Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Most Racist State Ever?

It is becoming more and more embarrassing to say that my home is the great state of Arizona. While we are still on the heels of our govenor signing into law the controversial and extremely racist HB1070 Immigration Law [the law which we all know targets the Hispanic community and gives our power hungry sheriff and his posse the ability to demand proof of citizenship of anyone], I just learned that yesterday our state has decided to ban all ethnic studies in schools. I was wondering if we go any further back into the Stone Ages and apparently the answer is yes. Effective December 31 of this year, it will now be illegal to teach classes "designed for students of a particular ethnic group, promote resentment or advocate ethnic solidarity over treating pupils as individuals."

Apparently the target of this bill were several Mexican studies courses that currently exist in Tucson's school system. These courses, which are attended by approximately 3% of the systems 55,000 students, are currently offered from elementary through high school and have an emphasis on Latino authors and history. According to Judy Burns, president of the Tucson district governing board, there are no intentions of ending the courses.

I would imagine that as a consequence, that means that there must also be an end to all Black history courses. As an African-American man I must admit that the time that I paid attention the most was when I was learning about brilliant and black inventors, when we discussed the civil rights struggle of the 60s, or when we tackled social justice issues that affected any minority group. But now it appears that my state wants to whitewash our classrooms and in an effort to please ignorant white folks. I say ignorant white folks because they all don't own the stupid gene, but it seems that many of them in power (at least in my state) have the gene and are waving their flag of ignorance very proudly.

Classes like this exist for several reasons. Black history courses, Latino history courses, women's history courses all exist because they spotlight certain demographics that we don't learn about in general survey courses. American history classes don't have time to paint a totally comprehensive view of society. So in them we don't learn about Jim Crowe or the Underground Railroad. General literature classes don't have time discuss all great writers and as a consequence many Black, female and Latino authors go unheard of.
And let's keep it real, classes like this exist not only because of the omission of facts related to these communities, but because of the lies that are being taught relative to these communities. Are we still teaching that Columbus discovered America? The America we live is has a history of killing and exiling Native peoples, stealing land and claiming ownership (east coast and west coast), enslaving groups of people for mandatory free labor (Black folks and Asian people) and we did it all in the name of "freedom." Now it seems that there is a deliberate attempt to erase these truths from the history books. Why? Because they can't handle the truth.

Truth is I've never actually claimed Arizona as my home. But it is my defacto home; I've lived here for just over a decade. I know all states have their issues. However, it seems that Arizona is spiralling out of control in its hatred and anger towards the Hispanic community. This state, which was the last state in the union to acknowledge the Martin Luther King holiday has a history of ignorance. But we should have learned from our past digressions. Keeping it real, brown skinned people inhabited this land long before white folks ever did, so I'm troubled by hostility. But now the rest of the US (and enlightened people of Arizona) have a reason to continue to protest and point fingers at our state. I thought our goal was to evolve, not devolve.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe not yet, but, with the GOP fringe and the millions who keep voting for them, trying its best to make sure the state lives up to its previous reputation as the Mississippi of the West with its 1950's way of dealing with POC, its fast on its way.

I live here because a job bought me here, its not my home at all, but, as soon as I can sell this house, I will be OUT and, won't even plan a trip with a stop over at Sky Harbor. I refuse to live in a state where in 2010 you can enshrine racism into the law, and, then say with a straight face that its against the law for "racial profiling" which as anyone not white laughs at as its been against the law for years and yet, happens 24/7.