Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why we need a passport to enter Arizona

So you know I've been self absorbed with health issues because I haven't blogged about Arizona yet. To be honest, because my diagnosis of breast cancer came right before the madness of Arizona's double-doozy laws: the anti-immigrant, "lets-make-everyone-carry-papers" law and the anti-ethnic studies "lets-make-everyone-say-nice-things-about-white-people" law.

But I just read this article in The New York Times and then followed the link to the Talking Points Memo (both are specifically about the anti-ethnic studies law and especially about the bill's sponsor, Tom Horne, and I just have to say


Let me repeat this:


[Aside: Yes, I swear now (actually, I always swear, I just tried not to do it in this space). I'm sorry--it's one of the things about me post-breast-cancer-diagnosis that I seem not to be able to help or rather choose not to self-censor. I do apologize to anyone who may be offended by my strong language, but I'm at a place where I feel certain events call for strong language, and my cancer and what's going on in Arizona seem to warrant these kind of expletives right now]

I don't even know WHERE TO BEGIN.

I guess with what is so messed up with the bill, which:

"Prohibits a school district or charter school from including in its program of instruction any courses or classes that:

•Promote the overthrow of the United States government.

•Promote resentment toward a race or class of people.

•Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.

•Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."


OK. So I guess they aren't going to teach the history of the Civil War since the confederates were exactly looking for the overthrow of the U.S. government. And I suppose this also means that we can't teach history that comes from Texas textbooks since all of it is geared for white Americans of a conservative nature (point #3). As for promoting resentment toward a race or class of people, well, I guess they are going to be teaching a lot of social justice classes to help against promoting resentment toward a race or class of people because the current way of teaching history or social issues seems to only promote a sense of resentment against people of color and poor people--and shall we now say that the curriculum is going to be queer friendly since most public school curriculums have not been so queer friendly--and yet clearly Arizona wants people not to promote resentment of different classes of people, right?

As for treating people as individuals rather than as ethnic blocs, again, I suppose they are going to be heavily emphasizing white privilege and white supremacy as a way to understand how people of color have not been seen, traditionally, as INDIVIDUALS and only been counted as a MASS of people in which white Americans were not and continue not to be seen as a raced and classed and ethnicized group of people.

Of course, all of the above is the OPPOSITE of what Mr. Horne had in mind. He apparently has a big axe to grind, specifically, with Mexican Americans. And I gotta say, Mr. Horne clearly needs to have a sense of REAL history to understand that to discount Mexican American history or to divorce it from Arizona history or U.S. history is like saying we should discount the revolutionary war or the Louisiana Purchase or Civil War history (the war of northern aggression as some would say south of the Mason-Dixon line). Because parts of Arizona used to BE Mexico--so what the hell is Horne afraid of? That people will learn THE TRUTH???!!!

Sometimes there are grey areas--times when we aren't sure if we should use the dreaded "R" word. And sometimes it's clear:

Tom Horne is a racist. This bill is racist. All of this is evidence of institutionalized state racism.

Any questions?

P.S. The title of the post is meant to convey that I think that what is going on in Arizona is so fucked up right now that it seems to be it's own country and that maybe EVERYONE who lives in Arizona should be the ones who should carry papers because they are the ones who need a passport to enter the rest of the 49 states of the union. And yes, I know how simplistic that is to say--and I suppose I'm not counting the people in Arizona who are unhappy with both bills, but it just seems SO FUCKED UP that I wanted to convey that Arizona seems to be its own freakish little white-supremacist state right now.


TeeJayUK said...

"Any questions?"

I am new to this blog so before making a comment, can I ask if you have a page or entry which defines what you mean by "race"?

Jennifer said...

Hi TeeJay,

Welcome to Mixed Race America! Thanks for finding your way here. If you look at the side bar on the right, I have three different sub-categories for previous posts that are on the topic of race/racism, Asian American issues, and mixed-race issues. There is one specifically that talks about defining "race" but it's also important to look at the posts that define racism since I see the two as intimately intertwined.

Look forward to hearing from you again.