Arizona is apparently trying to break some record of number of racist laws passed in a one month period, because now the governor has signed a bill banning public school classes that “promote racial solidarity” or “racial resentment”. Oh, and classes that “promote the overthrow of the U.S. government”. Basically they’re targeting a Tuscon school district ethnic studies program that – horror of horrors! – teaches students of color about their heritage. The man who wrote the law felt that the Mexican-American studies program was teaching Latinos that they were being oppressed by whites. Gasp.
There’s so much fail in this I’m not even sure where to start. First off, I don’t think Latinos need to be told they’re being oppressed by whites. I’m pretty sure you can learn that through just living as a person of color. Second, basic U.S. history classes promote racial resentment just by illustrating U.S. imperialistic practices, genocide against Native populations, slavery, segregation, racial inequity, etc. If you’re trying to avoid oppressed groups finding out they’re oppressed and who is oppressing them, any history class is not something you want them to attend. Not just “ethnic” histories. Of course, they’re trying to remove those kinds of unseemly details from school textbooks anyway.
And no promoting racial solidarity? You shouldn’t feel a kinship with those of the same race as you? I obviously haven’t read the law, but this sounds pretty vague and like it could apply to all ethnic studies courses whether or not they meet the “racial resentment” criteria. I’m grokking that basically, this law is a product of white Arizona lawmakers’ fear of a Latino planet. Same with SB 1070.
Why this is all coming to a head right now, I’m unsure. But now 10 other states are considering similar anti-immigrant bills. And there’s a significant positive reaction towards Arizona’s law from the general public. I suppose I shouldn’t be too shocked about the latter. We’re so politically polarized, it’s a given that half the voting population will be wrong on any given issue.
This is why we can’t have nice things, people.