Friday, May 14, 2010

Stressed and pondering the ban on ethnic studies...

Just when a bitch thought I couldn’t possibly be more stressed out…a certain Theo the sorta-beagle came up with a red and irritated skin tag on his leg that the vet says has to go.

Thus, Theo’s skin tag removal plus teeth cleaning (fuck it, once you knock him out you might as well get some shit done) both of which will happen this morning.

Lawd, give me strength.

Anyhoo…shall we?

Arizona has banned ethnic studies.  

Legislators passed and the Governor signed a bill that…well, the law prohibits the teaching of any classes that promote “the overthrow of the United States government,” “resentment toward a race or class of people,” “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group” or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”


My initial thought was that, when my grade school history class in Missouri taught a section on the Civil War, at least two of my fellow students spoke in favor of the cause of the Confederacy using phrases from our text book to make their case.  Makes a bitch wonder if that class would violate Arizona law...since it explored whether the armed revolt against the United States government that was the Civil War was just.

I’m just saying.


When asked what the fuck they were doing and why, the response has been 1) that “ethnic studies” classes promote ethnic solidarity over community integration and 2) “Public school pupils should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people,” (from the text of the bill).

So, teaching students that young people were attacked with water hoses in Southern cities during the Civil Rights movement when they protested segregation…which may result in black students realizing that there was a time in this nation’s history when those in power oppressed black people to maintain their social control…that kind of history is dangerous.

‘Twould be better to teach students that the South would have gradually done away with segregation but a bunch of socialist trouble makers came down and stirred up shit?

Or should students be taught that activists sang that they would like to give the world a Coke to keep it company and then, hearing that song, Southern segregationists were inspired to join hands and sing of the joy of tolerance – thus the nation was integrated?

This is such bullshit - the history of the United States is littered with the oppression of people of color.  Teach students the truth...that there were people here before this territory was "discovered", that the economy of this nation was built on the back of free slave labor and that we the people have come a long way but have a long way to go. 

The truth hurts...but it also gives us some shit to be proud of.


As to classes like Chicano History teaching racial solidarity…well, Gosh – why in the world would students of color need to be taught to be proud of their cultural history in Arizona?

Lawd, have mercy.

A bitch suspects that this law coming on top of the rancid immigration law is one more step in a master plan.   First, create a climate where even natural born people of color are seen as suspect.


Re-write history to remove any references to facts so that the next generation of Arizonans will believe that Arizona was settled by pilgrims from the Mayflower and that the Constitution was drafted in Phoenix while Native Americans looked on with appreciative joy and then celebrated the birth of a new nation by peacefully re-settling themselves far away ‘cause they wanted a change of scenery.


Pause…sip coffee…continue.

Or mayhap Arizona is in some sort of We're Rancid - Come Visit brand war with Virginia to win the title of #1 Travel Destination for bigots who fear all who are brown.



redneck liberal said...

Arizona is rebranding itself as Beck/Palin/Limbaugh's prototype for an American fascist state. Period.

Rileysdtr said...

That's actually an easy one - the Dearly Beloved is a teacher, and I have written many class and lesson plans over the years. "...students of all genders and ethnicities shall learn about the Hahnyaucks' travels to and within this country as part of their development as good citizens; along with how Hahnyauckian culture and traditions influenced the broad weft and weave of the American Tapestry. As part of their Final project, students shall research their own cultural heritage and present traditional foods for a classroom potluck, centered by the Haunyauk National Dish of fried eel testicles in cream sauce. Meets AZ ED code 11.a - 12.c.1; no special assistance required for LD/BD/EMH students."

Piece of cake. Or eel testicle. Whatever.

J said...

Last I heard, Texas was proposing the same or similar regarding the teaching and textbooks of history in schools.

In this capacity, I see and fear that history will (and is beginning to) repeat itself.

Intolerance and ignorance will do nothing but breed the same.

NancyP said...

The real test is in the implementation. Replace the title "Chicano Studies" with "Regional Studies", "regional" being defined as "Southwest history and cultures". Define this course as being targeted to all students. Then present a course focusing on Chicano, Native American, and "Anglo" cultures and their interactions, devoting approximately the same attention to each culture.

This could be defended as non-discriminatory, not intended to stir up emotions, as merely a course on Arizona history.

Then teach some of the contents of the former ethnic studies course.

Apply the same approach to literature.

SamWorking said...

I was over at Pam's House Blend, and one commentor brought something up that may turn out to be a solution.

Help all the POC get out of Arizona, annex Pima County into New Mexico, then build a wall around Arizona and let them get on with being their own little nation.

CeCe said...

I heard about this and I was hoping you'd do a post about it. Arizona is all kinds of fucked up.

It's becoming biblical in proportion! They are finding old classic ways of sucking. Everyone knows that when you don't know your history, you are doomed to repeat it. But perhaps that's what they want, seeing the particular history they don't want the kids to know.

Anonymous said...

They are just reaching for what is easy. Who knows why they feel they have to do all these things. Fact is, if it weren't for all these undoced workers there would be no America. They do jobs we don't want. I love the regional studies program idea. It is important that history is really taught. Not the lies and myths that people seem to want to hear in AZ. It is really hard to understand what they are doing. I believe in standing up for what is right but they have what is right confused with something else.

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