Racism Ain’t No “American Value”

April 20th, 2008 · 2 Comments

The Arizona legislature is considering legislation that would pull state funding from education programs that “denigrate American values and the teachings of Western civilization,” reports the East Valley Tribune. And I quote:

SB1108 also would bar teaching practices that “overtly encourage dissent” from those values, including democracy, capitalism, pluralism and religious tolerance. Schools would have to surrender teaching materials to the state superintendent of public instruction, who could withhold state aid from districts that broke the law.

Another section of the bill would bar public schools, community colleges and universities from allowing organizations to operate on campus if it is “based in whole or in part on race-based criteria,” a provision Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said is aimed at MEChA, the Moviemiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, a student group.

Em-phas-is mine. Firstly, “capitalism” is a value? But second of all, this fails the First Amendment on so many levels I lose count. Hey, how about academic freedom? Debate? Inquiry? The socratic method? Are those not, er, “Western values”?

Hmm. Maybe this is just a nativist ploy to punish Chicana/os, Mexican-Americans and Mexican immigrants for creating more culturally relevant educational programming. Hey, whaddaya know!

The legislation appears aimed largely at the Tucson Unified School District, whose “Raza Studies” program has annoyed some people. Tucson resident Laura Leighton read lawmakers sections of some books used in classrooms which she said promote hatred.

And:

Tucson school officials have said the program under fire has helped Hispanic students improve their academic achievement by building pride and focusing on their cultural heritage.

But Pearce, who crafted the measure, said the program doesn’t stop there. He said taxpayers are funding “hate speech paid for by tax dollars.”

And Pearce said some of the teachings amount to “sedition” by suggesting that the current border between the United States and Mexico disappear, with Mexico – and Hispanics – taking over the American Southwest.

Leighton had specific problems with a text called “Occupied America,” a book touted by its publisher as examining Chicano history from the coming of the Spanish in 1519.

She read one line which said “kill the gringos.” Another talked about a plan to take back the U.S. Southwest and deport all the Europeans.

A closer look, at the book, though, showed the line about the gringos was a quote from someone referenced. And that the plan to take back the area was not urging current action but instead detailing one pushed by Mexico in 1915.

Again, my emphazziz. I guess I could indulge a desire to cast this misreading of the book in ways that disparage the literacy levels of the legislator and his aggrieved constituent. But a) illiteracy is not a sign of low intelligence, but a sign that the education system failed the illiterate; and b) Pearce and
Leighton are deliberately distorting the text book’s contents to play off racist fears. Put plainly, these bastards are lying.

Hat-tip from my buddy Max, who is deeply troubled by this shit. He recommends contacting Russell Pearce directly to express appropriate levels of disgust.

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Tags: human rights

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Max Responds to SB1108 « mooreroom // Apr 20, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    [...] Wanderlost ← Racism Ain’t No “American Value” [...]

  • 2 Arizona Legislator tied to Neo-Nazis « mooreroom // Apr 23, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    [...] 2008 · No Comments Russell Pearce, the Arizona state representative who is pushing through a bill to destroy Mexican-American studies and Chicano studies programs in publicly funded schools and colleges has Neo-Nazis among his political allies. So reports Steven [...]