Tucson Book Ban Is Just More Anti-Latino Rhetoric
The State of Arizona has been foremost in anti-Mexican American legislation, ordinances and rhetoric in recent years. National boycotts and the U.S. Department of Justice and even the U.S. Supreme Court have failed to normalize the Republican-controlled hate movement. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Arizona Superintendent of Public Education John Huppenthal continue to thumb their noses and wear their prejudices, intolerance and ignorance with pride.
It should be noted that Huppenthal ran for office and was elected on the promises that he would “do away with la raza.” Not surprising, within the last two weeks Huppenthal ordered the Tucson School District to suspend its Mexican American studies classes and issued a list of some 100 books to be immediately removed from its classrooms and library. Most were written by Spanish surnamed and Native American authors.
The list of banned books ranges from the ridiculous to the insane.
Also, among the books banned from the classroom were: Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest,” and “Civil Disobedience” by American author H. D. Thoreau. Also removed: “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Freire, the Declaration of Independence, “Cross-Examining American Ideology” by Howard Zinn, “Ten Little Indians” by Sherman Alexie and “A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America” by Ronald Takaki, Sandra Cisneros’ “Women Hollering Creek” and “Curandera” by Carmen Tafolla, “Bless Me Última,” by Rodolfo Anaya and many others by non-Spanish surnamed authors and poets.
In defending their action, Cara Rene, Tucson School District Communications Director stated the books have not been banned — merely removed from the classrooms and libraries and sent to the school district’s storage facility. The books “are still available through the TUSD library system,” according to the district. The immediate reaction has been an outcry from teachers, authors, political activists and civil rights activists of diverse ethnic, racial and educational background. Moreover, politically active Latinos are boosting the Democratic party membership in Arizona and elsewhere assuring that whoever the Republican presidential candidate may be, he will not be getting the Latino vote.
It seems as if the Republican presidential candidates, not to mention state anti-Latino laws such as in Arizona and Georgia, are guaranteeing the majority of the Latino vote will go to the Democratic party. As it currently stands, the Republican presidential candidates will have done a good job of killing each other at the polls while seemingly guaranteeing the re-election of President Barack Obama. Meanwhile, for Latinos in this country, such exaggerated Republican party-generated, anti-Mexican, anti-immigrant rhetoric has had the unfortunate consequence of increasing hate crimes against people who “look” Latino.
Richard G. Santos is an international research historian and retired university professor who lives in Pearsall, Texas.
[Photo By Lalo Alcaraz]