Alright, help me process this.
I submitted some of the Arizona materials to you and asked for a broader perspective on them, your initial response was fairly hostile but I decided to chalk that up to miscommunication and thanked you for the other information you provided, as far as I was concerned, that was the end of it.
Then later I find you’re claiming that I’m somehow okay with what’s going on in Arizona, I message you to understand why you’re misrepresenting me to other people…
And that brings us to the above response. So let’s take this point by point now.
I agree there’s a false sense of middleground, no issue there.
As for the tea party thing, I chalked that up to miscommunication, moreover, I don’t understand how the quote you provided, which was of someone denying these horrors ever happened, is somehow related to my discomfort over the notion that modern people should need to atone for something their ancestors did decades ago.
Now, this bit with “brown children” and my grandmother is confusing since I’m hispanic, and you know that. Nor did I ever express a fear of anything of the sort, I don’t understand how I’m fear-mongering! Or what fox news or obama have to do with anything.
I never said I was persecuted, I never said we shouldn’t have Ethnic studies, I don’t understand where this is coming from.
If that’s all your intent was, great, we can put this to bed right here. But I thought you were misrepresenting my stance on the issue and I wanted to make sure we were clear, which judging by the earlier comments in your response I don’t think we were.
Alright, I empathize with your discomfort and your efforts, but I’m not entirely certain what it is you think I’ve done to warrant this kind of hostility, and I’m not exactly sure what I need to re-analyze given that I agree with you for the most part?
When I first messaged you I expected either a “No most of the study material is pretty standard stuff, there’s nothing really radical here I think you might just feel uncomfortable because of X and if you take into account Y context you’ll see it in a new light”
Instead I got, what I feel like is a “See People! Look at the false moderate who thinks ethnic studies should be banned and really agrees with the teaparty! Look at all these terrible things happening that he condones!”
And I don’t really know where that’s come from.
…but I’d just like to say that while I think the intent of the content is admirable, some of the actual material is more divisive than educational. Advocating Thanksgiving become a national day of atonement strikes me as a tad extreme, a lot of it doesn’t appear academic…it reminds me more of angry bloggers on tumblr than a school curriculum.
[…] talking abut how American hangmen got drunk on eggnog after executing Mexican and Indian Leaders… I don’t know, what good does that do?
^This is me QUOTING YOU.
I don’t know how many times I have to repeat myself that THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THE PEOPLE WHO BANNED IT SAID.
The authors of the ban, some of whom now propose to extend it to state colleges, admit they never attended a class in the offending Tucson program. They simply didn’t like the idea of teachers telling students the apparently subversive facts that nonwhite people have at times suffered at the hands of white people, or that people of every color have at times acted with color-conscious solidarity. This is a shameless kind of censorship, oozing anti-Hispanic animus.Some more:
Uh. If you were going to be angry at my reply, your anger seems a bit late to the party. Considering you weren’t angry about my original response to you, but you WERE angry with this response of mine to someone else?
I didn’t “make” you the false moderate. I pointed out, in the ORIGINAL RESPONSE, that because our educational policy has become so fraught with political implications and bandied about like a political gambit, this has created a FALSE sense of what is the “middle ground”.
Lastly, did you notice how flagrantly I have been ignoring your rhetoric about **”They” want to make Thanksgiving a National Day of Fasting and/or Atonement????** I already pointed out to you that your lines are indistinguishable from that of the extreme right-wing fringe group the Tea Party, and yet you didn’t seem in much of a tither over that.
Who ARE these “They” who are trying to take away your national holidays? If you want to believe that brown children who learn about their own history are going to bum-rush your Thanksgiving dinner, pull your Turkey off the table and slap your grandma with it, that is your business. This is the same kind of fearmongering, dog-whistle fake threats to Real Murricans meant to cause a knee-jerk emotional reaction in people who are ignorant that Fox News loves to serve as dessert with their “Obama is a Secret Muslim!” entree.
It’s re-framing a banned class as if it’s somehow powerful enough to “persecute” the entirety of America’s white population by making them feel bad about genocide once a year.
I’m not the biggest fan of The Daily Show, but they did sum that kind of logic up pretty nicely as “The official slogan of oppression”:
You’re not being persecuted by having it pointed out to you that your “opinion” isn’t moderate.
And finally, all I did in this reblog was point out to that person WHY and HOW not actively fighting racist systems uphold them, in response to a different question than the one YOU asked.
If you want to play “I’m an innocent babe in the woods how can u speak so sharply to me” let me point out that you’ve already said you’re a History major, and you don’t know a lot of things, so why do you think you are entitled to feel comfortable when you’re asking questions about genocide?
Do you think **I** feel comfortable talking about how white colonizers hung my ancestors and got drunk to celebrate it?
It really took you a long time to get upset about this, and I wonder why FEELING SLIGHTLY MISUNDERSTOOD AND NOT BEING CODDLED AS A HISTORY NEWB MAKES YOU ANGRIER THAN KNOWING MILLIONS OF KIDS IN TEXAS, ARIZONA, AND ACROSS THE U.S. BEING LEGALLY BARRED FROM LEARNING THEIR INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES, THEIR PEOPLE’S HISTORY, AND SCREWED OUT OF A CHANCE FOR SUCCESS?
Maybe you should take some of your own advice:
Since I started this blog, I have very rarely felt comfortable. I think a lot about how my words and statements affects others, and how they can be used against people who are considerably MORE disenfranchised than I am. And even with that, I still make HUGE mistakes, I have issued countless corrections, have definitely kept talking when I SHOULD have shut my mouth immediately, and have generally messed up very publicly and to much criticism.
And the worst part is that too much of the time, when I mess up, other people suffer for it far more than I EVER will.
If your desire to improve yourself is sincere, maybe think less about five minutes of personal embarrassment and more about how your words and deeds function in society, and who is affected the most by what you say and do. If you want to learn and teach History, thinking about how we function in the context of learning history, and what kind of assumptions, biases, and personal beliefs and experiences YOU are bringing to the table.
They claim to have instituted the ban to remove grievance-focused identity politics from the classroom and to put the focus on the individual.
They banned it because they claimed it was divisive, and makes white people feel bad, and/or foments resentment against white people. And you’re like, and I quote, “some of the actual material is more divisive than educational.”
The word “divisive” is the go-to dog whistle for the Tea Party every. single. time. race. is mentioned. Look:
"Using the divisive language of the past to unfairly accuse the Tea Party”
Fighting racism? Pointing OUT racism? Teaching a class about racism? You’re being “divisive”. You’re somehow fomenting resentment against white people by teaching history from a non-whitewashed perspective. As if a bunch of High School kids are going to read a Sherman Alexie book and start a race war against white people. I am informing you that the language you are using to describe this banned program is not only the same as that used by the people who banned it, but is also used by racists trying to silence their critics, and that maybe you should think about that.
I’m telling you that WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO BELIEVE AND PRIORITIZE IS YOUR CHOICE AND YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.
The thing you have a problem with is you think I was quoting you here, when I was going “This is an example of what people who perpetuate injustice say”, because that was the question someone ELSE asked me.
Once again, you are centering how you feel attacked, and taking the focus away from what you have actually said.
But please, let’s talk some more about why you feel victimized by having a confrontational conversation. You know. Rather than how the actual words that have come out of your mouth reflect some disturbing views on how learning a counternarrative of history is “divisive”, or why it sounds like “an angry tumblr blog”.
Hi yeah, I live in AZ all my life and have studied this as part of my studies. I know the people who are heavily affected by this.
AZ has literally said, word for word, that anything promoting ethnic solidarity is illegal. This is the same state where bilingual education is illegal, unless you are some white kid learning Spanish. It’s right there, underline, in the words, ethnic solidarity is not allowed. I can get arrested, in the state I was born and live in, if I teach that Asian Americans and Black Americans worked together in the Civil Rights Movement. I can be arrested for talking about the solidarity act between Filipino and Latino farm workers during the era before Civil Rights movement.
Wanna know what I CAN’T be arrested for? Spouting Eugenics theory. I can teach about Colombus, but heaven forbid I teach about Yuri Kochiyama, after all, she worked ethnically with black Americans.
Do you understand that I can be jailed for teaching the TRUTH? Do you understand that I CAN NOT TEACH IN MY HOME STATE because I want to see my own history that was denied to me? Do you realize that Latino children in AZ are harassed, policed, deported, killed, daily and on top of that are denied the language that they speak to their parents with? Do you realize I have to CHOOSE between teaching and staying home with family? Do white people ever have to choose between their history and their family? Ever? Ever in this country’s history, ever?
Do you realize that WHITE PEOPLE, and WHITE PEOPLE ONLY, there ain’t any black or Asian person in AZ legislator, just guy people- are the reasons my friends can barely speak to their grandparents?
Do you realize what fuckery white people have done in this state?
If I wanna teach, I. can’t. teach. in. the state. of. my. birth.
If you ask me, we’re being fucking nice.
Do you see a problem with this?
Thank you for sharing your story.
The dismantling of bilingual education in Arizona, and California (my home state), was more or less the doing of one man with a lot of money and a lot of xenophobic views. Ron Unz, some California millionaire, made it his mission to eliminate bilingual education in the United States, and it basically worked. That happened quite a while ago, around 2000. That’s the other jaw of the veritable bear trap these kids are in: they’re forced into English-only classes to sink or swim.
Notice this doesn’t apply to kids who know English but want to learn a different language-only kids for whom English is their second language, and/or are trying to learn.
All we can do is share and curate this knowledge, to try and hold it safe until it can be freely celebrated, learned, and explored again. Because we are being erased from history. The achievements of our grandparents are being erased along with the terrible wrongs done to them.
And this is all for the purpose of creating a generation of kids with no knowledge of their History, no understanding of how they are treated now has everything to do with centuries of oppression and suppression. They won’t learn how the massive libraries of their ancestors were burned by colonizers, they won’t know that when U.S. senatorial candidates use racial slurs to openly advocate their extrajudicial murder, that that comes from a long history of bloodshed and terror.
It makes me sick to think about.
I cannot overstate how real and dangerous this is. It is not just some academic issue that affects some state you don’t live in — if affects every person of color, all the time, in all so many unfathomable ways.
I was NEVER taught about racism growing up. It was mentioned, briefly, as something that happened in the past, something that had ended with slavery. The civil rights movement was glossed over with the most positive spin possible, like some historic inevitability that involved no pain, or suffering, or sacrifice. Something that isn’t still being fought for. I was taught that racism is over, and because it came from a Respectable Institution, I believed it.
I’m bi-racial, black and white. Because of this omission, I never understood why I was treated differently in school. I never understood why I was never good enough for my peers, why people looked at me askance or stopped talking when I approached them, why I was left out of so many things. Until a year or two ago, I literally didn’t have a word for the sensation I have felt since I was aware of the outside world: Othering. I didn’t understand why adults would come to me, all of four years old, and ask if I was adopted. Constantly, every time my mother and I would go out, until I would start crying when a white woman approached me.
I wasn’t allowed to understand my blackness, and I certainly wasn’t allowed to be proud of it. In a racist society, bi-racial people are forced to embrace the “better” culture. I never learned about my father’s struggles in the civil rights movement, or my ancestor who ran away from his enslaver and made a life for himself and his descendants. I learned to be ashamed of my aunts and uncles and nieces, of my own dark skin, of my hair, which wouldn’t lie straight no matter what I tried.
When people of color are only depicted in subservient roles, it sends a message that we’re not good enough. Our bodies aren’t good enough, our cultures, our knowledge. It forces a huge number of people into a morass of cultural self-hatred for the benefit of a privileged few.
Pay attention to this. It’s real, and it’s happening right now. And ignoring it is only reinforcing its legitimacy.
Exactly-these aren’t just “ideas”. That’s what really frustrates me, that for too many people, including a lot of people who read this blog, it’s as if these are concepts that can be bandied around, talked about, but ultimately ignored if it gets ‘uncomfortable’.
In the U.S., only white people get to choose whether or not to discuss or think about racism. And if this catering to the possible discomfort of white students keeps being legislated and coded into the education system, it’s stealing the language from students of color for them to describe their very real, everyday experiences.
Reducing people’s lives to “causes” or “issues” is dehumanizing, and distances it from the concrete realm of people interacting with each other. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and your history.