Rift in Arizona as Latino Class Is Found Illegal
Ooohhhh this article makes me mad. Very mad. And it reminds me of my privilege, living in liberal Santa Cruz. Oh, where to start.
First, let’s take a look at the title. A Latino class is found to be illegal. I am so damn tired of hearing the words Latino and illegal in the same sentence. If existing in the US, speaking Spanish, practicing and learning about our culture is illegal, and yet anyone can buy a gun legally (resulting in things like the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords today), I’m not so sure the law means as much to me anymore.
Summary: this article is about a Latino literature class in Arizona that has sparked debate about what is allowed to be taught in high schools. The class is now being forced to completely revamp itself into something “legal.” You get to interpret what that means.
Teaching methods in the classes are sometimes unconventional, with instructors scrutinizing hip-hop lyrics and sprinkling their lessons with Spanish words.
“It’s propagandizing and brainwashing that’s going on there,” Tom Horne, Arizona’s newly elected attorney general, said this week as he officially declared the program in violation of a state law that went into effect on Jan. 1.
Mr. Huppenthal sat in on one of the Tucson classes taught by Mr. Acosta, and said that Benjamin Franklin was vilified as a racist (well, news buddy, the dude owned slaves) and a photo of Che Guevara was hanging on the wall. Besides that, he said, Tucson’s test scores are among the lowest in the state, indicating that the district needs to focus on the fundamentals.
To buttress his critique of the Tucson program, Mr. Horne read from texts used in various classes, which in one instance referred to white people as “gringos” and described privilege as being related to the color of a person’s skin, hair and eyes (Oh. my. god. Are you saying that RACE has something to do with privilege and the division of power in our society? What a NEW and crazy idea! And, don’t tell me you are saying that it might be particularly tied to whiteness!)
He also cited the testimony of five teachers who described the program as giving a skewed view of history and promoting racial discord. That’s ’cause there is racial discord.
Also prohibited is any promotion of resentment toward a race. Programs that are primarily for one race or that advocate ethnic solidarity instead of individuality are also outlawed.
The state, which includes some Mexican-American studies in its official curriculum, sees the classes as less about educating students than creating future activists.
The Arizona law warns school districts that they stand to lose 10 percent of their state education funds if their ethnic-studies programs are found not to comply with new state standards. Programs that promote the overthrow of the United States government are explicitly banned, and that includes the suggestion that portions of the Southwest that were once part of Mexico should be returned to that country.
“On the first day of school, they are no different than students in any other classes,” said John Ward, who briefly taught a Latino history class in Tucson. “But once they get told day after day that they are being victimized, they become angry and resentful.” Ya, when they learn the state of things these days, a lot of people become angry.
“Who are the true Americans here — those embracing our inalienable rights or those trying to diminish them?”
Sorry for all the sarcastic comments, but I can’t hold back in this case. What’s crazy for me is that the things described in the class room are so common place within the academic setting that I live in. They are in fact accepted. Duh, there are things to be resentful about. Duh there’s racial discord. DUH power and privilege are tied to race. It all reminds me of how lucky I am to be able to learn this without being called illegal.