This photograph taken by Stanley J. Forman appears to show a young Caucasian man using the American Flag as an improvised weapon. He forcefully cocks a pole bearing an American flag as if it were a spear in an attempt to impale it through someone. His target, an African American dressed in a formal suit, struggles to free himself from another man holding him firmly against his will. He holds the victim as the assailant directs the distinct red, white and blue American flag into the bull’s-eye. Bystanders pause in time and space to witness the occurrence. They watch nonchalantly. Some watch with approval; others watch with shock.
The flag is positioned horizontally. The red and white stripes clearly stand out. I also feel that there is an irony associated with the photograph; the man is using the American flag as a weapon to attack an African man while everyone in the crowd is white. In most pictures featuring the American flag, it symbolizes all that was magnificent about the United States: justice, freedom, unity, tolerance, and equality. However, none of these values represented in the flag are evident in the image captured by Forman. When one glances at the image, there tends to be a feeling that the event occurred during the Civil Rights Movement and happened somewhere in the South because racism and segregation are generally regarded as a Southern phenomenon.
The photographer of the image is Stanley J. Forman, who once works for the Boston Herald, has captured many famous images that still resonate around the world. However, this image he captured on the plaza outside of Boston’s City Hall reveals the deep-seated tension between the whites and blacks in America.
This tension is a result of years of segregation both in busing and schooling. According to Weinbaum, ___________, Massachusetts enacted the Racial Imbalance Act in an attempt to prevent schools to segregate between the blacks and whites. In addition, the act required schools in the Boston district to have no more than 50% whites (Weinbaum). Nonetheless, the Bostonians ignored the act. The act seemed like it never existed. In 1974, Judge Wendell Arthur Garrity Jr. of the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts ruled that the schools were unconstitutionally segregated (Weinbaum). He ordered Boston to desegregate in all public schools by forced busing. This new plan forced students from white neighborhoods to go to school in black neighborhoods, and forced students black neighborhoods to go to school in predominantly white neighborhoods to balance the racial diversity. However, this ruling was highly unpopular among the White Americans who were still in favor of segregation. A series of protests began to follow soon after the desegregation orders, but the most significant protest would be captured in a series of snapshots.
In the chilly morning of April 5, 1976, many white American teenagers boycotted their classes to go with their parents to protest against the desegregation ruling at...