Trumpmania strikes in the most unlikely of places, as the scenic town of North Bend, Oregon erupts in conflict over the Confederate battle flag.
It started last Tuesday at the high school when two girls got into a fight. One called out the other for wearing a hat with the Confederate battle flag on it. She also accused the girl of calling her racial slurs.
Here’s the video posted to the Coos Bay Uncensored Facebook page, with the two girls fighting and a teacher intervening.
Oregon Live reports district superintendent Bill Yester told neither student was seriously injured. In addition, neither girl was disciplined by the school.
The World — a newspaper in nearby Coos Bay — adds that some parents and neighbors were furious, and took to the streets in protest. North Bend is about as far from the Mason-Dixon Line as you can get, but that doesn’t seem to matter these days.
North Bend HS students display American & Confederate flags across from school after district banned Confederate flag following a fight. pic.twitter.com/ftNtWGf37N
— Bethany Baker (@PhotogChameleon) February 8, 2017
In North Bend — as in the rest of the U.S. — teenage boys don’t get shot for wearing a hoodie if they’re white and their sweatshirt has the Confederate battle flag on it.
— Oregon4ru (@oregon4ru) February 7, 2017
Despite some people’s objection to the ban, Bill Yester says they did not make this decision lightly. He talked to the high school administrators, the school board chair, a lawyer at the Oregon School Board Association, and a civil rights expert. They all gave him the green light.
The North Bend Middle School Principal, Darrell Johnston added:
“These students wanted to express their freedom of speech, but we talked with them. We explained that their First Amendment right does not trump other people’s right to feel safe while pursuing their own education.”
Johnston explains that he’s already been meeting with people in the community because he’s concerned about racist chants he’d heard from students during the election. North Bend High School principal Bill Lucero also chimed in:
“When we boiled this all down, we concluded that every kid who walks into the doors of the high school will be treated with respect. The incident was unfortunate, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that we have students doing great things. None of that has changed because of this.”
Bill Yester then acknowledged, “Our students need to be more aware of diversity.”
That all sounds well and good. But it looks like a lot of the supposed adults in the community still don’t get why racial slurs and the Confederate battle flag are not okay. Most of us would never wear or wave around Nazi symbols, even though President Donald Trump and his top staffer Steve Bannon give them plenty of encouragement. Yet too many of us can’t see that the Stars and Bars are a powerful symbol of our own long and shameful history of racism, slavery, and genocide.
Alas, here in America, we live uneasily with our racism as one lives with a mean, old, stinky dog. But after a while, we don’t smell it any more.
Totally-not-racist locals weigh in on the Confederate battle flag ban.
There are a lot of nice people in the North Bend, Oregon area. But the people who subscribe to the Coos [Bay] Uncensored Facebook page are clearly not among them. In a Facebook post asking people what they think, their replies were very “uncensored” indeed.
One acknowledged the hat didn’t promote “unity.” She then likened the wearing of a potent symbol of racial trauma as inappropriate in the way that wearing a thong and a mini skirt are inappropriate. Without recognizing that the flag and the racial slurs are a form of assault that creates anger and fear, she declared the girl who struck first should be arrested.
Another said the girl has a right to wear the equivalent of a Nazi armband to school, then added the other girl should be punished.
A third declared that if you let non-white students express their anger at being insulted and made to feel unsafe in a school their parents’ taxes help pay for, all hell will break loose.
And of course, life just wouldn’t be complete without a right-whinger whinging about how non-whites can get away with assault while white people get discriminated against.
Boo hoo. Look who’s a “special snowflake” now.
Here’s the video with the latest news report from KPIC, given after the school board meeting.