Why Arizona Banned Ethnic Studies

Gregory Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times, February 20, 2012

It’s more than a little ironic that the same Arizona Legislature that spearheaded a ruthless, racially charged campaign against illegal immigrants also banned K-12 ethnic studies classes on the grounds that they promote hatred and division. Who knew Arizona’s Republican majority, as expert as it is at hyperbole and invective, was so committed to fostering healthy race relations in the Grand Canyon State?

Last month, after a court fight against the ban, the governing board of the Tucson Unified School District pulled the plug on its Mexican American studies program, which teachers say was designed to help middle school and high school students navigate in a complex, multiethnic world.

I’ve never been much of a fan of ethnic studies, mostly because I think the politicized curriculum often lacks rigor and tends to be crammed with early 1970s “victim rhetoric” that can narrow students’ sense of possibilities rather than broaden them. Having 15-year-olds read Paulo Freire’s jargon-heavy Marxist “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” is a bit much (it was on the syllabus). But I’m all for students being taught that their ethnic histories play a significant role in U.S. history.

In any case, to characterize Tucson’s program as anti-American or hate-mongering is pretty far-fetched, particularly given the animosity that’s been stoked in the last few years by the likes of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the recently recalled state Senate President Russell Pearce.

Both the ban’s author, state Atty. Gen. Tom Horne, and its biggest supporter, Supt. of Public Instruction John Huppenthal, touted their opposition to ethnic studies and their “tough on Mexicans” credentials in their bids for statewide office in 2010. In one particularly boldfaced radio ad paid for by Huppenthal’s campaign, the announcer declares the candidate to be “one of us.” He goes on to say that Huppenthal voted to end bilingual education and this time will “stop La Raza.” The announcer gives no explanation of what exactly “stop La Raza” might mean.

Arizona’s ethnic studies ban targets classes that “promote the overthrow of the U.S. government” or “resentment toward a race or class of people.” Since nobody has uncovered a single teacher instructing students to overthrow so much as a hall monitor, it’s safe to assume that what’s really irking the ban’s supporters is the part about resentment. And resentment toward whom? Well, white people.

Yes, the fellow who pledged to “stop La Raza” has succeeded in keeping a cadre of roughly 25 teachers in Tucson from suggesting that Anglos have been something other than always honorable in their treatment of minorities in U.S. history. Put bluntly, Arizona banned ethnic studies to protect the reputation of the white majority.


{snip} Whatever its faults, the program was not anywhere as dangerous as a white majority that simultaneously fights to protect its power and the purity of its reputation.

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  • MekongDelta69

    Obviously, Mr. Multicultural never heard of MEChA, Aztlan, La Raza, LULAC, MALDEF (and all the rest of the radical brown groups committed to taking back the Southwest).

    Funny – I never needed an entire department or even one single course designed to help me “navigate in a complex, multiethnic world.”
    But then again, I grew up in America – when it WAS America.

  • Oil Can Harry

    “I’ve never much been a fan of ethnic studies…”

    Then why are you defending them, Bozo? 

  • ViktorNN

     Ethnic studies classes at the high school level are a waste of time. There isn’t anything in such a class that couldn’t be covered in a few reading assignments in a normal social studies, history, or civics class. Paolo Freire is college level material for Marxists. The idea that any one group gets special classes that the rest don’t is offensive.

    And let’s face it, given their drop out rates, hispanic students should be focusing on basic literacy skills.

  • JackKrak

    When I want neutral, objective, clear-headed insight into the political landscape of ethnic politics, I want to hear from a Mr. Rodriguez of the Los Angeles Times…..

  • whathappened2ourcountry

    “Every race has the right to preserve it’s own unique heritage & traditions” – David Duke

  • I knew what direction this opinion piece was going after the first sentence. Not sure what I expected from someone names Gregory Rodriguez, but I guess I wasn’t expecting his
    disdain for White Americans, in favor of his invading la raza, to be so transparent.
    Then again, this is the Los Angeles Times, where they do not even try to hide
    the fact they endorse the hispanic colonization of this country by the invading
    brown hordes from Mexico.

  • 15 year olds reading Marxist literature written by a guy named Paulo called “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” doesn’t sound like education. It sounds like indoctrination. Public schools and the department of education are ten plus years of the old mandatory Communist “education/re-education” camps.

    Never before has the system cranked out more double digit IQ moron graduates and illiterate buffoons who can’t even read their diplomas. That is just as well, because school isn’t about reading any more, it is about inculcating racist grievances against Whites and preaching class warfare and revolution. These dummies then become music to the Big Government Communist Anti-White Ears… “reliable Democrat voting blocs.”

    They even brag about this creation that arose from horrible immigration policies that excluded Whites and brought in the maximum amount of White-hating Third World imbeciles.

    They crow about it right in our faces….