For anyone outraged at the State of Arizona's recent efforts to ban "ethnic studies" in its schools, this editorial by Eugene Robinson is an absolute must read. I mean, Robinson just eviscerates this mean-spirited effort. Read the whole thing all the way through -- many times. But this little snippet is a gem all by itself:
Arizona's top education official, Tom Horne, fought for the new law as a weapon against a program in Tucson that teaches Mexican American students about their history and culture.Good thing there's no "ethnic chauvinism" in Horne's postion, right!?!?!?
Horne claims the Tucson classes teach "ethnic chauvinism." He has complained that young Mexican Americans are falsely being led to believe that they belong to an oppressed minority. The way to dispel that notion, it seems, is to pass oppressive new legislation aimed squarely at Mexican Americans. That'll teach the kids a lesson, all right: We have power. You don't.
As someone who teaches in and works for a Latin American Studies program at a Title VI National Resource Center on Latin America, I'd add one other little note to Robinson's critique: Arizona's ban on "ethnic studies" is an assault on intellectual freedom. It's anti-intellectual. It is knowledge censorship as bad as, if not worse, than book banning. There is absolutely nothing inherently treasonous or anti-American or any other gross exaggeration of the pursuit of knowledge in the study of different races or ethnicities. Hell, what's next? Banning Jewish Studies? Even from a conservative/libertarian perspective, one should find this effort absolutely repulsive for its patronizing and freedom-squashing and culturally-homogenizing intent. What? Do they think that students are incapable of thinking for themselves? It's 100% pure, unmitigated nativist fascism.