>While I was cruising FAUX News’ website, I came across this story and was completely appalled at what I read. On the heels of the anti-immigration and pro-racial profiling law that was passed last week, the Arizona state legislature has passed a bill that bans ethnic studies programs that critics say “advocate separatism and racial preferences.”
The new bill would make it illegal for a school district to teach any courses that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”
The bill stipulates that courses can continue to be taught for Native American pupils in compliance with federal law and does not prohibit English as a second language classes. It also does not prohibit the teaching of the Holocaust or other cases of genocide. Schools that fail to abide by the law would have state funds withheld.
The bill, which you can read here, was praised by the state Superintendent for Public Instruction Tom Horne, who believes the principles of education should be to “educate,” not “divide,” students.
“Traditionally, the American public school system has brought together students from different backgrounds and taught them to be Americans and to treat each other as individuals, and not on the basis of their ethnic backgrounds,” Horne said. “This is consistent with the fundamental American value that we are all individuals, not exemplars of whatever ethnic groups we were born into. Ethnic studies programs teach the opposite, and are designed to promote ethnic chauvinism.”
Ethnic chauvinism…chauvinism. So, a course in African-American studies would be considered ethnic chauvinism because people are daring to learn about their history, culture and philosophies? Because we are daring to learn about cultures/traditions other than the American/European/Western ethnocentrism studies engraved into our brains since the first grade?
I guess having too many educated minorities in Arizona about their history and their background is a threat to the silver-haired politicians in the legislature. Another attempt by the boisterous majority to re-assert their superiority in our society.
This sort of academic white-washing reminds me of the United States’ 19th-century practice of Americanizing Native American children by taking them from reservations and enrolling them into schools. This forced assimilation completely decapitated these children from their culture and subconsciously reminded them of their supposed inherent flaws: that they weren’t white.
These Arizona lawmakers who voted for this piece of legislation, in my opinion, must feel threatened by anything ethnic. They people must feel threatened by a minority who refuses to buy into the idea that white American culture is the best and greatest way of life for every person on Earth. They feel threatened by a minority who refuses to buy into the American culture’s insistence that their culture is inferior and does not positively contributes to American society. They feel threatened by a minority who is proud of his or her’s skin color, eye color, hair texture, body shape, native tongues and customs and traditions.
As a black woman, I’m proud of my thick lips, brown skin and my ancestor’s traditions, customs, history and their mores. I’m proud of the fact that I extend from people who ran great kingdoms in Africa and who were enslaved in the Americas. I’m proud of the fact that my ancestors risked their lives just so me and future generations of African-Americans can sit at the same counters, shop in the same stores and attend the same schools as white Americans.
My pride for my race is not ethnic chauvinism. My pride for my people’s history is my refusal to be brainwashed by American ethnocentrism and its teachings of cultural/racial supremacy.