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Education, Immigration

Arizona: Now Attacking Immigrants and “Other” by Banning Books

I try my best to stay positive, keep up the vibes from Fantastic Friday and all that good stuff.  I really do.  And then I’m reminded that Arizona still exists.

They say that people on the East Coast are not as nice because the weather sucks, it’s cold, rainy and miserable in the winter.  That’s what they say at least.  So what’s Arizona’s excuse?  That the dry heat has shriveled up all of their empathy, tolerance and common sense?

This is the state that brought a boycott upon itself not once, but twice in the last 25 years.  First, for not recognizing MLK Day in the late 80s, and then…or now I should say, for the dalliance into more recent intolerance with the state’s controversial immigration law.  So, of course, when a headline pops up that reads “[XYZ State]’s Banned Mexican American Books,” it doesn’t take an algebra course to know that XYZ = Arizona.

Yes. Yes.  You read that correctly.  First the Tuscon School District “suspended” the Mexican American Studies (MAS) program.  Then they followed up by demanding that all materials used by the MAS program be removed from classrooms…including books.  It’s bad enough that students won’t be able to be taught about Mexican-American history, especially since it is their personal histories in so many instances.  But you really have to wonder how fearful these school administrators must be (and of what I might add), to not even allow the students the opportunity to read and learn on their own if they so please. Personally, I was particularly dismayed to see Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy Of The Oppressed on the list of “banned” books.

And then, of course, Arizona being Arizona, the story only got worse.  Some students protested this decision to “suspend” the MAS program and remove the books.  And they were punished for doing so.  That happens.  It’s not exactly fair, but when you participate in civil disobedience, sometimes you end up paying a price for doing so.  So what was the price that these brave students ended up paying?

Writing on the chalkboard?
Parent-teacher conferences?

No. No. No.  And No.

Instead, the story is that the Tuscon School District took to implementing the visions of Newt Gingrich

In a development typical of Arizona, the students who walked out on Thursday, protesting the elimination of the district’s Mexican American studies program, have – without a hearing – been directed to perform janitorial duties this Saturday

Digest that for a second……..

Ok….it kinda feels like someone who’s lactose intolerant eating a big bowl of ice cream.

The twisted irony of this entire situation is that those that need the MAS program and books the most….are the one’s that are banning them.



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