Hard on the heels of its divisive anti-illegal immigration law, the state of Arizona has banned "classes that advocate ethnic solidarity," as AP writer Jonathan Cooper reports. The law does allow classes to focus on the histories of individual groups "as long as the course is open to all students and doesn't promote ethnic solidarity or resentment," but the measure has been championed by opponents of particular ethnic studies programs:
State schools chief Tom Horne, who has pushed the bill for years, said he believes the Tucson school district's Mexican-American studies program teaches Latino students that they are oppressed by white people.
Many bloggers are reading this measure--taken together with the immigration law--as one more slap at the Latino community.
- So Much for the 'We're Not Racist' Argument "Arizona's
supporters of the state's draconian new immigration law insist that it
has nothing to do with race and isn't meant to discriminate against
certain ethnic communities," writes Think Progress's Amanda Terkel back at the end of April. She points out that the anti-ethnic studies law and measures against "heavily accented" teachers run somewhat counter to this claim.
- 'Courses That "Promote the Overthrow of the U.S. Government"'? The Huffington Post looks at the language of the ethnic studies legislation: "Arizona's new immigration law is just about crime, its supporters say, but given that the state's new education policy equates ethnic studies programs with high treason, they may not be using the commonly accepted definition of 'crime.'"
- Counterproductive, Ridiculous "This is what has happened in Miami after they passed English language legislation in the 70's, only to have the city taken over by Hispanics. Now there is a movement to make Spanish the official language. Bigotry begets bigotry," argues blogger KurtVB, who writes at Progressive Anger. He also argues that after centuries of ill-treatment, Native Americans "should have the opportunity to have their heritage taught."
- We're Not Making This Up Yes, Arizona "really" just passed this law, Jeff Neumann assures Gawker readers.
The new law, signed by Governor Jan Brewer, states that 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," because the American school system was founded on diversity and open-mindedness they'll have you know.
- Equality "Never mind that 90 percent
of the curriculum at most schools already focuses on one particular
ethnic group," writes Vanity Fair's Matt Pressman.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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