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Arizona Lawmakers Want Ethnic Studies Out of Classroom

Ethnic studies curriculum may be under siege in Arizona. Some state lawmakers want to pass a bill (SB 1108) preventing public schools, including community colleges and universities, from teaching lessons that "denigrate American values and the teachings of Western civilization." The backers oppose curriculum that "overtly encourages dissent" from democracy, capitalism, pluralism, and religious tolerance. Hm . . . not sure how you have a thriving democracy without dissent.

Tucson Unified District's Raza Studies sits at the center of this controversy. The bill's author, Republican State Representative Russell Pearce, calls the curriculum — which includes text book entries about a 1915 Mexico plan to reclaim the Southwest — "hate speech." Pearce has been known to call babies born in the US to foreigners "anchor babies" or "jackpot babies."

A temperate critique of Tucson's ethnic studies, as espoused by the National Review, maintains that Hispanic students do not benefit from an education predicated on their ethnic identity. Yet I think even this line of thinking does not require that the Hispanic perspective be stricken from Arizona academia. Instead it should be part of an inclusive, diverse, and very American education.

Some Arizonans view the bill and rhetoric as xenophobic. Do you agree, or do think ethnic studies could spawn hate or revolution?


Join The Conversation
brookrene brookrene 9 years
Sheriff Arpaio is awesome, I totally respect that man. Seeing as i lived in AZ for 6 years, I love it when the law actually treats criminals as they SHOULD be treated. Pink undies and all! Ha. As for the actual story at hand here, this guy is loony. I don't comprehend his way of thinking.
gitsie123 gitsie123 9 years
I heard the Arizona sheriff is pretty racist as well, I saw a 20/20 episode about him.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
I thought the redstate piece was interesting.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
It's so scary that people like this exist.
DCStar DCStar 9 years
As an American, I am proud to have the right to dissent any time I damn well please!
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 9 years
I went to the U of AZ in Tucson and had a FABULOUS poli Sci class about anarchy in politics. GREAT STUFF.
Littlelovebee Littlelovebee 9 years
Its amazing and incredibly sad when little things such as learning or celebrating your own culture or another culture can come under attack. Which is why I think people who believe that racism doesn't exist in the US are just delusional and ignorant.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
While he is extreme, he isn't alone in his thinking. Quite a few of the border states are seeing opinions like this rise to the forefront. The anchor baby term is used by just about everyone I know. Living in Texas my whole life I have seen first hand how that particular term got it's association. I think he has gone so extreme in his anger towards illegal immigration, that he is taking it out on all ethnic studies.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
Well if is talks like a dumba$$...
bellydancinmary bellydancinmary 9 years
Pearce also said that students groups like MeChA and the North African Group are racist. We aren't, all we are doing is bringing cultural awareness and the light of education to our communities.
bellydancinmary bellydancinmary 9 years
MissBecBec, I live in Tucson. I'm voting no on this bill. All the ethnic clubs and the ethnic studies departments at Pima are trying raise awareness of this issue to the students on our campuses. My sister at the U of A doesn't think this will pass, but with the way things are going here (towards being culturally tolerant), that possibility is looming ahead. Remember when everyone thought Prop 200 wouldn't pass...I don't think we should have the same opinion now.
k-squared k-squared 9 years
*some people* sorry, lol.
k-squared k-squared 9 years
American culture has and probably always will be a cultural melting pot. It makes me sad that people today, especially lawmakers, are still this prejudiced.
stephley stephley 9 years
You don't even want to think about that Em.
em113 em113 9 years
I'm actually nauseous from reading about this guy. There's ignorance and then there's IGNORANCE. How do people like this get into positions of power?
MissBecBec MissBecBec 9 years
Very xenophobic. And as a student in Arizona myself I must say that I have seen this kind of thinking before, from elementary school all the way up to the colleges. In general, I don't think Arizona is a very culturally tolerant state, at least from my experiences. I'm curious to read opinions from anyone having spent time in this state, maybe it's just been the areas of Arizona that I've lived in.
stiletta stiletta 9 years
I agree Kim, strange is right.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
well really isn't math all that's necessary? History and science and all that other unimportant stuff can be found on the internet... they can study it on their own time (that's sarcasm in case anyone missed it)... this guy sounds.... strange is the nicest word I can think of.
stephley stephley 9 years
uh-oh Kramp, I can't believe that last bit's gonna go unassaulted all day! I think UnDave's out with the kids right now... The language in that bill is ambiguous enough that they could use it to block teaching just about everything except math.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Well apparently (Ethnic Studies) is quite the ambiguous term. What exactly are they studying? First of all the popularity of having ethnic studies in the first place was born from Americas standard of presenting a very generalized watered down approach to U.S. History from a clearly European perspective. Flowered with all the wholesomeness of hard working citizens, trails blazed with the blood of fallen heroes etc. Creating a need from respective ethnic perspectives to present the opposite extreme. However, here in lies the problem we've got extremes trying to counter balance a generality that lies by omission with exaggerations of their own. My oh my what a tangled web we weave. I don’t think ethnic studies should be removed. The respective Administrations simply need to make better choices in text books and make sure that their instructors are focused on imparting information not grooming a particular ideology.
krampalicious krampalicious 9 years
hooray for racist patriarchal oppression! i bet he's one of those people who's like, "why can't we have caucasian or men's studies classes?" because it's all caucasian men's studies in the first place.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
This guy sounds like a crackpot!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I agree, it should be part of an inclusive study of history, particularly since it's so closely tied to the history of the area. When I was in elementary school, we learned a lot about local history. Do I use it much now? No. Was it interesting? Yes.
BloodyFuFu BloodyFuFu 9 years
Wow! It amazes me how some people really seem to think that we're better off learning less. That just scares me. It bring to mind a sweatshirt my husband has that says "Free thinkers are dangerous".
Taadie Taadie 9 years
This bill sounds a little knee-jerk. This country was built on dissent. But if he wanted to start a bill that focused on making sure that public schools taught a more inclusive and diverse history instead of making it illegal to teach Hispanic history unless it fits the vague and very subjective guidelines of someone who maybe isnt qualified to decide that, then yeah, go for it.
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