Opinion: When wearing a U.S. flag T-shirt is wrong
November 18th, 2011
10:26 AM ET

Opinion: When wearing a U.S. flag T-shirt is wrong

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN.com contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist.

San Diego, California (CNN) - When is wearing a T-shirt with the American flag on it considered provocative?

Answer: When you wear it to a high school with a dress code that explicitly prohibits "any clothing or decoration which detracts from the learning environment." And when the high school, where 20% of the 1,300 students are English-language learners and 18% come from low-income families, has been described by the San Francisco Chronicle as having "an ethnically charged atmosphere."

And when, despite concerns about potential violence, you and some of your friends make your patriotic wardrobe choices on, of all days, Cinco de Mayo.

Read Ruben Navarette Jr.'s full commentary

soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. VB

    This blog makes absolutely no sense, I though perhaps he was going to bring up examples of people wearing the american flag t-shirt when strip dancing, etc. I also don't see how wearing the tshirt to school can be "detract" anyone from learning? By the way, our family is Latino/Asians and we own a flag that we proudly display on every important holiday i.e. 7-4, or veterans day, we do it because we want to honor our country, and our family members in the military.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bud

    This could be the stupidest blog I have ever read.

    December 13, 2011 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. Thor's Pile Driver

    When's the right time to wear American flag T-shirt? Anytime you're threatened in your own country by a RACIST PUNK like Ruben Navarrette...

    December 13, 2011 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. jusme101@mail.com

    I have an American Flag on my underwear... If you don't like it, then just kiss it...

    December 11, 2011 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. matt

    Do you people realize that this guy is arguing that American children should not be allowed to wear an American flag on their chest? Has the whole world gone completely insane?

    I don't have the typing space to untangle the massive knot of which this "columnist" Ruben Navarrette has twisted rational logic. He has NO IDEA what he is talking about concerning national culture, morality, laws. I very honestly cannot believe reputable media outlets allow themselves to be affiliated with him.

    December 10, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chippy1

    *&&%^ you, I will wear whatever I want, when ever I want!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 10, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. HxC19D

    That makes it wrong? My lord...give me a break. This country was formed from defiance. At least they chose an American flag.

    December 9, 2011 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
  8. Honest131

    Wrong? Never! Insensitive? perhaps. Reckless? assuredly. Shameful? Never. This is the double standard. A LBGT wants to make a point at an inappropriate time? God Bless them. A minority wants to make a point at an inappropriate time? They are congratulated for taking a stand. An American stand up for your country or your right? Burn them at the stake you cosmopolitan progressive people. And to think I gave 6 years of my life so you had the right to voice this opinion....

    December 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JEN


    December 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • KevinCrookCrook Glory

      American flag not for man t-shirt ,ya'll wrong.But for girls t-thong ,ya'll right ! Don't believe me get in the nudy bar try.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeff

    Hmm. This view from someone named "Kumar"? Please.
    Let's take your racist, inconsiderate, ill-informed perspective a step further and give the whole "country" back to the people that Europeans (or white mutts – of which I am one) took it from in the first place – Indians (so named because another white idiot was lost!)
    Evolve. Please.

    December 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Here Here! Thank you Jeff! I am so sick of these stupid people.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tom

    Nice intelligent American response.

    November 29, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |

    It is true that illegals never display American flags, because their love is for their country.(mexico) So that being said, GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!

    November 29, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      I don't own an American flag.

      November 29, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      I must have forgot, because all illegals must come from the same country (mexico) because there are none from any where else.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Newt

    Simple – make a law that eliminates the American flag and put Che Guevara instead. Most people hear wear Che Guevara shirts in honor of that great killer!

    November 29, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. loveit

    What's Ridiculous is how you "Americans" are so quick to tell the Mexicans to get out of your country if they don't like it, but fail to see that they aren't going anywhere! If anything, they will continue to flood our country until they are the dominant race! In case you haven't noticed, Spanish is becoming our 2nd language. More jobs prefer people that speak English AND Spanish! Besides, if we had no illegals, then who would the white man pay for cheap labor to build our homes and buildings?? Not a single white man, that's for sure! Get with the program people, because they are taking over and it's only going to grow!!!! MEXICAN AMERICANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 28, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • J. Pickett

      Please loveit, Feel free to be the first to leave, Can't you see that the numbers are turning against this uncontrolled invasion. Me, I'm staying, my family on three sides has been here 300 to 380 years. Fought for it many times. We are more than willing to vote you out.

      November 28, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. marv

    Reuben once again you are proving to be laughably foolish. Get a grip...if yopu're offended by the American flag please do us a favor and LEAVE!

    November 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  16. It's not

    As we've all said time and time again,. this is America if you are offended move some where else,. you don't see these other countries taking their flags down do ya? It's time America started being proud of who she is again,.. the stars and stripes are who we are..... Do I really have to remind you,. where's your spine?

    November 28, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  17. todd little

    where is the Pledge of Alliegence? they can teach the Mexican national anthem and the mexican pledge of alliegence. but the Unites States Pledge, where is it at???

    November 28, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  18. J. Pickett

    If they are here legally, help them be Americans. If not they are criminals. Period end of story.. I live in a neighborhood that is dominated by immigrants, Mexican and Indian. In 20 years I have never seen an American flag displayed on any house in the neighborhood with an immigrant owner. Makes me wonder if they want to be Americans or just be here for the money. Much of which they send home.

    November 28, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  19. robert letinski

    when growing up in Newark NJ in the early 50's it wasn't uncommon to see an ethnic pride and religious parade at least once a month come down our street and walk to the Cathedral to honor their patron saints. Portuguese, Italians, Irish, Polish, etc, all legal or second generation LEGAL Immigrants. Those that could afford it would tape our dollar on the statue. All proud of our heritage and all "PROUD TO BE AMERICANS" wise up people this bomb has a short fuse. Instead of pushing them out let's maybe try to help them, what ever nationality, try to become legal US citizens or at least get legal papers. With the exception of those that come here to do us harm, criminals, gangs, drug pushers etc.

    November 28, 2011 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
    • wmurderface

      We need to take care of our own first

      December 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  20. J. Pickett

    Young poeple of mexican descent can wear 5th of may shirts. Just as Irish can wear special shirts for St. Patrick's day. But as understand it, the 5th of May is not really a big thing in Mexico itself. It doesn't celebrate independence. Just a victory in a long forgotten war. But if school is disrupted by patriotic U.S. shirts then both should be banned. And most certainly mexican flags should never replace U.S. flags on official buildings. Integrate. Or are you just temporary visitors?

    November 27, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • todd little

      Cinco de mayo is a celebration of a war Mexico lost. to funny

      November 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tom

        Cinco de mayo is celebrated for the battle fought in the city of Puebla. The Mexicans were outnumbered 2 to 1 by the French who hadn't lost a battle in 50 years. The Mexicans won that day and pushed the French away. The independence day celebrated in September is for Mexico's independence from Spain.

        November 29, 2011 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
      • Tom

        and that is "TOO FUNNY"

        November 29, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  21. mk

    agreed – look up proper etiquette for the display of the american flag and it clearly states that the flag is not to be worn as an article of clothing or its likeness printed as clothing. guess that settles it right there, especially since americans are so protective of the flag. honor it by NOT wearing it.

    November 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Ralph

    First of all, this is MY country and you repect us. I don't bow down to anyone on any day someone thinks is important, not even a US president should who meets a king in the middle east.

    Generations past paid in blood and their lives for us to stand independent, but.....re-written history classes now teach these were evil white men who wanted to dominate the world.

    Why does pale skin color makes you the auto-evil, auto-racist. Damn you for judging me by the color of my skin and not the content of my character.

    The ugly truth is most people south of the border are here for the money and could care less about the USA, our language, traditions, and culture.

    But we must respect them because they yearn for freedom and love this country.........in your fantasy world.

    November 26, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • max

      What a load. You make generalizations while complaining that you get stereotyped as a racist (and sound like one).

      Just because you have white skin doesnt make you a racst just as someone who does not have white skin is not automatically a free-loading criminal.

      As much as this is your country, this is MY country also and I welcome these hard working folks from mexico. they come here to get jobs, start businesses and make a better life. As far as just being here for the money – once they make the money do they return to mexico? not that i am aware of in general. proves the fallacy of your rant.

      December 1, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • max

      and i also wonder what history classes you refer to? exactly which of our founding fathers or war veterans are considered evil? ive never had a history class like that (nor have you – you are making stuff up and listening to hannity a bit much) and i have 4 kids that span 3rd grade to 12th grade and they dont get taught any of what you suggest.

      you are a drama king. you blatantly lie to make a point. your points are racially biased and exhibit hatred unbecoming a decent person. may karma bite you hard in the nether regions.

      December 1, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  23. Jennifer

    ""any clothing or decoration which detracts from the learning environment." unless its on fire, or playing some really annoying song. No piece of clothing detracts from the learning environment. You kid just isn't smart enough to learn and/or the teacher is exceptionally boring.... most likely your kid is an idiot....

    November 25, 2011 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  24. oh please

    childish and boring "article"

    November 25, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  25. dee

    It's always wrong to wear an American flag on clothes. Look up flag etiquette.

    November 18, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      So true, dee. The fact lost amongst all the jingoistic clamor.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  26. L

    Totally ridiculous! This is America!!!!!

    November 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Damn straight! This is SPARTA....errr....I mean AMERICA!!!

      November 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |