Feature

Sanitizing American history

Arizona has outlawed ethnic studies classes just weeks after enacting a law requiring people who are stopped by police to show proof of their immigration status, said Raul A. Reyes in The Christian Science Monitor.

Raul A. Reyes
The Christian Science Monitor

Arizona is targeting Latinos again, said Raul Reyes. Just weeks after enacting a law requiring people who are stopped by police to show proof of their immigration status, the state has now outlawed ethnic studies classes, such as the Mexican-American studies program offered in Tucson. A new law forbids courses “designed for students of a particular ethnic group,” on the grounds that such classes “promote resentment” toward white Americans, encourage “ethnic chauvinism,” and incite “the overthrow of the U.S. government.”

Yes, they’re serious. It’s just another blatant attempt to capitalize on white Arizonans’ resentment of Latinos. But it’s both absurd and impractical to ban any course that could promote class or racial resentment. To follow this logic, schools should not teach African-Americans about slavery, Asian-Americans about World War II internment camps, or Native Americans about this country’s ugly treatment of their ancestors. Pretending that white racism and “ethnic chauvinism” played no part in our nation’s history may please certain voters, but it’s demonstrably false. Why make it illegal to tell students the truth?

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