Texas Student’s Refusal to Say Mexican Pledge, Anthem Starts Controversy

Brad Watson, WFAA (Dallas), November 21, 2011

Every day students in Texas public schools pledge allegiance to the flags of the United States and Texas.

But when a teacher in a Rio Grande Valley high school assigned students to stand and pledge allegiance to the Mexican flag and sing Mexico’s national anthem, one student refused.

The resulting controversy has one East Texas lawmaker wanting changes in the state’s curriculum on how culture and patriotism are taught in schools.

15-year-old Brenda Brinsdon entered her sophomore year at McAllen ISD’s Achieve Early College High School just wanting to do well in her classes.

{snip}

Brinsdon said she stood her ground by staying seated when first-year Spanish 3 teacher Reyna Santos assigned her class to stand and recite Mexico’s pledge of allegiance.

Students stood with right arms straight out and palms down, which is how the school district says Mexicans say their pledge.

Calling the lesson “un-American,” Brinsdon recorded the class, which occurred the week of Mexico’s Independence Day and also the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

The teacher also told students to memorize and recite the the pledge individually.

And when the time came for the part of the assignment to sing Mexico’s national anthem, Brinsdon again refused.

{snip}

This Spanish class assignment, Brenda Brisdon’s refusal and the school district’s response caused a firestorm on the right.

Conservative websites erupted, getting the attention of Republican State Representative Dan Flynn of Canton.

“It was a shock to me,” he said.

{snip}

Flynn said since the state allows that much discretion, he’ll file a bill again to require more mandatory studies on the U.S. Constitution.

“I do have a problem if we’re making that the assignment for young people to stand up and pledge to another country,” Flynn said. “It lessens the value of the pledge to the United States flag.”

{snip}

Brinsdon said she’s been pulled from Santos’ class and gets her lessons separately now. Despite the controversy, she has no regrets.

“I really hope that I was an inspiration to a lot of youth in America to stand up for what’s right,” Brinsdon said.

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  • Anonymous

    When it’s something on the right, even something wholesome or true, it’s labeled, and becomes ‘controversial’. When it’s part of the leftist or mainstream agenda, and something likely very, very base and evil, it’s something placed on a pedestal as untouchable and not open to debate.

  • Anonymous

    If you pledge allegiance to Mexico, then go live in Mexico. It’s really very simple.

  • Anonymous

    Language should never be underestimated as a force to bind or divide. It can also negatively impact opportunities for unilingual persons.

    Now we have informal use of Spanish. Later will come demands that it be an ‘official language’. Once that happens, regional governments and courts of law will be required by statute to provide redundant services, publications and signs in both English and Spanish, at enormous cost.

    A person who does not speak both languages will be barred from working in a government job, or appointed to high office. Hiring quotas in certain service industries will dictate some positions as requiring bilingual proficiency. Penalties in law will enforce workplace compliance.

    Such an outcome would favor the Hispanic population, not the English speakers.

    Spanish use should be nipped in the bud, before it becomes a bureaucratic and social monster.

  • SNAviatrix

    The American pledge is spoken with the hand over the heart.

    The Mexican pledge is spoken in the position of a Hitler salute.

    Very fitting.

  • Anonymous

    “Students stood with right arms straight out and palms down, which is how the school district says Mexicans say their pledge.”

    Try standing with your “right arm straight out and palm down.” Perhaps in the privacy of your own home as to do so in the street may get you labelled a follower of a certain Austrian corporal.

    Good luck to this girl.

  • neanderthalDNA

    Pardon me if I don’t jump on the “righteously indignant express” here, but…

    Having taught Spanish on the secondary level, a few things you have to know.

    1. Don’t dare teach grammar. Grammar is hard and boring and has nothing to do with the ability to imitate phrase book Spanish well enough to (maybe) avoid getting killed in Mexico or know when some Mexican is “dissin” you. The most damning indictment of teaching boring old grammar is, of course, the inability of many blacks, lazy-corrupted whites, and especially hispanics, to learn and use it. Therefore grammar must be racist and not worth being taught.

    2. Since you can’t dare teach a kid to actually conjugate a verb any more, you have to show lots of pictures and point and get them to “total physical response” (TPR) – ie leap and hop around ooking out hideous Spanglish or gutter Puerto Rjcan, breaking school property, texting on cell phones, and sneaking out or incessantly begging to be allowed to shuffle about the hallways until they get into trouble.

    So, I see the possibility of some poor suffering teacher who, forbidden to actually teach and demand results/hold standards…

    Pulling this gem out of the magical mystery bag of glitter and unicorn educababbling bull that passes for “teaching” these days.

    I’m telling you – teaching is a no win, double bind, utterly pointless waste of time, effort, and money these days. Stay as far away as possible in terms of “the profession”…

  • Anonymous

    3 — Anonymous wrote at 10:32 PM on November 23:

    Now we have informal use of Spanish. Later will come demands that it be an ‘official language’. Once that happens, regional governments and courts of law will be required by statute to provide redundant services, publications and signs in both English and Spanish, at enormous cost…

    As a Canadian who has lived both before and after the passage of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s Official Languages Act of 1969, I can confirm that EVERYTHING in #3 Anon’s post about bilingualism is accurate. Every single point in that post about the Spanish language in USA, has over the past 40 years already happened with the French language in Canada. This is why every box of Corn Flakes from Newfoundland to British Columbia, is printed “Corn Flakes/Flocons de Mais.” Having to print everything in both “official” tongues requires the type-size on much packaging to be so tiny that my 50-year-old eyes can’t read it even with my glasses on! I now keep a magnifying glass hanging on the wall in my kitchen so I can read instructions and ingredients when cooking. This is not fun.

    What’s more, the federal two-languages regulations persist despite the fact that French is spoken routinely in only ONE of the country’s 10 provinces and three territories; outside of Quebec, French is as rare in Canada as it is in the US. There are no more French speakers in Alberta or Saskatchewan than there are in Kansas or Kentucky. But that doesn’t matter, as our FedGov is still committed to the Official Languages Act despite 40+ years of failure to achieve the nation-wide bilingualism that Trudeau envisioned back in the flower-power ’60s. And nothing short of the complete disintegration of the Canadian nation (a not-impossible scenario, BTW) will ever get that “Flocons de Mais” off my cereal box.

    My American friends, you have been warned. Oppose the push for “Espanol Officiale” everywhere it crops up. As #3 Anon says, “Spanish use should be nipped in the bud.” Please don’t repeat Canada’s mistake.

  • Question Diversity

    7 Anonymous:

    http://bigthink.com/ideas/41004

    Look at the third pic. I was kinda shocked to see how relatively isolated and niche is the French language in Canada. Canada is officially bilingual because of that little bitty section?

    I don’t want official bilingualism in the United States, but just based on pure geography, Spanish has a better case here to be an official second language than French does in Canada.

  • Anonymous

    Reply to Question Diversity;

    Thank you for that interesting map. Believe me language issues can be even more divisive then racial ones. In Canada there are only 50,000 UNILINGUAL FRENCH-SPEAKERS OUTSIDE QUEBEC. (Please see the book LAMENT FOR A NOTION: The life and death of Canada’s bilingual dream). Socially and spatially English and French speakers are being further moved apart every single year. Canada’s language laws serve this very small group and are just window dressing by the federal government to try to make it look as though the “two solitudes” are one happy group. Nothing is less true. It also shows how just a small group of organized activists playing an identity issue and victimization card can achieve results out of all proportion to their numbers. You are also right about Spanish in the USA. It could become a real problem down the road. Americans will probably be spoonfed the same nonsense Canadians were, 40-50 years ago. I hope they will be smarter then we were. “Bilingualism” is a cancer. Avoid at all costs. I cannot overstate this.

  • Anonymous

    Why aren’t these High School kids learning French, German, and Italian?

    The “Spanish” that the Mexican invaders speak is a real chop job of true Spanish, so why bother learning it?

    Pledging Allegiance to another country is treason. These White American students are far more intelligent than their Teachers, who either don’t know, or more likely, don’t care about that.

    There is a web site called “Pro-English” which seeks to make English the National language. Visit it, and learn more about it.

  • Anonymous

    #4: For years, American School children used the Roman salute, or staight arm salute, when saying the Pledge to the American flag. It was only changed to over the heart when countries like Italy and Germany used the same type of salute, or greeting, when the Fascists and Nazis came to power.

  • Fr. John+

    Anon. #3

    I said, on this forum and other places starting more than ten years ago, that the speaking of Spanish, outside of classrooms where one is learning the language, should be viewed as a traitorous act. Perhaps now they will see I was correct in my assumptions… and that, after twenty years as an ESL teacher, who teaches FOREIGNERS no more, the language of my ancestors.

  • sheila

    Oh yeah…hope you all had a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

    The last of the white race holidays.

    Oh sure…it will be *targeted* for elimination when the time is right, after all why would all the peoples of other countries in the world wish to continue a tradition of celebrating the arrival and settlement in America of its first authentic White-Europeans?

    You know, those evil *white* oppressors of all the colored peoples of the earth?

    If the White Man loses this holiday then it will be…

    nothing less than he deserves!

  • Calvin John

    Pledging allegiance to a foreign country is treason. Singing its national anthem? Depends. I would have a problem with “Deutchland uber alles”, but would consider it rude for a foreigner NOT to join his British fellows and wish God’s blessing upon their queen.

    If kids learning Spanish are clueless as to what the Mexican anthem means, they haven’t learned it.

    First Stanza (English translation:

    Let gird, oh Fatherland!, your brow with olive

    by the divine archangel of peace,

    for in heaven your eternal destiny

    was written by the finger of God.

    But if some enemy outlander should dare

    to profane your ground with his sole,

    think, oh beloved Fatherland!, that heaven

    has given you a soldier in every son.

    So question: How many Mexicans are taught that Texas is part of Mexico?

    The chorus continues:

    Mexicans, at the cry of war,

    make ready the steel and the bridle,

    and may the Earth tremble at its centers

    at the resounding roar of the cannon.

    and may the Earth tremble at its centers

    at the resounding roar of the cannon!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen the Mexican national anthem sung during a boxing match (on U.S. soil). The salute looked like some sort of gang salute. The fervor of the audience was foreboding. The U.S national anthem was played as well, but almost no one stood up, and no one really knew the words.

  • Mr.White

    11 — Anonymous wrote at 2:34 PM on November 25:

    #4: For years, American School children used the Roman salute, or staight arm salute, when saying the Pledge to the American flag. It was only changed to over the heart when countries like Italy and Germany used the same type of salute, or greeting, when the Fascists and Nazis came to power.

    ———————————————————-

    And Mexico has had 70 years to make a similiar “change” and yet they haven’t! I wonder if it has something to do with La Raza? Interesting…..

  • Binky

    Commentator at #3 is right:

    In Canada, quite a few good-paying government – i.e. the best – jobs are reserved for English-French bilinguals – let me declare now that I, an Anglo-Irishman who has lived in Algeria and Cameroun, speak colloquial French well enough for most ordinary-encountered social-interaction-situations … but probably NOT quite enough to squeeze into the now-existing Canadian official-political-educational-bureaucratic class, even if I were 40 years younger.

    The WORST news is that bilingual education, as it exist at present, in Texas / Arizona / New Mexico / California – at very its worst – turns out messed-up and ill-educated kids who are considered ‘semilingual’; they speak awful messy slangy street-honed sub-English and horribly bad street-honed semiliterate Mexican slangy sub-Spanish.

    If it were actually a requirement that all public employees in the border states ought to pass tests in English and Spanish, that would not be at all unfair, assuming that the testing was 100% clear and honest and neutral.

    In all honesty, Spanish IS a lovely language and the one which the U.S. Air Force considers the #1 easiest for English-speakers to learn BUT this has eff-all to do with reciting the Mexican Oath of Allegiance or singing the Mexican national anthem.

    Here I might add that I can sing the Bulgarian national anthem in Bulgarian and the Japanese national anthem in Japanese, both with appropriate and decent respect, but I am NEITHER Bulgarian nor Japanese.

  • Jacques Cartier

    To #7,#8,#9:

    Here we go again with that same ol’ fallacious comparison with Canada here. Yeah, like the French-Canadians in Quebec would rather not be independent from Canada and not have to live in a bilingual country either? And you complain about bilingualism, even though you admit that hardly anybody speaks French outside the Quebec province anyway? Wow, cry me a river !

    First of all, Canada has a sparse population of only 31 million people. Mother tongue statistics are: 18 million English, 7 million French, and 6 million non-official: http://goo.gl/TPRk6. My, looks like someone completely forgot about all these other 6 million households, eh ?

    Second of all, the French-Canadians are native WHITESof Canada, not mestizos from another country. Do you even get the difference ? Moreover, they CLAIMED and COLONIZED Canada first, long before the British won the Seven Years’ War in 1763 (check “New France” (1534-1763): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_France ).

    Sorry guys, but unlike the US, Canada has been a de facto bilingual nation ever since the French-majority territories of Quebec and Acadia (New Brunswick/Nova Scotia) were seized by the Brits long ago. That’s why near a quarter of Canada’s overall population is still fully Francophone to this day. They didn’t invade Canada illegally by the millions like Mexicans and other non-Whites have done in the US for the last 40 years. The French settled in Canada before it even existed, and it was they who were invaded ! You forced your fellow Whites to be part of Canada when they had already established their own colonies outside the English ones. Don’t pretend to Americans that Quebecers have been a scourge on Canadian society when 85% still live in Quebec, and you can’t tell them apart from other White Canadians. You reap what you sow, and it’s way too late to whine about bilingualism now because your myopic eyes can’t read the English print on a cereal box (what a joke !). You’re barking at the wrong tree here, and you’d better start worrying about the millions of non-Whites from Africa and Asia who have already been allowed to flood Canada from coast to coast by your FEDERAL government. And please, stop adding insult to injury by comparing my pioneer French ancestors to hispanic mestizos already…Merci beaucoup !

  • Anonymous

    I remember LA about 15 years ago. At that time it was bilingual. I went there yesterday, reluctantly, and it is much different now. It is monolingual. In certain areas, everything is in Spanish. There used to be bilingual signs. Now you only see Spanish. They don’t even make an effort anymore.

  • Anonymous

    To Jacques Cartier:

    Quebec can separate at any time. With my blessings.

    By the way, the French didn’t ‘colonize Canada’. They colonized a narrow strip of land along the St. Lawrence river valley. There were only 60,000 French-Canadians at the time of the conquest. You say Canada has a sparse population of 31 million (actually 34 million). I would think that 60,000 was a lot sparser then 34 million.

  • Mr.White

    To #18:

    Well said! No one who equates the situation in Canada to the mestizo illegal invasion transforming America, fully appreciates how serious the situation is.

    In America, we are being forced to accept Spanish, in order to accommodate millions of invading mestizos, who believe they have some territorial claim to parts of our country. What’s worse, is our laws on illegal immigration are being completely ignored by the powers that be, in order to carry this dispossession against Whites.

    Count your blessings! I will take French speaking WHITES any day of the week! In fact, I pray that the French invade Los Angeles in order to liberate us! The French can take other run at the Mexicans!

  • Anonymous

    The six million “households” (actually its people) from non-official languages that #18 refers to are just immigrants who don’t speak French or English as a mother tongue. In Canada where ANYTHING to do with language is a poisoned, super-charged issue, they are called “Allophones”. That could mean an Italian who came to Canada in 1949 as a four year old child, some 62 years ago, and can speak perfect English. French speakers are called “Francophones” and English speakers are called “Anglophones”. Almost all “Allophones” eventually become “Anglophones”. The term “Anglophone” in Canada covers huge numbers of people not of British origin, or even European. This is not true at all for “Francophones” though. Sound confusing? Welcome to the crazy world of Canada and bilingualism. I also worry very, very much, about the millions of non-whites from Africa and Asia that have flooded Canada from coast to coast. That’s why unlike Francophones in Quebec I never voted for Francophone Quebecker Pierre Trudeau and his liberal party. French-Canadians are in such denial about their role in creating so much of the misery in Canada today. That is probably one more reason why so many ordinary Canadians would be delighted if Quebec were to leave Confederation, although you will never hear this in academia, from the political class or in the MSM. Sound familiar to Americans? Since when has the views of the “man on the street” ever mattered to the controlling elites?

  • François

    @ Jacques Cartier (18):

    Thank you very much, dear friend, for trying to educate those Canadians.

    They say they want us to separate, but in 1995, they plotted to make 30 000 people did not have the legal right to vote, actually do so. They used tactics such as providing false papers to Ontarian students, among other things… Some dead people actually “voted”, so to speak.

  • François

    @ Anonymous:

    “They colonized a narrow strip of land along the St. Lawrence river valley…”.

    Not true. They explored and established a presence in a much, much larger area than that.

    Why do you think American cities such as Detroit and Desmoines have French names?

    Check the facts.

  • François

    @ Mr White (21):

    Thank you very much, Sir. The common European ancestry and culture we share, are greater than our differences.

    Take care!

  • Anonymous

    “Why do you think American cities like Detroit and Desmoines have French names”.

    Building a small fur trading hut and perhaps a very small fort is hardly founding or creating a large great city sir.

    “They say they want us to separate, but in 1995 they plotted to make 30,000 people who did not have the legal right to vote, actually do so.”

    “They” were the federal government. Not the ordinary people of Canada. You seem incapable of making the distinction. In America, it was the “theys” who passed the immigration act of 1965, to turn whites into a minority. It wasn’t ordinary Americans who did it. Had it been up to them, it never would have happened. By the way, the “theys” in 1995 were French-Canadian Jean Chretien from Quebec and his liberal government.

    What we should have next time is a double referendum as they did in former Czechoslovakia. If either group votes to separate from the other, the union is dissolved. Getting rid of Slovakia was the best thing the Czechs ever did.

    To Mr. White; Between 1840 and 1930, 900,000 French-Canadians settled in New England. But unlike the few thousands who moved to Ontario and Manitoba they just became regular Americans. They didn’t demand French “rights” to schools, funding, laws and bilingualism. On the whole, America has been very lucky on the language front so far. So far.

  • convairXF92

    I’ve been involved with Gilbert & Sullivan operetta–in the United States–for a number of years. At the start of every performance, the audience is asked to rise and sing “God Save the Queen”. (The words are customarily printed on the back of the paper programs.)

    At the Ukrainian Orthodox church I occasionally attend, at the end of liturgy, everyone kneels and bows heads while the choir sings a Ukrainian patriotic song. (The only other time during Liturgy when one kneels and puts one’s head down is during the consecration of Communion.) This custom is recent, and began immediately at the birth of Ukrainian independence in 1991. I stand in strong support of this as it expresses thankfulness for liberation from Communism, and would hope that non-Ukrainians visiting the parish would approve similarly.

  • Contrarian

    Texas doesn’t have bilingual education except for the first few grades. The aim is to get young students up to par so they can transfer to all English classes as early as possible.

    This limited use of bilingual education was really a bone to race hustling Mexican First lobby pressure. They thought it would open up a lot of jobs for Mexican teachers. Didn’t work out that way tho.

    Of course, bilingual ed. is a failure since the kids stay in their native language during the very years when English would be easier to learn.

    I think that the incident in this article happened in a regular high school foreign language class. The teacher should be fired but since the school officials are likely 98 percent Mexican-American and 100 percent loyal to Mexico and La Raza, nothing will happen to her.

    I question the need for whites to learn Spanish at all. For sure in south Texas it is an asset in retail type jobs which are near minimum wage. There are exceptions like “lawyering” etc where knowing Spanish is needed.

    Even in the Border Patrol, Spanish is not needed except for a few phrases and danger words etc. Oh, they will fuss and fume that Spanish is vital but it’s really a wedge issue used by the corrupt Customs and Border Protection (CBP)so they can legitimately hire more Mexicans as BP Agents.

    The US is not an official bi-lingual country like Canada. I know of only one small town, in Texas, that conducted city business in Spanish. I’m not sure that lasted too long.

    I watch a lot of Mexican TV and some of the biggest advertisers are those pushing programs for learning English. And, almost without fail, entertainment segments include reviews of the latest Hollywood movies.

  • Anonymous

    Kind of ironic Jesse Ventura refuses to do the American Pledge of Allegiance anymore. Maybe he has a point also.

  • Anonymous

    Previous commenter Anon #7 here, and I’d just like to clear something up, as this thread about Spanish in the US is in danger of being hijacked to the subject of French-v-English in Canada like the thread about a month ago got hijacked to Serbs-v-Croats in the Balkans, which caused the AR Moderator to step in and close it.

    So before that happens, I’d like to say that my point was only about the difficulties of accommodating two official languages/cultures — ANY two — within the confines of one country. I could instead have used Belgium as an example, but I know the Canadian situation much better. I was NOT comparing French-Canadians to Mexicans in the US. I can’t speak for commenters #8 and #9, but from what I infer, they weren’t either. I’m aware the immivasion from Mexico and points south is a far more grave threat. The possible officializing of Espanol within the US is but ONE of the problems hispanics present to the American Southwest and beyond.

    Just because I find Trudeau’s dual languages policy a problem does not mean I don’t respect French-Canadians. But I approach political relationships the same way as I approach personal relationships: relationship should either work well or not at all. If it’s not satisfying both partners, maybe it’s time for them to go their separate ways. And if Anglo and Franco Canadians ever do decide some sort of separation agreement would be better, then I’m sure we will resolve the issue by sitting down at bargaining tables and negotiating like civilized white people — and not by shooting at each other in streets or tossing bombs (which a couple of decades down the road may prove the only way to resolve Anglo-Latino problems in the US).

  • Alexandra

    I had Spanish classes from grades 7-12. I entered 7th grade in 1985, and they were telling us back then that Spanish was one of America’s official languages…I remember being told that Spanish was the second most common language spoken here.

    (I also remember my high school Spanish teacher warning about being a pedestrian in Mexico…drivers apparently like to come right at you.)

  • AlmostMusicPhD

    convairXF92, modified rapture! I would LOVE to sing both anthems, as they are of people I consider my (Ethnic and religious) BRETHREN.

    NOT SO with Hispanics, and that is the point of this post. A FOREIGN USURPING CULTURE is what the Hispanic presence is. I don’t see Castillians, or other White Christians from Espana when I see Hispanics. I see a diminutive, passive-aggressive INDIAN tribe intent on ‘reconquista’ – and using all the skills, intelligence, materials, taxes, and gadgetry the WHITE MAN has bestowed on him, for at least the last fifty years!

    TO say ‘californication of America’ doesn’t even BEGIN to express my disgust over this charade of ‘equal rights.’ For it is nothing of the kind.

    Fr. John is right. Speaking Spanish (especially if you are not ‘racially White’ should be considered as repugnant as hearing German in 1940’s France.

    For it’s the same thing. A WAR.

  • Justn Travis

    Public schools are not allowed to require a child to recite the US pledge of allegiance, or sing the Star Spangled Banner, so they certainly can’t force your child to recite Mexico’s pledge.

    But they will try to bully you into it.

  • Stephanie “Tex”

    Wow! Incredible! In high school French class, we had to recite the pledge to the USA in French. It asserted our patriotism, practiced our French, and reinforced how common words could be powerful. Too bad this student didn’t have the same experience. Shame on the teacher!