Sunday, April 20, 2008

Xenophobia in Arizona is Indicative of Climate All Over the Country

An attack from AZ

I received an email from a list I belong to this morning. It described a bill in Arizona (SB1108) that is sponsored by the White-supremacist Russell Pearce. I say he is a White-supremacist because his bill will ban the teaching of Mexican-American/Chicano/a studies! This bill would have a severe impact on what people will recognize as legitimate scholarly work, and what people will write off as opinion. Mecha, and Chicano/a studies has had a positive impact by teaching people about the history of what is called the US.

Classes in
Arizona which "denigrate American values and the teachings of Western civilization" could lose funding under this legislation. This bill actively targets dissent. Teachers and schools would have to surrender classic works such as Dr. Rodolfo Acuna's "Occupied America - A History of Chicanos."

Lets look at some American Values (Notice how weak that term is—how it can be interpreted by whoever reads it differently)this bill does NOT want kids to learn about. One is the value of Genocide, and the active and sustained denial of this horrific crime against humanity. The refusal to acknowledge this also prevents any real advances in race relations and communications. I mean if our culture can't accept that there was widespread genocide in the so-called Americas (oh oh--I said "so-called"--does this mean I'm a bad American, or is it as I believe--that I'm NOT regarded as FULLY American and am NOT allowed to criticize my government?), then how is it going to accept the fact that slavery built this country and our debt has never been paid, among many other atrocious acts? I'm not talking about giving anyone anything, but what about a little equality? Or what about the land theft--what happened to all the indigenous land? Acknowledgment of the past instead of attacks against minority groups in this country are what we need.

Sure, these are NOT the only American values, but the others like liberty, the right to vote, equality under the law--these are merely cruel jokes to many in the minority community. I'm fairly well educated--and I feel this way--I wonder how the majority of my less-privileged brothers and sisters feel...

Learning about these things don't make one a bad American--they empower people to make this country a better place, and maybe--just maybe, because I'm more cynical NOW than ever--this country could live up to its standards--at least a little.

Its all over the place

Last November the American Libraries published an offensively fallacious article against having Spanish language materials in our libraries. This article crushed me. I was really offended and hurt that the ALA would allow such a logically weak piece to be presented in its magazine. I am in library school right now and this taught me a lesson I didn't want to learn about libraries in the US. I mean I knew I just don't like seeing it presented by a respected organization.

I am not against legitimate debate, but I am against such ill-conceived writing and ethnocentric opinions that were printed in this article. This is yet ANOTHER indication to me that there are not enough people of color in the library industry. Perhaps if there were more—then the weak premises this article was based on would have been caught. Those against Spanish in the library should represent their side better than that. There are many Americans who speak other languages than Spanish. These AMERICANS deserve to have quality materials in Spanish for them to be able to learn Spanish. This author states that “multi-cultural groups who seek to divide the country into a bilingual society…” that doesn’t even make any sense—a bilingual society will understand itself better because it will communicate much better with more people—DUH!

Scholarly frauds

Much of this weak article reminds me of Sam Huntington's (a so-called scholar--and they [bigoted idiots] think Chicano studies is offensive--at Harvard) crap called "Who are we?"

The fact that Harvard has someone like this working for them says a lot about their school. Ha—it says much about our country.

Old Sam’s Book and this article, to put it in simpleton terms—which isn’t far from the original is that
America is Anglo-Protestant, and that it should not allow catholic, and other foreigners to taint it's purity (why does this sound vaguely like Hitlerian?). The invasion (notice the use of a vermin related, or enemy related word reminiscent of German propaganda during the Nazi era) will dilute our culture until—oh God—it won’t be an Anglo-protestant culture anymore with its fine ideals. I mean—Protestants work hard, but Mexicans—they are lazy—right—that’s the weak kind of reasoning both the writer of the American Libraries article and Huntington use. They feel that a multicultural society won’t be as strong as the former White-supremacist culturally ethnocentric society. They feel like contributions such as African rhythms, chocolate, wonderful science and artistic contributions damage American culture—again—WTF?

I’m not trying to be hard on the ALA, but I have to say something here.

It is greatly disturbing to me that people don't point out that this White-supremacist viewpoint is spreading day by day. It is spread by organizations like the minutemen who have been infiltrated by the White hate group Stormfront. It is readily seen in Racist comments made daily on television by people from factory workers to Politicians. Hilary Clinton used the immigration issue to try and cause division between the black and brown community. It is evidenced in Obama’s distancing himself from Reverend Wright--who merely has the guts to address his community on issues that matter to them. We are NOT allowed to talk about how the federal government destroyed, not just the panthers, but all kinds of other movements--I wouldn't be surprised if they killed MLK.

Are we going to let this go on?

WTF people????

We are NOT all Anglo Protestant. We are indigenous, Asian, Mixed of all races, we are Americans. We are atheists, pagans, New-agers, Universalists, we are whatever we want to be—we have religious freedom in this country—remember!?????????? We are Gay and Straight, we are a diverse, multicultural society—the first ever—the supposed greatest ever—well we need to get to it. We don’t ALL speak English—and some of US—like me only spoke English, but are struggling to learn other languages. We aren’t what your little world wants us to be—we are who we are.

There is always an underlying premise of these kinds of minds reasoning it is that Western civilization is Superior to that of other cultures. Western civilization is NOT the best thing EVER as some would have you believe. Western civilization has human sacrifice and slavery since early on. Check the Iliad for human sacrifice, and Aristotle (whose arguments for slavery are still being used in various guises to this day). Western civilization is not evil per se, but it does have certain inherent beliefs that must be criticized if Western civilization is to advance.

Attacks on people who are oppressed and limiting their informational resources must be judged harshly. This is a form of institutional racism. We cannot and should NOT allow this to be unchallenged in our industry and in our government. We have a duty to provide materials to our communities. If we can afford trillions of dollars to impose our empire on Iraq then we can certainly meet the informational needs of our communities. Perhaps it is time to look at new ways to fund libraries. We need creative minds, and lobbyists with plenty of bribe money if we are going to get these changes though (is that a joke?).

SB1108 and M.E.Ch.A.

SB1108 would also outlaw student groups such as M.E.Ch.A. M.E.Ch.A is a student organization. One of its stated goals that Xenophobes are scared of is it’s dedication to the liberation of Aztlán. This statement is open to interpretation and can most likely be interpreted as meaning gaining equality in our homeland (to use a word tossed around by this culture) M.E.Ch.A is not a Racist group as the bill claims. Here are M.E.Ch.A’s requirements for membership:

“General membership shall consist of any student who accepts, believes, and works for the goals and objectives of M.E.Ch.A. Including the liberation of Aztlán.”

Here is why they want to get rid of M.E.Ch.A.:

MEChA played an important role in the creation and implementation of Chicana/o Studies and support services programs on campus. Chicana/o Studies programs would be a relevant alternative to established curricula. Most important, the Chicana/o Studies program would be the foundation of MEChA's political power base. Today many Chicana/os Studies Programs would have difficulty operating if it were not for the enthusiasm and dedication of Mechistas to Chicana/o Studies.

They want to rob us of our indigenous heritage. Chicano studies, and books such as Professor Acuna’s do much to educate our people about who we are. When the Spanish came here they did their best to destroy the knowledge our people had of who we were and what we can accomplish. If we don’t learn about, for instance—the great mathematics and astronomy our people accomplished, then it is possible that some of us will really believe that all we can be are day laborers, field workers, and gangsters. Not that there is anything wrong with working any job, but we can do ANYTHING we set our minds to. We cannot and should not allow ourselves to be limited by imposed stereotypes.

Just as knowledge of the classics for western civilization is empowering, so is knowledge of our past for us. MEChA fulfills an information need for our community. The loss of M.E.Ch.A. would mean a loss of vital energy, new leadership, information and new knowledge creation. They fulfill an information need that otherwise would not be met.

There has been a sustained attack on our people since this war started. It is meant to create division and to project hate onto a particular group (sound familiar?). We need to counteract this abomination in strategic manners and use numbers to get our points across. People who myspace and facebook or other social networking—please feel free to link this and copy and paste into bulletins or notes.

I suggest we all write the AZ legislature and tell them what we think. I don’t think it will matter so much that you don’t live there. What will matter is that we tell them this kind of institutional racism will NOT be tolerated.

Arizona State Senate
Capitol Complex
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2890
Info Desk
(602) 926-3559
(602) 926-3429
Toll Free:

Tucson Office
400 West Congress St.
Suite 201

Tucson, AZ 85701

Senate Info Desk
(520) 398-6000
House Info Desk
(520) 398-6000
(520) 398-6028
Toll Free:

Arizona House of Representatives
Capitol Complex
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2890
Info Desk (602) 926-4221
Toll Free: 1-800-352-8404

We should also contact our state representatives and congress persons and let them know how we feel about this ethnocentric law:

State legislatures (Wikipedia just kicks butt sometimes—don’t it?)

US senate:

US house:

You know I wrote this last night, but was so upset I had to wait until this morning for a reread because I was afraid I wasn’t thinking clearly. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

Royce said...

This from the state that passed a bill to outlaw bilingual education? Hard to believe.

As someone who lived in Arizona for a few years, the legislature and politicians in that state are horribly out of touch with the citizenry. Add to that a large group of complacent voters, and shit like this even has a chance.

Thanks Max!


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