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.