Don’t Wave Your Flag

In the wake of International Week, flags of different countries have been posted across the front of the 200 building by ASB. Yet, in the mix of things, the flags have been interpreted in a way different than expected.

ASB members tried to show their cultural emphasis by plastering flags, but they might have referred to a history book to not only be politically correct, but to be equal in their representation. The whole incident could have been avoided with a little thinking.

For those who haven’t heard, the flags posted offended many students on campus. Let’s look at the big three that have caused a stir of emotions:

  • The Vietnam Communist flag. Does no one remember the riot at a Little Saigon store that had one up? This offended many; if ASB knew well enough not to put a North Korean or Cuban flag, this one should have been a no-brainer.
  • The Palestinian flag. Watching a news broadcast once in a while wouldn’t hurt. The conflict between Israel and Palestine means that the two are a package deal in putting up flags, if you want to demonstrate neutrality. Even ESPN has already had their hands on that chopping block when they excluded Israel on a drop-down box.
  • The Turkish flag. April 24th marks the day of the Armenian Genocide, which has gone and passed 97 years without recognition from the United States. It is still buried deep in the hearts of all Armenians and genocide awareness supporters. To put up only the Turkish flag during the anniversary of the genocide is not only ignorant, but also disrespectful. There was no equal representation and no sympathy.
The flags have since been taken down, yet the blank spots on Tuesday morning where posters used to be still call attention. In place, of the Turkish flag, an Armenian flag, and an Egyptian flag in place of Djibouti’s. A change to the Vietnam flag was made at the end of the day on Tuesday.

“I don’t think any cultural insensitivity was going on here,” said Brian Ross (’12), “What happened was that people putting up the posters didn’t know that this is a particular week where posting Turkish flags may offend some of the students on campus, mostly those whose ancestors were oppressed by the Turkish many years ago. Being that it is international week, there is every reason to put up flags of any country. One could say, ‘if it offends certain students, then that’s their problem,’ and be justified. I don’t care if any action is taken, but I do think students who do have the right to say so.

“With respect to the issue of the North Vietnamese flag: considering the amount of students who are direct descendants of those who came to America to elude the ideals which this flag represents, it is rather ignorant to post this. I don’t think it makes sense to put this up and not expect concern, just as one would expect concern if we were hanging up North Korean flags.”

No one asks for ASB to “be perfect,” but we do ask for the students’ voices to be heard and respected. Isn’t that ASB’s job anyways – to listen to the opinions of the students?

All of this could have been avoided. The fact that ASB wanted “easy” flags to color and “contrast the colors” is not an excuse for their negligence. What about coloring smaller flags but have all the countries represented- all or none? Or color the flags of students who are represented by taking surveys of the student body?

Nevertheless, what has been done is still unacceptable. This article is not meant to attack anyone or start a feud, but to promote awareness and sensitivity.

ASB has yet to comment on the topic and no apologies were made to those offended.



8 thoughts on “Don’t Wave Your Flag

  1. On behalf of ASB, we appreciate the feedback we receive from students. We also acknowledge that randomly picking and guessing a set number of flags to create wasn’t a good action to take.

    Students need to know though that our intention was to decorate the school for International Week, and that’s it. Unfortunately, a couple of the flags were controversial, but did we intend for them to be that way? Absolutely not. (I will give you, I don’t know how on earth the Vietnamese flag was mistaken, but it was a crazy mistake on our behalf, and we apologize.) The point this article fails to acknowledge is that as soon as ASB was made aware of any of the flags being offensive or drawn wrong, we worked to fix them. Unfortunately, no one had directly told us in person that the Turkish flag was offensive in particular…we found out through a post on Facebook criticizing ASB for their ignorance. Yes, we were ignorant…and we deeply apologize.

    As soon as we found out about the controversial Turkish and Vietnamese flags, we removed them..they were up on Monday, and down on Monday. Also, students that have contacted us personally have requested we make certain flags, both before we had hung the ones we hung and throughout the week. The Palestinian flag was a request. The Israeli flag hadn’t been requested, but we acknowledge the mistake of missing it here as well. Point is though, we made flags that students wanted up.

    Direct communication, rather than magnifying our mistakes without letting us know our faults, is what we ask for. ASB’s purpose is to serve the school; our lives literally equal FV you guys! If we hadn’t wanted International Week to be especially cool this year, we wouldn’t have come in last Sunday to color and tape all of those flags.

    We discussed our faults as a class, and we agree with you that in the following years, we will survey students ahead of time. International Week was very rushed this year as it immediately followed Baron Games, but in coming years it will have its time. It’ll be more structured and our decorations and such will not be so last-minute.

  2. On behalf of all ASB I would like to apologize to you about the Turkish flag. However, in all honesty, I personally did not know that the Armenian Genocide Remembrance week was that week and I don’t think anyone else on ASB did either. As for the Vietnamese Communist flag, the person that made the flag didn’t know about it and just looked it up online. I knew about it and, initially, I told Kathy and some other ASB members to take it down before anyone saw it, but we totally forgot about it and when we changed it – it was already too late.

    As for the Israeli flag, we originally had a list of many, many flags that we were going to make, however in the end, we just decided to do one flag each because we didn’t have much time. We picked random flags off the list and the Palestinian flag was put up because it was randomly chosen while the Israeli flag was not. Obviously, that was a bad mistake. But as you said, you don’t expect us to be “perfect” and we just didn’t notice.

    I’m sure from an outsider’s view it’s quite easy to say that all of this could have been avoided with a little “thinking”. Please understand that we were making these flags during the weekend after we had just finished working the Baron Games Assembly. We were all dead tired and we were just trying to get the job done. They were mistakes, but they were honest mistakes. Nothing else. Some were due to ignorance such as the mistake regarding the Turkish flag. We didn’t have bad intentions.

    Additionally, I don’t think anyone was upset about people speaking out. Personally, I was upset because I felt it was a bit rash how you posted about it on Facebook and the Baron Banner when you could have just walked over during fourth period and told me about it on that Monday. I’m here to listen to you – if you have something that you want changed or improved, just tell me. I’ll change it. We’ll change it.

    Thank you.

    *I will not be replying to any further comments. If you would like to speak to me, then please do so personally.

  3. Why don’t you say this to the people in person about this problem instead of hiding behind a computer and making this a bigger deal than it really was. Asb was just trying to promote some school spirit by representation of culture. There is no way ALL of the members of asb will know everything about world affairs. The offended students voices were in fact heard and respected. Asb noticed their mistake, apologized, and had those flags removed immediately. I know that this issue really hits hard on you, but please asb cannot be at fault for world affairs.

    1. “Why don’t you say this to the people in person about this problem instead of hiding behind a computer and making this a bigger deal than it really was.” Look who’s commenting “behind a computer”
      Way to go!! You should be really proud of yourself!

  4. This article seems to me to be a “Fox News” worthy story. You successfully cut out what you wanted your readers to hear by making it one sided and farfetched from the truth; along with taking things out of context. Your comment, “ASB has yet to comment on the topic and no apologies were made to those offended,” is a lie. We have apologized multiple times to you and the others offended. If you need proof, come talk to me and I will gladly show you.

    Also just saying you don’t want to upset people doesn’t put you in the clear. Take ASB’s side into account as well. I am truly sorry that some of the posters offended you. Our intention was to promote school culture.

    Please try not to write articles with too much emotion because you can never take back anything written.

    P.S. A good way to improve this article is to have an opposing viewpoint to take the edge off of it.

  5. if you had any ounce of dignity or respect for yourself, you would’ve contacted one of those asb members instead of hiding behind your keyboard like a coward. According to the above comments, you posted a picture on Facebook to get their attention? LOL I’m sure we all see at least one asb member a day yet you wait until you get home from school to upload a photo and bitch about it?

    pathetic troll head

  6. ANOTHER article of this! gosh ppl..International Week & the Culture Fair were great this year. Keep it up ASB!

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