UC Irvine students try to be inclusive: do the exact opposite and remove American flag

flag
I hear a lot of ideas that I disagree with and think are ridiculous. But I try to be accepting. But then I sometimes see something, and think “I can’t accept this. Are these real people? Who thinks like this?”

On Thursday night, the Associated Students of the University of California Irvine voted to remove the American flag from their “common space.”

I’ve read their resolution and I think it’s trash. They don’t have compelling reasons. In fact, I feel that there are places where it is contradictory and poorly worded.

Certainly I recognize that people can disagree with me on things and love this great country just as much as I do. But this resolution is anti-American.

At the bottom of this post, I have the entire resolution posted, but I’d like to make a couple comments:

Whereas flags construct paradigms of conformity and sets homogenized standards for others to obtain which in this country typically are idolized as freedom, equality, and democracy.

The flag constructs paradigms which in America are typically freedom, equality, and democracy? Oh the humanity! We cannot have something that people might construe as a symbol of freedom, equality, and democracy. The flag represents these values because America represents these values.

Whereas symbolism is interpreted differently by different groups or persons based on individual unique experiences.

Whereas a common ideological understanding of the United states includes American exceptionalism and superiority.

Symbolism is interpreted differently by different people. True.

Symbols do resonate with people differently. And for SOME, they do agree with a sense of American exceptionalism and superiority. But not all. You can see the flag without the connotations. Because you correctly pointed out that symbols are interpreted differently.

In removing something that might be a symbol of “American exceptionalism and superiority,” in an inclusive space, and giving that interpretation of the flag as part of your reason for its removal, I feel like you’re saying those people are wrong. I think most Americans think that this is a special place. The degree to which we think that is like Americans, varied and up for debate. But I think it’s good for people to love their country and take pride in it. That’s not to say we should feel superior to others or like we’re inherently better. Unfortunately people think and have thought that. But you can also believe that America is a great nation that without going to extremes.

Whereas the American flag is commonly flown in government public service locations, military related entities, at homes, in foreign lands where the US government has a presence.

True, but what does that have to do with anything? And isn’t UC Irvine a state school? (Why, yes it is).

Whereas the American flag has been flown in instances of colonialism and imperialism.

That’s true. America does not have a perfect history. Does anyone think that it does? But where there have been iron fisted regimes, and dictatorships, and kings, America has been the world’s brightest beacon of freedom for that past 239 years. I feel like this statement and other statements that talk about nationalism and exceptionalism are the impetus of this resolution.

Whereas symbolism has negative and positive aspects that are interpreted differently by individuals.

Not sure why they’re basically restating themselves from earlier in the resolution.

Whereas displaying a flag does not express only selective aspects of its symbolism but the entire spectrum of its interpretation.

Feel like that’s inconsistent with the idea of symbols being interpreted differently by individuals.

Whereas designing a culturally inclusive space is taken seriously by ASUCI

Designing a culturally inclusive space is taken seriously? In a resolution where you’re talking about banning the flag OF THE COUNTRY YOU LIVE IN from your space? Believe it or not, there are actually people in this country who see the flag as a symbol that unites people. Of a nation where people from all walks of life, all corners of the globe can live peacefully and pursue things (dreaded things to this group like freedom, equality, and democracy).

I just don’t read this resolution and feel like their absolute goal was to be inclusive. Their ideology drips throughout the resolution. It’s not inclusive to exclude the flag (keep in mind most Americans like this country).

Whereas designing a culturally inclusive space aims to remove barriers that create undue effort and separation by planning and designing spaces that enable everyone to participate equally and confidently.

You’re removing barriers by doing something that would alienate most people to you?

You’re trying to enable people to participate equally? Didn’t you just undermine the idea of the flag leading people to the “idol” of equality?

Whereas whenever public spaces are produced and managed by narrow interests, they are bound to become exclusive places and

NARROW INTERESTS?! Yeah, we can’t just cave to those people on the fringe who like the American flag. (Not in our inclusive space).

Whereas freedom of speech is a valued right that ASUCI supports.

Whereas freedom of speech, in a space that aims to be as inclusive as possible can be interpreted as hate speech.

Again. Look at how incoherent this is.

We value freedom of speech.
But it can be interpreted as hate speech.

Let it be resolved that ASUCI make every effort to make the Associated Students main lobby space as inclusive as possible.

Every effort to be as inclusive as possible?

Ultimately, yes a person can see the American flag and disagree with what it represents. But does that mean the solution is to remove it? I know it was somewhat of a cliche during the Global War on Terrorism to say “Well if you don’t support the war, move some place else.”

That’s a bit extreme.

But seriously. If you don’t support the country itself, why not do yourself a favor and leave it? You can love a country and disagree with a war. You can’t love a country and hate a country! America has made mistakes, but we’ve also tried to right the wrongs of the past.

I know college is a time of new ideas, exploration, and thinking outside the box. But c’mon, UC Irvine. That’s not the battle to pick. It’s shameful.

jrb

——
Whereas flags are a symbol of a nation, are used as decorations and have a wide range of cultural significance.

Whereas flags are typically viewed as patriotic symbols of a single nation, are often associated with government and military due to their history and have a wide variety of interpretations.

Whereas the traditional patriotic interpretation of a flag is a result of a nation and/or persons who encourage a nationalistic understanding of the flag.

Whereas traditional understandings and ideologies, as encouraged by the national government, include liberty, democracy, constitution values and are up for interpretation on constituents.

Whereas flags not only serve as symbols of patriotism or weapons for nationalism, but also construct cultural mythologies and narratives that in turn charge nationalistic sentiments.

Whereas flags function specifically for a nation and

Whereas people are assimilated into national ideologies by deployment of this cultural artifact.

Whereas flags construct paradigms of conformity and sets homogenized standards for others to obtain which in this country typically are idolized as freedom, equality, and democracy.

Whereas symbolism is interpreted differently by different groups or persons based on individual unique experiences.

Whereas a common ideological understanding of the United states includes American exceptionalism and superiority.

Whereas the American flag is commonly flown in government public service locations, military related entities, at homes, in foreign lands where the US government has a presence.

Whereas the American flag has been flown in instances of colonialism and imperialism.

Whereas symbolism has negative and positive aspects that are interpreted differently by individuals.

Whereas displaying a flag does not express only selective aspects of its symbolism but the entire spectrum of its interpretation.

Whereas designing a culturally inclusive space is taken seriously by ASUCI

Whereas designing a culturally inclusive space aims to remove barriers that create undue effort and separation by planning and designing spaces that enable everyone to participate equally and confidently.

Whereas the removal of barriers is the best option at promoting an inclusive space.

Whereas it is a psychological effect for individuals to identify negative aspects of a space rather than positive ones.

Whereas whenever public spaces are produced and managed by narrow interests, they are bound to become exclusive places and

Whereas the planning process must be inclusive in such that designers are advised to forget about the ‘average’ user or themselves and instead begin the open space designing process with ‘deep knowledge’ of the preferences of the actual communities who are likely to use those spaces

Whereas designers should be careful about using cultural symbols as the symbols will inherently remain open for interpretation.

Whereas once an open space is created, it is important to employ continual evaluation in order to understand changing use patterns and needs over time.

Whereas a high-quality culturally inclusive spaces is essential in any society that embodies a dynamic and multifaceted culture

Whereas freedom of speech is a valued right that ASUCI supports.

Whereas freedom of speech, in a space that aims to be as inclusive as possible can be interpreted as hate speech.

Let it be resolved that ASUCI make every effort to make the Associated Students main lobby space as inclusive as possible.

Let it further be resolved that no flag, of any nation, may be hanged on the walls of the Associate Student main lobby space.

Let it be further be resolved that if a decorative item is in the Associate student lobby space and issues arise, the solution will be to remove the item if there is considerable request to do so.

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