I’m too upset to write my own post, so I’ll let the AP do it for me! (FYI as of the posting of this piece, Governor Jan Brewer has neither signed nor vetoed this bill.)
[HB 2281] targets an ethnic studies program from a Tucson school district. It would prohibit classes that advocate ethnic solidarity, that are designed primarily for students of a particular race or that promote resentment toward a certain ethnic group.
The Tucson Unified School District program allows students to take history and literature courses that include information about the influence of a particular ethnic group.
…Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Republican Tom Horne — who’s running for attorney general — has been trying for years to pass a bill limiting the program after learning that Hispanic civil rights activist Dolores Huerta told Tucson high school students in 2006 that “Republicans hate Latinos.”
Horne said he believes the district’s 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.
“A fundamental American value is that we’re all individuals, and what race we were born into is not relevant,” Horne said.
What I like about this scenario is that Mr. Horne, a white Republican, is pissed off that a particular school district is teaching classes that challenge his racial superiority, and even once had a speaker who criticized Republicans! Being obviously disinterested, Mr. Horne, a white Republican, lobbies aggressively for a bill that will ban ethnic studies for the whole state, just to shut down a particular program that he doesn’t like because it challenges his prejudices. But his not liking it had nothing to do with this sensible, racially-neutral law, I’m sure. You know what else I’m sure of? That this has nothing to do with Mr. Horne’s search for more personal power as he runs for AZ attorney general. He is definitely not pandering to the obviously large segment of the white population who is racist.
What’s weird(ish) here is that the language of HB2281 isn’t, on the surface, too controversial. The bill bans classes that:
• Promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.
• Promote resentment toward a race or class of people.
• Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.
• Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of treating pupils as individuals
But apparently Arizonans in the know are well aware of Mr. Horne’s true intentions. Something to do with comments about ethnic studies promoting “ethnic chauvinism” or that Mexican-American studies at Tuscon Unified School District promote “racial warfare“. Also, it seems Mr. Horne has made it rather clear that he is punishing TUSD for “a defiant finger gesture“, i.e. continuing to have Mexican-American studies inspite of the fact that Mr. Horne has a personal problem with such classes. You know what I see here? Good governance.
So what we’ve learned here is:
A) Arizona is particularly good at re-proving that race is “not relevant”. To anything.
A.1) …and therefore Arizona wins the post-racial prize.
B) White makes right.
B.1) History focusing on the accomplishments of whites is nonracial and truly American.
B.2) History focusing on the accomplishments of latin@s promotes racial resentment and anti-Americanism.
Global Comment puts it this way:
Observing Arizona right now is like looking into America’s future after the next terrorist attack, should reactionary parties prevail and the police state completely take over. The state possesses a radically right-wing agenda that is openly hostile to gays, women, and ethnic minorities. A rogue sheriff has set up a camp tent city for prisoners, leaving them to bake in 110 °F weather. Police are permitted to harass citizens on the suspicion they might be illegal immigrants, even though the governor herself admitted she has no idea what an illegal immigrant looks like.
Take a gander at the Tuscon Civil Rights Coalition call to action.
Oh, and here’s two more post-racial actions going on in Arizona government. SB 1097 would establish mechanisms for denying school funding for non-citizen students. Also, “The Arizona Department of Education recently began telling school districts that teachers whose spoken English it deems to be heavily accented or ungrammatical must be removed from classes for students still learning English.” Guess who’s in charge of the DOE!