Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ethnic Studies banned in AZ

I saw this clip of AC 360 over at Immigration talk with a Mexican American. Great blog, check it out. Sigh, I really don't know what to say anymore about what is going on in AZ. Part of me understands that there is a problem in AZ and that people are fed up about it. Nothing has happened, so they've taken it upon themselves to fix those problems. The problem with that is that some of these people shouldn't be the ones making these calls. It's like all of a sudden, people in AZ are calling out anything that isn't "American" or promotes the ideals of "America." Those ideals and values of course being changed and reworded to promote whatever change they're trying to make so they can say they have the values of America in mind when enacting these laws.

One of the main arguments that Tom Horn uses is that "Raza" studies does nothing but teach kids that they are oppressed and to feel like shit, more or less. He also mentions that once kids take these classes, they become problematic because in classes they are taught to be proud of their race. His argument, more or less, is that school systems shouldn't teach ethnic studies because it doesn't promote unity within the educational system. While his points maybe some what true and not complete BS pulled out of a hat, if regular school curriculum incorporated the history taught in these ethnic studies classes, then they wouldn't be needed right ?

Before I took my first Chicano/a Studies class, I avoided them because I didn't want to be know as a Chicano or associated with them. I wash brain washed and conditioned to the mainstream curriculum. I always saw people taking those kid of classes as the flamboyant, prideful and head strong individuals who were all about their race/ethnicity and fuck everyone else. Never knowing anything about my own culture, I was ignorant as to what it really meant to be in a Chicano/a studies class and the things one learned.

I took my first class in 2009, two years after I saw The Cheech Marin Collection on exhibit. I found my way to Chicano/a studies through art, that's why my first class was about Mexican art and the Big three, Rivera, Siqueros and Orozco and other artist that made tremendous impacts with their works. After I took that class I took another class that introduced me to critical race theory and the study of society and what not. In that class I did realize how "oppressed" I am and how institutionalized a person can be in the educational system. In that class, I didn't learn to be prideful of my race, to oppose the government or mainstream society, as others would have you believe.

In that class I learned to critically think and analyze the world I live in, the system that governs us and to be mindful of the exploitation that happens to people who don't know any better and aren't self aware. In Chicano/a studies, I learned that while America has a history of oppressing different people, not just Latino/s. I learned that the system works best for those who happen to be of male, white privilege, something that has been happening in since the dawn of man, but that doesn't mean that there aren't successful Latinos/as. By learning about the history of Mexican Americans and American history in high school/middle school, I have a great view of both sides as they happened and how they were recorded differently. Banning ethnic studies is just plain stupid and riding on these anti-Latino/a trends that are happening. Next thing you know, AZ is gonna ban all Mexican food in the state.