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I hope some of the participants in this Forum are following the brouhaha in Arizona, whereby Tucson middle and high schools have been forbidden by law to offer a course in the history and culture of Mexican-Americans. (Mexican-Americans comprise 61% of the population in that part of the USA.) In January, school officials went into the very classrooms and took books away from the students and off the shelves. Seven books were especially targeted, and three of them were history texts. But the reading list for the class ran to more than 50 titles. (One goofy sidelight is that Howard Zinn was on that list, as was Sherman Alexie, and Paulo Freire. Okay, Professor Zinn was an "Anglo", but can that term be stretched to include Native Americans, like Alexie, and Latin-Americans, like Freire, a Brazilian educator?
Well of course a protest of such action by 'authorities' arose. A group from Houston, Texas, just took a busload of people and "banned books" to Tucson. They are called "Los Libros-traficantes" (book smugglers). People in this Forum recognize that the suppression of a society's intellectuals and writers is a regular early step on the part of anyone bent on becoming a dictator. Just think back to instances in History with which you are familiar.
(P.S. I was tickled to find that I own a copy of one of the banned books.)
Last Edited on: 3/31/12 3:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
I suppose that the authorities, thinking to act in the interests of promoting some kind of cultural 'solidarity' among U. S. citizens, want to suppress the books with the history or stories of Native Americans, Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Asians, Central Americans, and such. Up to lately, the teaching of history has been based on books in which the main protagonists, heroes, antagonists, and characters, are European or of European descent. In American schools, even World History classes represent the world of white people. This distorts U.S. history.
Plus, if you hold with the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights and/or the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, you can see that the state of Arizona, by this action, does not. The United Nations declares "All peoples have the right to culture, history, identity, language, and education"
I don't want to plead the case FOR such history classes, or AGAINST such classes ( alleged to be divisive). I just want the matter considered solemnly and respectfully by persons truly concerned with the teaching of truthful history to ALL American middle and high-schoolers.
There are some interesting newspaper articles available on-line. Start anywhere, such as "Tucson schools", or "Arizona Anti-Ethnic Studies Law" and so forth.