Dutch Ban Display of Dutch Flag

Via Volok:

At the Groene Hart Lycee [an elite high school] in the city of Alphen-on-the-Rhine, the three colors that are the Dutch flag have been looked upon as evil for the past year. No symbols that identify specific groups are considered acceptable and any student may be permanently expelled for coming to school with flags on their clothing, shoes or briefcases. Earlier this week readers reacted with fury to another school in IJsselstein, this school forbids any display of flags because this would provoke students of other nationalities.

I find this amazing.  Apparently, the Dutch flag is considered by some to be insulting to non-Dutch.  A couple of reactions:

  • The Dutch have more to be proud of than any other nation.  The Dutch in many ways led the whole world, or at least the western portion of it, into the modern world of free, secular, capitalist society.  What does it say that they are rejecting this heritage?
  • Somehow in the US we have managed to avoid a connection between the flag and nativism.  For all but a few hard-core America haters, the flag represents the melting pot, not an individual ethnic background.
  • How are we ever going to get out of this culture of hyper-sensitivity, where words and flags have to be banned?  People are suing others every day for huge damages over mere words or gestures or symbols. 

UPDATE:  Volokh has another good post on hyper-sensitivity to mere words in this good post on academic freedom.