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Radio Chipstone: The Flag

BRLASFall2013-PERI-AmericanFlagImmigrantPhotos_LudovicBertron-750p.jpg
Ludovic Bertron
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A United States flag with the faces of immigrants, on Ellis Island.

If you've been paying attention to current events, it's pretty hard not to notice all the conversations surrounding our national anthem and our flag. In a country born from revolution, many Americans see our national symbols as sacred and take great offense when some speak against them or choose to remain silent. But, people have various perceptions of what it means to fly the flag in this country.

In this edition of Radio Chipstone, contributor Gianofer Fields talks to Mexican immigrant "Adela," who is currently applying for citizenship, about her connection to the American flag.

"Adela" has an education, is married to a U.S. citizen, came here legally with a visa, and speaks English. She considers herself to be "very privileged." Yet, even with this privilege, she says she can't quite get comfortable with Americans flying the flag.

"Every time that I'm walking an see a house that has a flag, for me that's a sign of hostility. [I sense that] the people inside the house are probably Republican, very conservative, very patriotic...I'd rather never go inside." she explains. 

For "Adela," the American flag has come to mean a call to assimilate. She knows she will need to renounce her Mexican citizenship in order to become an American citizen. Despite this, she hopes to keep elements of her Mexican culture after she becomes an American citizen, continuing her work with Latin youth.

"It is my responsibility...to still work with my people, but on this side of the border," says "Adela." "There's a lot of work to be done here, too."

Material culture contributor Gianofer Fields curates the Radio Chipstone series. The project is funded by the Chipstone Foundation, a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.