Worst Persons in the World

Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller totally doesn’t get why the Confederate battle flag is totally different from the rainbow symbol of the LGBT movement.

At Tahoma High School in the nether suburbs of Seattle, it’s totally okay to display a gay-pride flag, but two juniors were suspended for three days for wearing Confederate flags at school.

An unnamed school district spokesman said that a sophomore had been exhibiting a gay-pride flag at Tahoma High for the last two weeks, reports local CBS affiliate KIRO. When the two juniors showed up on Tuesday in a common area wearing the Confederate flags as a political statement in response, they were suspended.

School officials said the Confederate flags caused a disruption because some students were upset. The officials added that the garb was an undisclosed violation of the Tahoma High dress code.

At least one of the unidentified, Confederate flag-wearing students wore the controversial symbol around his neck in some fashion.

See, the rainbow flag is all about tolerance and — ah screw it.

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  • Razib_Taif1

    I initially fall on the side that students should all either be able to engage in any form of political speech – be it rainbow flag shirts, confederate flag shirts, Palin 2016 shits (shudders), etc. Or they should be in matching uniforms. It isn’t for Bob, or me, to pick and choose which speech he finds agreeable and censor the rest.

    • Badgerite

      This is a point. If it is alright for students to wear clothing that displays political speech, then that policy must be enforced in a neutral manner. If it is not alright, then both groups violated the policy of no clothing showing political sympathies allowed. This is, after all, why the Supreme Court insisted that some God awful, neo-nazi group got to parade through the streets of Skokie, Illinois, a village with a lot of Nazi death camp survivors living there, waving the Nazi banner back in the late 70′s. If you provide a forum for political sentiments to be expressed, then that forum has to neutral. You allow all speech, that doesn’t incite to immediate violence, or you allow none.

    • Richard G

      I’m honestly not sure the All or Nothing requirements are a good or right thing. It’s an easy way out of difficult discussions and tough educational lessons. And the decisions which necessarily come from them.

      However, I am sure that one of these particular symbols represents tolerance for all people, while the other represents a treasonous political ideal which stood for shackling a good part of our population in chains and caused enormous cost in blood.

      Now, do you really consider the Confederate Flag an appropriate symbol for students to wear at school and on the same playing field of equality? Rainbow=Confederacy? At the very least, the prohibition of wearing the Stars and Bars should be a teaching experience – how about learning what it actually stands for.

      • Badgerite

        I didn’t say I did. I said the concepts relating to freedom of speech as decided upon by the Supreme Court of the United States did. If you have a government sponsored forum for speech, that forum must not decide what speech is allowed and which is not. That would get you into the territory of a government entity deciding which speech is ‘permissible’ and which speech is not. This is a school. I presume a public school. If it is not a public school and accepts no tax dollars, then it can discriminate with respect to speech. If it is a public school, then the fact that it is supported by tax dollars requires a neutral forum with respect to what speech is expressed. Now the school could ban all such statements on clothing. But if it allows one, it must allow the other. I believe that is correct with respect to the law. It doesn’t have anything to do with personal preference or what message I think is valid or true. That is why Skokie, Illinois had to allow a bunch of disgusting neo-nazis to parade through town once, carrying the Nazi flag and shouting Nazi slogans and why the United States government cannot constitutionally ban the burning of the American flag. Because these actions involve the First Amendment right to free speech. These cases went all the way up to the Supreme Court. And according to legal precedent, the wearing of symbols on a piece of clothing is consider protected political speech. And if the government provides a forum for speech, that forum must be content neutral. That’s the First Amendment.
        These cases are different then a State House flying the Confederate Flag overhead. They are about an individuals right to free speech, whether you like that speech or not. If I were the school, I would just say no political stuff on clothing. And be done with it. There is a time and a place for everything.

        • Clancy

          Public schools can–and do–discriminate with respect to free speech. I’m over twenty years removed from my public school days, but even I remember that they were not exactly bastions of freedom and constitutional protections. Unfortunately, the federal courts didn’t stop at the landmark Tinker decision. There are several SCOTUS decisions since which have basically handed the keys over to school administrators to rather arbitrarily establish what is and is not acceptable speech (Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, Bethel School District v. Fraser)

          • mrbrink

            Yeah, Morse v. Frederick, or, “Bong Hits 4 Jesus,” is another. I just wanted an excuse to write, “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.” I so rarely get the chance.

          • Badgerite

            Excellent! Who does?

          • Clancy

            Yeah, I was trying to think of that case, but couldn’t remember what the phrase was, and couldn’t be bothered to look it up. (lazy Clancy)

          • 1933john

            Haven’t heard that one in a long time.

          • Badgerite

            Well, yeah. No, they are not bastions of freedom and constitutional protections. The courts have always made exceptions with respect to the rights of students vs adults. But school administrators still risk a lawsuit in these kinds of cases. This isn’t a particularly settled area of law. But Hazelwood v Klmeier involved the printing of personal student information in the school paper and Bethel School District v Fraser involved the use of obscene language. See the Poway High School case involving student Tyler Chase Harper. It is more on point.

          • Clancy

            Bethel came down when I was in HS. I recall that the principal basically used it as an excuse to become the final editor of the school newspaper. As an editor at the paper, it got to the point where I would stop by his office to see if I could even write on a particular topic, lest it be completely re-written or removed entirely after the fact.

          • GrafZeppelin127

            Sorry, Clancy, but you’re wrong about that. [DISCLAIMER: I have particular expertise in this area and wrote my Law Review note on this very topic.]

            The Tinker decision essentially gave students the right to decide what is and is not acceptable speech in schools, placing a virtually-insurmountable barrier in front of teachers and school personnel (the “substantial disruption” standard) before they could regulate or punish student “expression.” Subsequent cases (Kuhlmeier, Fraser and Frederick) have only chipped away at Tinker, carving out small, esoteric, ad-hoc exceptions to the general rule, without ever re-examining it or even considering overturning it.

            Frederick was, in my view, particularly egregious because it offered the Court a chance to not only re-examine the Tinker standard but also to clarify the distinction between speech/expression and conduct. The facts in Frederick made it really about the latter, not the former, as reinforced by the plaintiff’s own argument, viz., that “BoNG HiTS 4 JESUS” was not intended to mean anything at all, or convey any message at all, about drugs, religion or anything else; it was just a meaningless string of gibberish meant to get the television cameras’ attention. That should have defeated the First Amendment argument right there; you have to actually be saying something in order for “speech” to be protected.

            Of course, the Court didn’t buy that, and decided that the phrase “BoNG HiTS” can’t really be read to refer to anything else, so it was reasonably taken as a pro-drug message properly dealt with by the school. And none of the authorities that reviewed the case, from the school board all the way up to the SCOTUS, bought the argument that he was not actually “in school” at the time. But the Court never dealt with the more fundamental problem: students (and their parents) using the First Amendment as a sword rather than a shield, to justify conduct that would otherwise be unjustifiable by characterizing that conduct as “speech” or “expression.”

            The dissenting opinions in Tinker were more prescient than people realize. In addition to a thorough dissent by Justice Black, Justice Harlan wrote a one-paragraph dissent stating, in essence, that the burden should be on the complaining student to show that the school’s disciplinary action was arbitrary and unreasonable, not on the school to prove a “substantial disruption.” Having taught in public schools for 13 years, I tend to agree.

    • stacib23

      To me, this sounds a lot like “everybody should tell the absolute truth all the time”. In theory, that sounds fantastic – in practice, it would be chaos.

    • fojap

      When I was in school we weren’t allowed to wear anything that was “disruptive.” They changed the rules while I was there because some people wore t-shirts with swear words on them. In the end, if I recall, they decided that t-shirts with writing on the were not permitted. There’s a pretty big gap between political t-shirts and uniforms. I agree that it’s symbolic speech and the school should not pick and choose, however, you can’t get up in class and deliver a political speech that has nothing to do with the subject being taught. Speech is limited at school.

  • blair houghton

    Tucker has long worn his cognitive dissonance like a face tattoo. He does not understand the difference between right and wrong, much less solidarity and hate.

  • notoriousbob

    There are comments on the link about photographers and caterers who have been shut down because they refused to do a gay wedding. I’m sure that is complete BS, but does anyone know what originated those stories?? And the story says why they were suspended, not because they were just walking around with Skynard shirts on minding their own business, it was because they were inciting a reaction from other people and throwing it in people’s faces to get a reation. Well they got one.

  • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

    There’s not enough information in the story to understand what really happened. I viewed the video from the local news team and it only ever says that another student had been displaying an LGBT flag for a couple of weeks. The reason I point this out is because there is a difference between flying and/or displaying a flag and wearing it. Maybe I’m being nitpicky but legally, I think it makes a big difference. Many states allow schools to specify dress code so a student could display a flag but not wear it. The other aspect to this is that the students with the Confederate flag caused a “disturbance”….and that’s something schools in any state can prohibit.

    But that’s all the legal minutiae (that the ACLU will no doubt be all over). The fact of the matter is that the LGBT flag is about acceptance and openness and the Confederate flag, no matter how much the right tries to re-brand it, does represent hate and slavery. AND let’s not forget it represents a group of traitors and a defeated foe.

    In the end the Confederate flag students would probably win in a court of law. But it still doesn’t change the fact that their assholes and that Tucker Carlson is a dick for encouraging such behavior.

    • Badgerite

      Well, maybe not. There is a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case that decided by a 2-1 vote that struck down a students right to wear a shirt opposing homosexuality. (www.eagleforum.org/educate/2006/june06/student-rights.html) But in that case the kid was wearing a pretty ‘out there’ t-shirt that quoted the Bible and all. Kind of like a billboard. It seemed that the case turned on the actions of the student in question as an attempt to demean or humiliate fellow students as opposed to lawful expression of speech and it seemed to go on for a while. The case involved Poway High School near San Diego and the student who brought suit to be allowed to wear the offending t-shit was Tyler Chase Harper. I don’t think that really applies in this instance. But it would depend on the particular facts surrounding the dispute. I’m no fan of the Confederate Flag. But for someone to wear it clearly falls under the heading of protected political speech. The offensive and unpopular speech is really what the First Amendment is all about. Popular speech (good speech) rarely needs protection.

    • feloniousgrammar

      What message is a student wearing a Confederate flag sending to black students?

      • Badgerite

        Ok. Good point. I can’t say I approve of them wearing such a shirt. I am also not sure they are not within their rights to do so. But high school may not be the place where they should be allowed to do that. I will agree with that.

      • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

        You’re absolutely right that the result of that flag would set off minority students and rightfully so. We totally agree on that. Graf’s legal info above delves into the issues much better.

  • CL Nicholson

    So the Hillbilly’s swastika is the same as…….a flag for equal rights?! Yes, Mr. Carlson, my parents, who lived through Jim Crow, live in utter fear of Skittles – too many flashbacks. I guess every time there was a cross burning on my relatives’ lawns in the South, it was a bunch of guys in leather chaps, Liberace impersonators and Drag queens dancing and waving the pride flag and not scary guys in white hoods screaming racial slurs and waving Ol’ Dixie.

    • D_C_Wilson

      Remember in Florida, Skittles are considered a deadly weapon.

      • CL Nicholson

        Sadly, this is true. That and Iced Tea.

  • trgahan

    I think it is more telling of American society in general (and nothing new) that the reaction to being confronted with something you’re not comfortable with (ie. gays) is to show up the next day wearing the most obvious opposition symbol to brandish a big “FUCK YOU!” toward what they don’t like AND have it then discussed a an appropriate “counter” expression.

    I experienced this personally when the movie Malcolm X came out and suddenly 75% of the white males in my high school (in the northeast none the less) started wearing Confederate Flag T-Shirts and even making shirts with “Malcolm X is dead” with a picture of Malcolm post-assassination. Nothing was done until a black student delivered the ultimate rebuttal with his fist.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    Just like Bill Maher calling Sarah Palin a nasty name is totally the same as laws requiring trans-vaginal ultrasounds. Because, Jesus, or something.

    [Bang.] [Head.] [On.] [Desk.]

  • Clancy

    I was a bit taken aback by anything that would describe a community as being in the “nether suburbs” of anywhere. Then, I looked up where it was in relation to Seattle and decided that it was a pretty spot-on descriptor. Quite honestly, I’m a little surprised that the situation wasn’t reversed.

  • JozefAL

    Here’s something from the HuffPo story that *I* found especially telling–and a point that Bob’s story “conveniently” omits*:

    One of the students, identified by KOMO News only as Grady, confirmed to reporters his peer’s decision to wear a rainbow flag during the school day prompted their decision.

    “It’s just a way of showing our Southern pride, nothing racist at all,” Grady told the news station. “If he can wear his flag in support of what he believes, we figured we could do that as well.”

    As I pointed out when I commented on the story, this school is in WASHINGTON STATE, hardly the place to be exhibiting “Southern pride.” Of course, you don’t see African-Americans IN THE SOUTH wearing that particular emblem on their persons.

    *I understand that Bob took his piece from Daily Caller which isn’t above promoting racist imagery when it suits their purposes. My critique was less about Bob, and more about the sourced excerpt.

  • stacib23

    OMG, before I read any of the comments, I just had this argument earlier today with a poster on Politico. I didn’t know he had gotten it all from Tucker Carlson.

  • Christopher Foxx

    See, the rainbow flag is all about tolerance and — ah screw it.

    But not very tolerant of folks with different political views, apparently.

    Bob, outlawing one flag because you find the political views of the folks wearing it offensive, while simultaneously promoting the display of a flag who’s supporters you agree with, is a blatant display of your hypocrisy.

    • jasperjava

      Who said anything about OUTLAWING the Confederate flag, you racist numbnuts? You can display the Nazi flag legally, too. It just shows who you really are.

      You want to openly show your ignorance, bigotry, racism, and intolerance? Be my guest. The Rainbow flag is a positive symbol, yours is negative. Go ahead and make a fool of yourself.

      • Christopher Foxx

        Who said anything about being in favor of the Confederate flag, you ignorant numbnuts? I was advocating for equal application of the First Amendment.

        But if you want to show your ignorance, prejudice and intolerance by knee-jerk attacking those who do, well, go ahead and make a fool of yourself. And maybe someday you’ll decide the First Amendment is worth defending.

  • candideinnc

    To begin with, I am a gay progressive. I despise the use of the offensive stars and bars as an insult to our Black citizens. That said, I stand with the ACLU that freedom of speech should permit freedom to be wrong. Still…the schools should not be the place to let this contest of right and wrong to play out. That is a special environment that cannot be permitted to become a hotbed of disputes between adolescents. If you permit Black Pride displays there, you cannot forbid White Pride displays. You end up with gang disputes. Let the bigots display their bigotry, but not in our schools. No insignias or politics should be worn in the schools.

  • Lady Willpower

    I made the mistake of trying to participate in that thread. It was… not rewarding.

    This particular exchange was pretty typical.

    http://imgur.com/urJKAQy

    • jasperjava

      Ouch. Loved the part where the KKK was founded in order to help “the Blacks” get to “prominence”.
      The Stupid is Strong with this one.

      • Lady Willpower

        Another person said “why would someone feel bad to be linked to the KKK?”
        At that point I just had to close my browser.