First came the state's radical, and some said discriminatory, new immigration bill. Now, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has banned the state's schools from teaching "ethnic studies" classes — courses that "advocate ethnic solidarity" instead of promoting community integration. The new bill's rather charged language also makes it illegal to teach "the overthrow of the United States government." Fifteen protesters were arrested while condemning the "outrageous" law. Is the bill required — or misguided? (Watch a CNN report about Arizona's controversial ban on ethnic studies)
This started with one peeved Republican: This bill is the product of one man's obsession with a single program, says Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post. Specifically, Republican state schools chief Tom Horne, who's running for attorney general, and the Mexican-American Studies program in the Tucson Unified School District. Students learn about "the role of Hispanics in the Vietnam War," and how "Arizona was once a part of Mexico." It's hardly "subversive stuff," but Horne thinks it teaches kids to hate his party. This debate "pretends to be about education but is all about politics."
"In Arizona, bad ethnic studies bill becomes law"
These courses promote Hispanic resentment: This is about stamping out racism, not promoting it, says Horne, quoted by the New York Daily News. The Tucson schools program teaches Latinos they are oppressed by white people. Public schools should not be funding something that promotes "ethnic chauvinism" and hatred of another race. "It's just like the old South, and it's long past time that we prohibited it."
"Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer at it again! Signs bill targeting ethnic studies"
Sorry, we can't rewrite American history: Almost everything in U.S. schools is taught through a "white EuroAmerican lens," says Maegan La Mamita Mala at VivirLatino.com. If this law's premise is upheld, then "classes across the country would have to be banned" wouldn't they? And like it or not, racial oppression is part of American history. "How exactly was the West or the Southwest won? Please turn to your history books."
"Arizona's Brewer keeps on moving to the white"