Arizona gov. signs bill targeting ethnic studies
PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill targeting a school district's ethnic studies program on Tuesday, hours after a report by United Nations human rights experts condemned the measure.
State schools chief Tom Horne, who has pushed the measure for years, said a Tucson school district program promotes "ethnic chauvinism" and racial resentment toward whites while segregating students by race.
"It's just like the old South, and it's long past time that we prohibited it," Horne said.
The measure prohibits classes that advocate ethnic solidarity, that are designed primarily for students of a particular race or that promote resentment toward a certain ethnic group. It also prohibits classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.
The Tucson Unified School District program offers specialized courses in African-American, Mexican-American and Native-American studies that focus on history and literature and include information about the influence of a particular ethnic group.
For example, in the Mexican-American Studies program, an American history course explores the role of Hispanics in the Vietnam War, and a literature course emphasizes Latino authors.
Horne said he believes the Mexican-American studies program teaches Latino students that they are oppressed by white people. Public schools should not be encouraging students to resent a particular race, he said.
Brewer's signature on the bill comes less than a month after she signed the nation's toughest crackdown on illegal immigration — a move that ignited international backlash amid charges the measure would encourage racial profiling of Hispanics.
A Republican running for attorney general, Horne has been trying to restrict the program ever since he learned that Hispanic civil rights activist Dolores Huerta in 2006 told students that "Republicans hate Latinos."
District officials said the program doesn't promote resentment, and they believe it would comply with the new law.
About 1,500 students at six high schools in the district are enrolled in the program. Elementary and middle school students also are exposed to the ethnic studies curriculum. The district is 56 percent Hispanic, with nearly 31,000 Latino students.
Sean Arce, director of the district's Mexican-American Studies program, said last month that students perform better in school if they see in the curriculum people who look like them.
"It's a highly engaging program that we have, and it's unfortunate that the state Legislature would go so far as to censor these classes," he said.
Six UN human rights experts released a statement earlier Tuesday expressing concern about the measure. All people have the right to learn about their own cultural and linguistic heritage, they said.
Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman didn't directly address the UN criticism, but said Brewer supports the bill's goal.
"The governor believes ... public school students 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," Senseman said.
The law doesn't prohibit classes that teach about the history of a particular ethnic group, as long as the course is open to all students and doesn't promote ethnic solidarity or resentment.
Arce could not immediately be reached after Brewer signed the bill late Tuesday.
I wonder if Jan Brewer will be banning European holidays, like Christmas, Easter, or St. Patrick's Day. Or how about banning classes on European history? After all, we are only Americans and to attach any affinities or studies of a group outside of the US promotes "ethnic chauvinism." No, you know the chances of the governor favoring something like that. By goddess, this country was 'discovered' by these totally non-descript heroes of a hue (i.e., their own) they pretend not to even notice (much in the same way the governor feigned opposition to racial profiling when passing an immigration bill that is going to target Latinos in her state). No racism there, but if you study Mexican-American culture, why you're anti-white and no different than the 'old South' (meaning, no different than the Klan or the Confederacy).
Imagine George Wallace arguing that civil rights was anti-white. That is basically what is being said here. It is not so hard to see why it took so long to get a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday recognized in this state. Regrettably, I think this is only going to get worse. The boycotts of Arizona are going to fail because several states, all in the South or Southwest, with Republican majorities, will begin copying Arizona and appealing to the party's more openly racist base. And these laws are only going to get more draconian. Today, it is 'reasonable suspicion', amended by reasonable suspicion after being detained (theoretically for anything [like a busted headlight, speeding, or anything that a cop could contrive on someone driving through his/her town or county]). Tomorrow, in say Texas or a Colorado, it will be anything, anytime, anywhere. And even if the Supreme Court rules against these internal passports for Latinos, they will pass new laws banning people from speaking Spanish, or just threaten to expel anyone from a country that coincidentally is a major exporter of drugs to the US (I would not be surprised to see them to try this under the guise of anti-terrorism).
These calumnies will not stop because there is an increasing majority of white people in the US who cannot accept our future of no longer dominating this country. Mexicans are the engine of population growth who will make that a reality in the next four decades. That is what drives this debate. No one mentioned anything about sovereign borders or illegal immigrants back in '80s when Reagan gave hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from Europe an amnesty. Pat Buchanan was remarkably silent about that issue. And credit needs to be given to Buchanan for being more honestly racist about his views. He says what most all teabaggers in this country feel about non-white immigration.
"If we had to take a million immigrants in, say Zulus, next year, or Englishmen, and put them up in Virginia, what group would be easier to assimilate and would cause less problems for the people of Virginia?" ("This Week With David Brinkley," 1/8/91)
"There is nothing wrong with us sitting down and arguing that issue that we are a European country." (Newsday, 11/15/92)I continue to find it paradoxical that the forces who are so opposed to 'big government' are such fanatics about big government, federal law, and its enforcement when the group does not look like them. Ah, but they are violating the law by being here illegally. Yes, some of them are. And let us look at illegal immigration historically in this country. Did not Santa Anna ban white settlers from immigrating into what would become Texas when they refused to give up their slaves, making them illegal immigrants inside of Mexico? I do not see anyone noting that historical fact when talking about the Alamo. And if the law is such a thing we must all follow or else, why is it that these same people talk about refusing to follow federal laws they disagree with? Where are the oath keepers for immigrants? I think we know the answer to that question.
“How is America committing suicide? Every way a nation can. The American majority is not reproducing itself. Its birthrate has been below replacement level for decades. Forty-five million of its young have been destroyed in the womb since Roe v. Wade, as Asian, African, and Latin American children come to inherit the estate the lost generation of American children never got to see…our minority population rose 2.4 million to exceed 100 million. Hispanics, 1 percent of the U.S. population in 1950, are now 14.4 percent. Since 2000, their numbers have soared 25 percent to 45 million. The U.S. Asian population grew by 24 percent since 2000, as the number of white kids of school age fell 4 percent. Half the children five and younger today are minority children….The Anglo population of California is down to 43 percent and falling fast. White folks are now a minority in Texas and New Mexico. In Arizona, Hispanics account for more than half the population under twenty. The America Southwest is returning to Mexico.” (Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed are Tearing America Apart, Pgs. 8-9, 2007)
No, as Pat mentioned, it has everything to do with race and ethnicity, because at the end of the day "our country" to American conservatives necessarily means a white country because non-whites do not vote their way to begin with (and they feel frightened and threatened by that prospect). It is the same fear that drove their brethren in the 19th century to try to ban Irish immigrants, and it was those sentiments behind the Immigration Act of 1924, which sought to reduce/eliminate immigration from non-Anglo countries. And if we do not watch ourselves, it will be the same sentiments that will drive future Timothy McVeighs and Nathan Bedford Forrest into 'action.' Do not think they have it in them? We lost more people in our Civil War than all of our other wars combined because the teabaggers of their time could not accept an election result that meant doom for their expansion of slavery into the Western territories (territories gained by military force in a war started by the US against Mexico). How some things never change.