Governor Jan Bewer is turning her guns ethnic study programs this time. According to Arizon's school chief Tom Horne, programs that teach Mexican-American students about their history "teaches Latino students that they are oppressed by white people." Bewer's spokesperson expressed similar sentiment, "The governor believes ... public school students should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people."
The best way I can express my reaction to yet another Arizona failure
But you know, what I really despise about this (besides the obvious bigotry that spawned this of course) is faulty reasoning behind it. The statements of these officials reflect a common sentiment among Americans: any gain of minorities is an affront to European-Americans. The looming prospect of an equal playing field makes many feel victimized. European-American students can enjoy an entire school system that revolves around them, but as we begin to extend this privilege to students of all races, they cry that they are under attack. I wish America would learn that when minorities advance in this system and work to make a better life for ourselves, it is not to the detriment of European-Americans. On the contrary, equality may eliminate white privilege, but ultimately everyone benefits. As Sean Arce noted in the article, "students perform better in school if they see in the curriculum people who look like them." If ethnic studies encourage minority students do work harder in school, which in turn results in a more educated population, then we should promote the programs rather than restricting on them; however, they cannot see that all of America will profit from furthering the interest of minorities.
There was a portion of this article that did make me laugh. A Republican running for attorney general has been attacking ethnic studies since he heard Dolores Huerta, a Hispanic civil right's activist, tell students in 2006 "Republicans hate Latinos." Way to prove her right! Republicans have always struggled with the racist connotations that are attached to their party, but in recent days it seems that they are really trying to fuel that fire. If they keep it up, they will alienate their rational supporters and will be identified with extremist.