was planning on moving back to Mexico. I hear about plans to repatriate often from students. Sometimes the families do leave, but most often not. I suspect a fair number of parents long for home and stay here only out of economic necessity. I don't begrudge the fact that they came here for economic reasons. Most immigrants do.

    Let's be honest here: how many undocumented immigrants really aspire to become Americans and how many really want papeles that will allow them to live and work here legally? I don't have a problem with expanding the guest worker visa program to allow employed people to remain, but I'm tired of hearing about a "path to citizenship." There's nothing wrong with wanting to live and work in the US while remaining Mexican, Chinese, or Filipino. People who seek only residency and access to the job market do not need or deserve a path to citizenship. Let's create worker visas for these people, like the visas that allowed me to live and work in Korea and China.

    Let's not demonize the undocumented, but let's not canonize them either. Neither moves the national debate towards resolution.

    ReplyDelete
  14. An interesting perspective, Sonagi.

    I would point out that, particularly as young children, they may have difficulty distinguishing from culture and citizenship. They are, after all, only first graders and identity formation is still quite cloudy. Will those same first graders, if they are treated as if they belong in the US, feel strongly that they are also American when they become fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five?

    I don't know the answer to that, and I also don't know if the conditional I just added really exists, especially given the high number of Asian-Americans who get the "But where are you really from?" when they say they're from the US and were born in the US.

    People who are treated with inclusion will, hopefully, see themselves as part of the larger group. But if they're treated as outsiders who don't belong — and demonized as being part of an undeserving group who loathes America, as was hinted at by the people who brought on the meme that inspired this post in the first place — will they see themselves as unable or unwilling to try to be part of the group whose members frequently reject them?

    It's a chicken-and-egg situation to some degree.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "I would point out that, particularly as young children, they may have difficulty distinguishing from culture and citizenship. They are, after all, only first graders and identity formation is still quite cloudy. Will those same first graders, if they are treated as if they belong in the US, feel strongly that they are also American when they become fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five?"

    Of course I am aware that young children have very limited understanding of abstract concepts like citizenship, culture, and identity. I expect that if these young children grow up in the US, they will come to identify themselves as hyphenated Americans. For now, however, their identity is being transmitted from their parents. I mentioned the anecdote to illustrate the point that we should not assume that most immigrants desire to become Americans. Immigration reform needs to distinguish the different aims of people who come here.

    ReplyDelete

Share your thoughts, but please be kind and respectful. My mom reads this blog.