Posts tagged Arizona.

Mexican-American studies program nixed by Ariz. education chief ›

By Liz Goodwin

Arizona’s top education official told Tucson educators they must stop teaching or significantly alter a Mexican-American studies program that is ostensibly in violation of a state law, or else lose millions of dollars in funding from the stat. There’s just one problem—Arizona’s own investigation of the program found that there’s nothing illegal about it.

Education Superintendent John Huppenthal says the program, which is taught to about 650 high school juniors, violates last year’s controversial state law that bans K-12 programs that “promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment toward a race or class of people, are designed primarily for pupils of one ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity,” according to The Arizona Republic’s Emily Gersema.

The Tucson district can lose about $15 million—or 10 percent of all state aid—if they don’t come in compliance within 60 days, the paper reports. However auditors hired by Huppenthal found no issues with the Tucson program. And students support the program. “I get really emotional because this class helped me a lot,” Olivia Payne, an African-American student told CNN. “We’re a family. We’re one, and it’s teaching us we can make a difference in this country. I don’t want this class to be taken away.”

The quote from this student is really wonderful, and I’m excited that they quoted a black student, since so much of the argument against ethnic studies is that it’s only for specific ethnicities. I mean, my counter to that would be that I’ve had to learn white people’s ethnic studies all my life, but that’s not threatening.

Huppenthal’s auditors report that students participating in the program graduated at a higher rate than their counterparts who don’t enroll in the program. “No observable evidence was present to indicate that any classroom within TUSD is in direct violation of the law,” the auditors said, according to The Arizona Daily Star. They observed 40 percent of the classrooms participating in the program for 30 minutes each.

Ethnic studies is important! Having African-American studies in high school changed my life! It was probably the most important class I ever took, high school or fancy college, and it was a diverse group of kids who chose to take it for a diverse set of reasons. It is so so important for students to have an opportunity to see themselves reflected in their school material.

Tucson Students Take Over School Board Over Ethnic Studies ›

thetart:

Students in Tucson, Arizona preempted what they perceive to be a vote to undo ethnic studies in their schools, rushed into the Tucson Unified School District board room, tied themselves to the board members’ chairs, and held a protest that lasted for hours… The students were chanting, “Our education is under attack, what do we do? Fight back.” The issue is this: board President Mark Stegeman is trying to make Mexican-American studies classes into electives, not core courses, thus de-legitimizing and less legitimate than “real” history, such as U.S. History, for example. When the students took over the board room last night, they prevented a vote on this measure, though it’s been rescheduled for — of all days — 5 de mayo.

Video of the school board meeting here.

Gotta find a way to work this into what I’m working on with my kids this week.

(via crunkfeministcollective)

Brisenia Flores's killer sentenced to death ›

thenoobyorker:

zuky:

readnfight:

So I think this is a strange news story and I want to know more about it. The woman associated with the Minutemen, who killed Brisenia Flores and her father, was sentenced to death. I’m not convinced that the death penalty is anything useful, so it also doesn’t seem like this is really justice in any way (for one thing, the Minutemen still exist, as do other anti-immigrant groups like them). I can’t recall ever seeing a news case like this, though, where a white person was punished so severely (or punished at all, really) for killing people of color, and especially not undocumented immigrants. So for that, I’m really surprised.

But the other strange (or really, just fucked up) thing is that when this story first ran this afternoon, Yahoo news had the headline, “Arizona jury condemns anti-immigration activist to death” and referred to the woman as being an “anti-illegal immigration activist” throughout the article. Now it’s been rewritten to call her a “border activist” both in the headline and body of the article, which is totally vague.

Anyway:

An Arizona jury has sentenced a border activist to death in the 2009 murder of a young girl and her father.

The Pima County Attorney’s Office said Tuesday the Tucson jury returned the death penalty verdict against 43-year-old Shawna Forde. She now becomes the third woman on Arizona’s death row.

Forde was convicted of first-degree murder and other charges in the May 2009 home invasion in Arivaca (ayr-uh-VAH’-kuh), a desert community about 10 miles north of Mexico.

Twenty-nine-year-old Raul Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia, were killed in the robbery.

I struggled with this question for many years and finally decided that I’m unconditionally opposed to the death penalty. I’m not a pacifist, so my rationale does not come from opposition to all violence. Voluminous research shows that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent, because people who are going to commit crimes worthy of the death penalty are not deterred by consequences, so that’s not a rationale either.

Back when Timothy McVeigh was executed, I wrote a long soul-searching essay on the matter, including opinions from family members of those he had killed, and I concluded that killing McVeigh would not actually further healing. According to a significant number of victims, punitive retribution ultimately cannot unlock a heart knotted by traumatic grief. Moreover, my primary rationale for opposing the death penalty is the fallibility of the state which administers it. Because the death penalty cannot be reversed, and because human institutions are necessarily fallible and/or corrupt, implementation of the death penalty will necessarily replicate society’s institutional prejudices, resulting in inconsistent application, as well as the killing of innocent parties.

Regarding this particular case, I haven’t gotten into the legal details but at first glance I have a hard time believing that the state will actually execute Shawna Forde. She will sit on death row for a very long time, though. In fact, my third rationale for opposing the death penalty (in addition to fallibility of the state and ineffeciveness of punitive retribution) is no easy exit. I think that a lifetime behind bars with your thoughts and the memories of your crime is perhaps the most difficult fate to face.

I agree with everything Zuky stated, particularly the part about death as a temporary but not fulfilling resolution to injustice. I know of many people who are currently serving long prison terms and there’s not a day that goes by when they don’t regret their actions. 22 hours in a cell, your thoughts and no Internet, books, games, exercise equipment or trusting companion. 22 hours in a 24 hour day. I have never met one individual who has left prison, jail, pen etc… with the intention to return. Living the rest of your life as an individual without freedoms is the ultimate punishment in my opinion, acts of violence as retribution do nothing to absolve or bring back the individual whose life was tragically taken away. Rather than nip the problem at the end, we should learn from these individuals and nip the problem before it begins. The death penalty is only a topical solution to much deeper societal and cultural problems.

So many smarties on tumblr! I guess the really important question is what does Brisenia’s mother want out of this? She was also an intended victim, but she played dead and survived the break-in/shooting where her child and partner were killed. Does anyone know what it is that she wants, like what could happen that would in any way constitute justice for her? Nothing’s going to bring them back, so nothing’s going to be enough; but I guess it should come down to what will be in some way helpful for her. And like I said, the Minutemen still exist; the government that upholds the things the Minutemen do still exists exactly the same; all the racist xenophobic policies of the state and country she lives in still exist. Nothing has changed that will make this never happen again; in fact, the murders happened in 2009, so before SB 1070 passed, so arguably things have gotten worse and less healing where she lives.

(via genericlatino)

Brisenia Flores's killer sentenced to death ›

liquornspice:

dancingonembers:

readnfight:

So I think this is a strange news story and I want to know more about it. The woman associated with the Minutemen, who killed Brisenia Flores and her father, was sentenced to death. I’m not convinced that the death penalty is anything useful, so it also doesn’t seem like this is really justice in any way (for one thing, the Minutemen still exist, as do other anti-immigrant groups like them). I can’t recall ever seeing a news case like this, though, where a white person was punished so severely (or punished at all, really) for killing people of color, and especially not undocumented immigrants. So for that, I’m really surprised.

But the other strange (or really, just fucked up) thing is that when this story first ran this afternoon, Yahoo news had the headline, “Arizona jury condemns anti-immigration activist to death” and referred to the woman as being an “anti-illegal immigration activist” throughout the article. Now it’s been rewritten to call her a “border activist” both in the headline and body of the article, which is totally vague.

Anyway:

An Arizona jury has sentenced a border activist to death in the 2009 murder of a young girl and her father.

The Pima County Attorney’s Office said Tuesday the Tucson jury returned the death penalty verdict against 43-year-old Shawna Forde. She now becomes the third woman on Arizona’s death row.

Forde was convicted of first-degree murder and other charges in the May 2009 home invasion in Arivaca (ayr-uh-VAH’-kuh), a desert community about 10 miles north of Mexico.

Twenty-nine-year-old Raul Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia, were killed in the robbery.

 she’s a violent white supremacist.

no comment on her sentence.

(I apologize if my tone seems cold or sarcastic. My brain is road-blocking extreme rage and grief right now.)

Calling her an “activist” is… interesting. To say the absolute least.

And I was surprised at the sentence too. I wonder if it means this case will be used as THE definition of anti-brown bigotry?  Like, anything less than shooting children in the head will officially not be “wrong?” (But then, even the murder of this family isn’t really being called capital R horrible, terrible Racism.) 

Or maybe it’ll be used to say, “Look! Arizona isn’t racist! How could it be? They sentenced that well-intentioned, freedom-fighter-gone-bad (but I mean can you blame her?) white lady to DEATH, dontchaknow!”

Radically Hott Off compared the narrative around Minutemen to the narrative used for anti-black lynch mobs. I’d never thought of that before and it really, really terrifies/enrages me. And I want someone on CNN to make that comparison but they’re all, “Let’s hear from BOTH sides!” and would probably treat it as some fringe “opinion” and foil it against literal KKK hate-speech spun as a legit argument…

Word. Either context that they call her an activist, it gives her more credibility than she’s due. It allows space to say she cared about the US, and just took a wrong turn or made a mistake or whatevs else; I’m surprised that reasoning didn’t get her off the hook to begin with.

But yeah, I will be very very upset to see this used as a way for Arizona to argue that the government is tooootally not racist, and that we brown people are just being pushy and demanding because, after all, the state is executing this woman and what more could we want. Which, as I think about it, and not to sympathize with her at all, but it also makes the murderer a pawn of the state government. It turns her into collateral, and makes her execution a trade-off to try to pacify people of color. So basically, none of this is justice, and nothing changes, and damn if that isn’t always the way with governments.

(via blackraincloud)

Brisenia Flores's killer sentenced to death ›

So I think this is a strange news story and I want to know more about it. The woman associated with the Minutemen, who killed Brisenia Flores and her father, was sentenced to death. I’m not convinced that the death penalty is anything useful, so it also doesn’t seem like this is really justice in any way (for one thing, the Minutemen still exist, as do other anti-immigrant groups like them). I can’t recall ever seeing a news case like this, though, where a white person was punished so severely (or punished at all, really) for killing people of color, and especially not undocumented immigrants. So for that, I’m really surprised.

But the other strange (or really, just fucked up) thing is that when this story first ran this afternoon, Yahoo news had the headline, “Arizona jury condemns anti-immigration activist to death” and referred to the woman as being an “anti-illegal immigration activist” throughout the article. Now it’s been rewritten to call her a “border activist” both in the headline and body of the article, which is totally vague.

Anyway:

An Arizona jury has sentenced a border activist to death in the 2009 murder of a young girl and her father.

The Pima County Attorney’s Office said Tuesday the Tucson jury returned the death penalty verdict against 43-year-old Shawna Forde. She now becomes the third woman on Arizona’s death row.

Forde was convicted of first-degree murder and other charges in the May 2009 home invasion in Arivaca (ayr-uh-VAH’-kuh), a desert community about 10 miles north of Mexico.

Twenty-nine-year-old Raul Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia, were killed in the robbery.

xicanagrrrl:

product of ethnic studies in a california state school right here :) 

holy sheeeeit. This looks amazing. I’m gonna show my kids at school.

Trailer for a documentary about the ethnic studies fight in Tuscon.

(via versosdeliberacion)

Dolores Huerta: Let’s Violate Arizona’s Ethnic Studies Ban ›

Chicano movement icon and United Farm Workers Union co-founder Dolores Huerta was on Flashpoints, a local Bay Area news magazine on KPFA on Friday, and spoke about the recent shootings in Tucson, as well as HB 2281, Arizona’s new ethnic studies ban.

Huerta said that much of the ignorance today was a product of young people being deprived of a comprehensive history of the United States. Huerta said that people in other states had to defend ethnic studies by expanding it where they could and taking it ‘down to the grammar school level.” “[Ethnic studies] is how we are able to start the fight against discrimination,” Huerta said, and then offered her own ideas for how to support students in Arizona:

I was thinking about Arizona, what I’m suggesting to my friends over there. Just like during the ’60s we had the Freedom Schools. They’ve got to start Freedom Schools and violate the law. Teach ethnic studies out there. I know very good friends of mine, Robert Rodriguez, who’s over at the University of Arizona at Tucson, and many of my really good friends out there. Okay we’re just going to teach ethnic studies and violate the law, get people in jail.

I think I’ll just have to go back to Arizona and do another lecture over there and have them get me arrested and let’s appeal the case all the way up to the Supreme Court in terms of just a first-amendment rights.

Listen to the interview in full here.

Gonna listen to the interview while I wash tons of dishes! This is such a good attitude.

ohmygodohmygod PS: Betita Martinez is also on this. I am kind of freaking out. Like I never had a Justin Bieber when I was a tween, but Betita Martinez is pretty much my Justin Bieber aaaaaah

Arizona shooting victim arrested after threat ›

I’m sorry, WHAT, all around:

PHOENIX – One of the Arizona shooting victims was arrested Saturday and then taken for a psychiatric evaluation after authorities said he took a picture of a tea party leader at televised town hall meeting and yelled: “you’re dead.”

James Eric Fuller, 63, objected to something Trent Humphries said during the forum taped for a special edition of ABC’s “This Week” with Christiane Amanpour, Pima County sheriff’s spokesman Jason Ogan said. Fuller was in the front row and apparently became upset when Humphries suggested that any conversations about gun control should be delayed until all the dead were buried, KGUN-TV in Tucson reported.

Fuller was arrested on misdemeanor disorderly conduct and threat charges, Ogan said. While Fuller was being escorted out, deputies decided he needed a mental health evaluation and he was taken to a hospital, where he remained Saturday evening.

The hospital will determine when he will be released, Ogan said.

Fuller was one of 19 people shot at a Safeway store Jan. 8. Six people died and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords remains in critical condition with a bullet wound to the head.

Fuller described the shootings as “a bad crime drama” in an interview on CBS’ “The Early Show.” He said he felt a bullet that hit his knee but didn’t know he had also been struck in the back. Fuller, a naval air veteran, drove himself to Northwest Hospital after being shot, according to the Arizona Daily Star. He was later taken to University Medical Center where he was released two days later.

The show was videotaped at St. Odilia’s Catholic Church in Tucson. Victims, witnesses, emergency responders and some of those hailed as heroes after the shooting discussed the tragedy.

The special will air Sunday on “This Week” with Christiane Amanpour.

Whaaat. Dude survives this shooting, says, “You’re dead” to a tea-party dude a few days later, and gets locked up in a psych hospital against his will?? While they’re talking about gun control on a station called KGUN. I’m sorry, what the f. Let people grieve. Let people deal with their traumas, don’t traumatize them further by arresting and institutionalizing them. Shit’s a mess.

Why is Nobody Calling Jared Loughner a Terrorist? ›

Well put:

Jared Lee Loughner allegedly tried to assassinate Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at a meeting with constituents in Tucson, Arizona, on Saturday. In the wake of the attack, the 22-year-old Loughner has been called everything from “crazed” to “unhinged.” What he’s not been called, however, at least by the media, is a terrorist.

According to the United States Law Code, terrorism is “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.” New evidence alleges that Loughner possibly planned for years to assassinate Giffords, a prominent politician. Sounds a lot like terrorism to me. But a whole host of major media outlets seem to disagree.

The Wall Street Journal today says Loughner “raged against the government” and “discussed terrorism,” which, when you actually think about it, is a vague, nearly meaningless sentence (who hasn’t discussed terrorism in the past decade?). In the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the main story is that Loughner was denied entry into the military because he failed a drug test, while the only talk of terrorism comes in a confusing quote from a blog posting from Loughner himself: “If you call me a terrorist then the argument to call me a terrorist is ad hominem.” And, in the Los Angeles Timeslead story on Loughner today, the word “terror” doesn’t appear once.

Compare this nebulous coverage to that on Nidal Hasan in November 2009. If you’ll remember, Hasan is the only suspect in the Fort Hood shooting in Texas that left 13 people dead and 30 more wounded. Hasan is also Muslim, a fact every news outlet won’t let you forget, while also speculating about his terrorist ties.

Four days after the attack on Fort Hood, the Wall Street Journal published two stories suggesting that Hasan was a terrorist, one of which included the assertion that it was a terrorist act because Hasan spoke Arabic while he shot. The Los Angeles Times spoke to counterterrorism experts for this piece on Hasan. And, in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, blogger Kyle Wingfield actually gave credence to a Forbes argument claiming that Hasan “went Muslim.”

Some will argue that Hasan’s terrorist intentions were proved by communications he had with radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki, but, in fact, experts who reviewed the pair’s e-mail exchange deemed it totally innocuous.

It should be noted that the FBI Director Robert Mueller has said he’s not ruling out terrorism charges against Loughner, but nothing’s certain yet. And today in Dubai, Hillary Clinton called Loughner an “extremist,” though, like the media, she stopped short of calling him a terrorist. From the sidelines, the message this sends is pretty obvious and very insidious: When a white man executes a political attack, he’s likely crazy; when it’s a Muslim doing the shooting, he’s likely a terrorist.

This came up also with the guy who flew his plane into the IRS building, who was allowed the complexity of a guy whose patriotism had been disappointed. I was actually interested in how that was framed, because it was allowed in the media to be a little more complex than when things like this happen. And that’s important, because this is complex. And it just keeps happening with no resolutions, until we can start talking about things that are going on in ways that aren’t so two-dimensional.

what a world to have lived in.

garconniere:

trigger warning: discussions of gun violence, violence against women.

champagneproblems:

Gabrielle Giffords shooting live updates: Nine-year-old girl killed in shooting was born on Sep. 11, 2001

The nine-year old girl who was killed in Saturday’s shooting has been identified as Christina Taylor Greene.

Greene was born on Sep. 11, 2001, according to Tucson TV station KVOA.

The Arizona Republic reports that Greene was taken to Saturday’s event by a neighbor who thought she would enjoy it.

Greene had been elected to her school’s student council and had loved swimming, horseback riding, basketball and ballet, according to local reports.

What a world to have fucking lived in.

Nothing like when an adult in your life is like, “Hey, you’re a young woman who’s on student council. We should take you to meet this woman who is in politics. See? Women can totally be anything they want to be.” And then - I just, I feel very jaded about the possibilities that our culture actually allows women to occupy without threat and hatred and backlash and shame and violence, and neither the death of this young girl nor the shooting of Giffords, forever linked as they will be, surprise me. I am so sad for everyone who was injured and killed today.

The neighbour who took the girl to see Giffords also died, I believe. This person, too, was engaging in some pretty cool feminist direct action by taking this girl to see the political process happen.

I am so sad today. That someone’s whole life was bookended in this way by violence that she should have had no part of just wrenches my heart. I know that focussing on little white feminine kids is not a totally 100% awesome way to process this whole mess, but for tonight, I’ll be thinking of her.

i feel sick. i feel physically ill the more i read about this shit.

American violence

wildunicornherd:

Yeah, it’s not Tumblr Tuesday or #followfriday, but, just to mention—I’ve been checking abbyjean and radicallyhottoff’s Tumblrs for news and analysis about the recent shooting in Arizona.

Some scattered thoughts—it’s incredibly sad and terrifying. I’m glad that Giffords survived, but, Christ, six people also died. Neither Giffords’ nor Loughner’s political alignments fit easily into the liberal/conservative dichotomy that even “progressive” Americans subscribe to. Nevertheless it’s hard not to see this as part of the sharply rising trend of vitriol and threats towards public figures, which narrows political discourse, divides representatives from their constituents, and normalizes violence.

“Violence” to many people means only a physical attack, like this shooting. But violence is bigger than that—it’s hate-filled rhetoric, Christian-nationalist white supremacy, the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, overseas military interventions, prisons, group homes, the American healthcare system from top to bottom, poverty. There is no such thing as an isolated attack. It is part of a bigger picture, an overall culture.

For real. People want to talk about violence in Arizona? All right, let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about the border, let’s talk about demanding people’s papers, let’s talk about Sheriff Arpaio, let’s talk about sexual assault and maquilladoras on the other side. Get it complicated. There are no lone wolves; this world doesn’t leave space for neutrality.

We're too quick to use "mental illness" as an explanation for violence. ›

We’re too quick to use “mental illness” as an explanation for violence.

Shortly after Jared Lee Loughner had been identified as the alleged shooter of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, online sleuths turned up pages of rambling text and videos he had created. A wave of amateur diagnoses soon followed, most of which concluded that Loughner was not so much a political extremist as a man suffering from “paranoid schizophrenia.”

For many, the investigation will stop there. No need to explore personal motives, out-of-control grievances or distorted political anger. The mere mention of mental illness is explanation enough. This presumed link between psychiatric disorders and violence has become so entrenched in the public consciousness that the entire weight of the medical evidence is unable to shift it. Severe mental illness, on its own, is not an explanation for violence, but don’t expect to hear that from the media in the coming weeks.

Seena Fazel is an Oxford University psychiatrist who has led the most extensive scientific studies to date of the links between violence and two of the most serious psychiatric diagnoses—schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, either of which can lead to delusions, hallucinations, or some other loss of contact with reality. Rather than looking at individual cases, or even single studies, Fazel’s team analyzed all the scientific findings they could find. As a result, they can say with confidence that psychiatric diagnoses tell us next to nothing about someone’s propensity or motive for violence.

A 2009 analysis of nearly 20,000 individuals concluded that increased risk of violence was associated with drug and alcohol problems, regardless of whether the person had schizophrenia. Two similar analyses on bipolar patients showed, along similar lines, that the risk of violent crime is fractionally increased by the illness, while it goes up substantially among those who are dependent on intoxicating substances. In other words, it’s likely that some of the people in your local bar are at greater risk of committing murder than your average person with mental illness. 

Of course, like the rest of the population, some people with mental illness do become violent, and some may be riskier when they’re experiencing delusions and hallucinations. But these infrequent cases do not make “schizophrenia” or “bipolar” a helpful general-purpose explanation for criminal behavior. If that doesn’t make sense to you, here’s an analogy: Soccer hooligans are much more likely to be violent when they attend a match, but if you tell me that your friend has gone to a soccer match, I’ll know nothing about how violent a person he is. Similarly, if you tell me your friend punched someone, the fact that he goes to soccer matches tells me nothing about what caused the confrontation. This puts recent speculation about the Arizona suspect in a distinctly different light: If you found evidence on the Web that Jared Lee Loughner or some other suspected killer was obsessed with soccer or football or hockey and suggested it might be an explanation for his crime, you’d be laughed at. But do the same with “schizophrenia” and people nod in solemn agreement. This is despite the fact that your chance of being murdered by a stranger with schizophrenia is so vanishingly small that a recent study of four Western countries put the figure at one in 14.3 million. To put it in perspective, statistics show you are about three times more likely to be killed by a lightning strike.

The fact that mental illness is so often used to explain violent acts despite the evidence to the contrary almost certainly flows from how such cases are handled in the media. Numerous studies show that crimes by people with psychiatric problems are over-reported, usually with gross inaccuracies that give a false impression of risk. With this constant misrepresentation, it’s not surprising that the public sees mental illness as an easy explanation for heartbreaking events. We haven’t yet learned all the details of the tragic shooting in Arizona, but I suspect mental illness will be falsely accused many times over.

I hate how the media does this, over and over again, and how it becomes popular discourse. Everyone becomes a pop psychologist, thinking that because they saw an episode of Dateline about bipolar one time, they know all about it and are now gonna diagnose people with it and that’s that.

Before this happened I was hearing similar things in the work I’m doing around police brutality, where some people in our group have been saying stuff about how the cops that have been beating people up must be mentally ill, they’re veterans who came back from Iraq and have PTSD, etc. But as far as we know, they’re only as mentally “ill” as you could consider the power-tripping and delusions of grandeur of being a cop as being mental “illness” (I hate that word btw). And I have PTSD, but I haven’t gone on a spree of hunting down rapists and kicking their asses—I mean, I wish!, but what actually happens is that PTSD makes me hide out in my room and makes me scared of everything, not that it makes me violent.

Also, because people see mental health as an individual’s issue—which I would argue it isn’t—when discourse writes someone off as mentally “ill” as the explanation of violence, there’s no need to dig deeper. So in this case, there’s no need to look at race and class tensions in Arizona that are flaring up, because the guy is assumed to be schizophrenic because he wrote some weird shit on the internet.

Rift in Arizona as Latino Class Is Found Illegal ›

Meanwhile:

TUCSON — The class began with a Mayan-inspired chant and a vigorous round of coordinated hand clapping. The classroom walls featured protest signs, including one that said “United Together in La Lucha!” — the struggle. Although open to any student at Tucson High Magnet School, nearly all of those attending Curtis Acosta’s Latino literature class on a recent morning were Mexican-American.

Curtis Acosta spoke to his students about their future after Arizona said their Mexican-American studies program was illegal.

For all of that and more, Mr. Acosta’s class and others in the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican-American program have been declared illegal by the State of Arizona — even while similar programs for black, Asian and American Indian students have been left untouched.

“It’s propagandizing and brainwashing that’s going on there,” Tom Horne, Arizona’s newly elected attorney general, said this week as he officially declared the program in violation of a state law that went into effect on Jan. 1.

Although Shakespeare’s “Tempest” was supposed to be the topic at hand, Mr. Acosta spent most of a recent class discussing the political storm in which he, his students and the entire district have become enmeshed. Mr. Horne’s name came up more than once, and not in a flattering light.

It was Mr. Horne, as the state’s superintendent of public instruction, who wrote a law aimed at challenging Tucson’s ethnic-studies program. The Legislature passed the measure last spring, and Gov. Jan Brewer signed it into law in May amid the fierce protests raging over the state’s immigration crackdown.

For the state, the issue is not so much “The Tempest” as some of the other texts used in the classes, among them, “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed” and “Occupied America,” which Mr. Horne said inappropriately teach Latino youths that they are being mistreated.

Teaching methods in the classes are sometimes unconventional, with instructors scrutinizing hip-hop lyrics and sprinkling their lessons with Spanish words.

Does anyone know details about the part above that I bolded, about other ethnic studies programs not being made illegal? I thought the language of the law was that ethnic studies cater to specific ethnicities and encourage sedition against the government (if only it were that easy!), so I thought all ethnic studies programs were banned? Or is it just that it’s being selectively enforced, and the crackdown is only on Chican@ studies?

Tucson Has 60 Days to Shut Down Ethnic Studies Classes ›

Thursday, January 6 2011, 11:54 AM EST Tags: Arizona, education, ethnic studies

9Share

The same day that he took office as Arizona’s new state school superintendent this week, John Huppenthal released a statement affirming his predecessor’s finding that the Tucson Unified School District has violated HB 2281 by offering ethnic studies classes to high school students.

On Tuesday Huppenthal gave the TUSD 60 days to shut down the classes or face the loss of nearly $15 million in state funding. HB 2281, which went into effect on December 31 of last year, forbids any school district from offering classes intended for any one racial or ethnic group, and bans curriculum that encourages “overthrow of the U.S. government.” Under HB 2281, the state superintendent has the sole power to issue findings and withhold 10 percent of a district’s state funding if a district breaks the law.

Representatives from the district say they plan to appeal the ruling, but insist the current classes do not violate the new law, which Gov. Jan Brewer signed last year. They say that the courses have in fact helped retain high school students who might otherwise have dropped out, and that students enrolled in the courses have eventually gone on to college at higher rates than students who didn’t take them.

Huppenthal said he nevertheless found the classes to be “troubling.” “My, firsthand, classroom encounter clearly revealed an unbalanced, politicized and historically inaccurate view of American History being taught,” he said in a statement.

“These minority students are being consigned to a lesser future,” Huppenthal said. “They deserve better.”

Does anyone know of any alternatives being set up? Like when I was in high school, I went to a free arts program after school, and some of my friends went to a program in a mostly Mexican neighborhood that did Chicano-centered arts after school, basically like Chicano studies plus arts. Is anything like this going on in Arizona outside of the school system?

fuckyeahchicanopower:

Arizona Bans Ethnic Studies and, Along With it, Reason and Justice

While much condemnation has rightly been expressed toward Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, a less-reported and potentially more sinister measure is set to take effect on January 1, 2011. This new law, which was passed by the conservative state legislature at the behest of then-School Superintendent (and now Attorney General-elect) Tom Horne, is designated HB 2281 and is colloquially referred to as a measure to ban ethnic studies programs in the state. As with SB 1070, the implications of this law are problematic, wide-ranging and decidedly hate filled.

Whereas SB 1070 focused primarily on the ostensible control of bodies, HB 2281 is predominantly about controlling minds. In this sense, it is the software counterpart of Arizona’s race-based politicking, paired with the hardware embodied in SB 1070’s “show us your papers” logic of “attrition through enforcement,” which has already resulted in tens of thousands of people leaving the state. With HB 2281, the intention is not so much to expel or harass as it is to inculcate a deep-seated, second-class status by denying people the right to explore their own histories and cultures. It is, in effect, about the eradication of ethnic identity among young people in the state’s already-floundering school system, which now ranks near the bottom in the nation.

There’s a word for what Arizona is attempting to do here: ethnocide. It is similar to genocide in its scope, but it reflects the notion that it is an ethnic and/or cultural identity under assault more so than physical bodies themselves. By imposing a curriculum that forbids the exploration of divergent cultures while propping up the dominant one, there’s another process at work here, what we might call ethnonormativity. This takes the teachings of one culture - the colonizer’s - and makes it the standard version of history while literally banning other accounts, turning the master narrative into the “normal” one, and further denigrating marginalized perspectives. America’s racialized past abounds with such examples of oppressed people being denied their languages, histories and cultures, including through enforced indoctrination in school systems.

As if to add insult to injury, HB 2281 barely makes a pretense to hide any of this in its language and intended scope. A close reading of the law lays bare some of the more stark and sinister aspects of its potential application in a state where Hispanic students fill nearly half the seats in the public schools (the domain to which HB 2281 will apply). In particular, there are three primary aspects of the law that merit further investigation as contributing factors to the ongoing erasure of ethnic identities and the further marginalization of people of color in Arizona.

First, there is the perverse Declaration of Policy preamble, in which the legislature expresses its intention that pupils “should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals,” and likewise, “not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people.” The irony here is palpable, since SB 1070 precisely singles out “races or classes of people” in its coded language, requiring police to demand legal papers from anyone who is deemed “reasonably suspicious” of being undocumented - which, in the Southwest, obviously correlates with skin color and ethnic origin. Moreover, HB 2281 itself was aimed specifically at abolishing the Raza studies program in Tucson (as well as all ethnic studies programs statewide), which translates literally to “race” as noted in the working definition adopted by the program at San Francisco State University:

"The term Raza literally means race or colloquially, the people. The term figuratively has reference to the Spanish conquest of the indigenous Indians of Mexico and the resulting mestizaje or the mixed racial and ethnic identity of indigenous, European and African heritage unique to the Americas. In practical usage, the term Raza refers to mestizos or mixed peoples; we have the blood of the conquered and conqueror, indigenous, (i.e., Aztec, Mayan, Olmec, Yaqui, Zapotec and numerous other Native Americans), European, African and Asian. The term Raza was popularized by Mexican educator, Jose Vasconcellos who wrote about La Raza Cosmica to inclusively refer to a new ‘race’ of people born out of the neo-Columbian New World.”

In this sense, we come to perceive the aim of banning ethnic studies as an attempt to single out the histories and cultures of certain people based expressly on race and class. While the Arizona legislature states its intention to prevent resentment and hatred of others, the new law fosters precisely that and, in denying people their histories, further encourages self-hatred as well. Indeed, people kept from knowing where they come from have a difficult time knowing where they are going, creating a self-fulfilling downward spiral that is common where people are categorized and labeled as “other” and/or “lesser” vis-à-vis the dominant norm. As such, we see that HB 2281 actually violates its own provisions by promoting that which it claims to eliminate.

The second critical aspect concerns the law’s main prohibitions against any education programs that (1) “promote the overthrow of the United States government,” (2) “promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” (3) “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group” and (4) “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” The problems here are manifest, starting with the reflexively implicit link to terrorism contained in the first provision - as if to say that ethnic solidarity is somehow akin to attempting to overthrow the government. The third provision is even more problematic in its potential implications, since a plausible argument can be made that the entire mainstream public education curriculum is precisely designed for pupils of a particular ethnic group - namely the dominant, white, Eurocentric group that defines its history and worldview as the “normal” or “standard” ones against which subaltern perspectives are to be judged as deviant and, under HB 2281, banned.

The fourth provision does double duty in prioritizing individualism over group-centric processes, reflecting another deeply-rooted cultural bias and projecting it back as the norm. The libertarian and individualistic foundations of Western culture are viewed as iconic in Arizona, and it is no coincidence that the more communitarian impulses of Raza peoples are denigrated as politically dangerous and pedagogically bereft. Again, the worldview of the oppressor is normalized in its rugged individualism and attempts to break down any movement toward solidarity and unified action among people of the disfavored class. This also expresses contemptuous judgment toward solidarity-based movements grown in the Western world, including the rise of union organizing, anti-globalization and antiwar activism and the mobilizations of people against totalitarianism in the Eastern bloc nations. What the Arizona legislature completely fails to grasp is that individual identity arises out of cultural consciousness - in other words, that it is ethnic solidarity in itself that provides people with the grounding necessary to know who they are as individuals.

Finally, HB 2281 contains an exemption for teaching students about episodes such as the Holocaust; genocides; and “the historical oppression of a particular group of people based on ethnicity, race, or class.” In essence, combined with the provisions noted above, this means that students of a particular group can be taught about their history of subjugation, but not about their spirit of solidarity; they can focus on their decimation, but not their emancipation. This sinister portion of the bill strives to reinforce pain at the expense of pride, encouraging young people to internalize the oppression delivered by the dominant culture and make it part of their self-consciousness as “other” in a world whose norms are built on the inherent superiority of the master class. Thus, the law seeks not only to prevent the teaching of histories and values that might empower marginalized people, but further endorses the transmission of destructive episodes and ideologies that can only serve to increase the group’s collective disempowerment.

In all of these ways, HB 2281 is a potent example of legislative bigotry and open persecution of people based on factors such as race and class. As with SB 1070, HB 2281 is also self-violating in that it promotes precisely what it claims to prohibit, namely, ethnic chauvinism and “resentment toward a race or class of people.” Both of these laws - as well as similar ones in the offing being considered by the Arizona legislature - are entirely counterproductive and manifestly unjust. Confronting similar patterns of legislated intolerance and the widespread attempt to reduce a category of people to second-class status based primarily on ethnic origin, Martin Luther King Jr. famously wrote in his landmark essay “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” following the teachings of St. Augustine, that “an unjust law is no law at all.” King further reminds us, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” calling upon us to recognize the interlinked nature of destinies and, indeed, the inherent solidarity of our struggles, and further counsels that in this effort “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

Carrying the logic further, King articulates a framework for resistance that applies as much in Arizona today as it did in the South during the Jim Crow era:

"Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an ‘I it’ relationship for an ‘I thou’ relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful…. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey, but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal…. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that … had no part in enacting or devising the law…. We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’ and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was ‘illegal.’"

By denying marginalized peoples their own stories and understandings, HB 2281 likewise denies the “conquerors” the capacity to come to terms with the full implications of history, thus, literally enabling the perpetuation of a state of “denial” that inhibits the development of necessary processes of atonement, accountability and reconciliation. As with laws associated with segregationist and tyrannical regimes throughout history, HB 2281 and SB 1070 are inherently unjust and, hence, are “no laws at all.” They must be disobeyed, not out of spite or hatred, but more so to uplift the oppressors and the oppressed alike, as Paulo Freire has suggested. In this sense, solidarity transcends its narrow bounds and the struggle itself is our finest education.