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Tucson School System & Its Book Ban

I've been reading, over the past few days, Debbie Reese's posts on her blog American Indians in Children's Literature about the recent fiasco in Tucson. In response to the mandate from the state government that specialized programs like Mexican-American Studies no longer be taught, school officials demanded that books used in these classes be removed from classrooms. The removal was carried out during school hours - in one case, right before the eyes of the students as a class was taught. The teachers will have to jettison the rest of the year's lesson plans and come up with new ones - for general literature instead.

Also troubling is Arizona Superintendent for Public Instruction John Huppenthal's statement about what he saw and heard when he visited one of the classes in question. He was outraged by a poster of Che Guevara on the wall and says that the teacher called Benjamin Franklin racist. This is rather puzzling: when I took Russian history in high school in 1975, we had pictures of Stalin etc. on the wall, and no one flipped out. As for what the teacher said about Franklin that day ... a student video crew was filming, and the video is available online (link from the AICL blog).

Meanwhile, Indian Country Today supplied a link to this video, which shows another type of response:

You can check out the group's Website as well.

This entry is also posted at Dreamwidth. Comment at either location, as you prefer.

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
ginnyvos
Jan. 22nd, 2012 12:48 am (UTC)
That's... Not only, mean, unfair and racist, but also very, very dangerous and frightening.
chomiji
Jan. 23rd, 2012 02:52 am (UTC)

Yes. Arizona is a very strange and unpleasant place these days,politically.

helliongoddess
Jan. 22nd, 2012 07:45 am (UTC)
I would say that's amazing that they would go to that extreme, but unfortunately it's not all that surprising. It particularly pisses me of when political grandstaning like that not only succeeds but ends up undoing something that represents years of progress and social evolution, and basically sets us back where we were in the Forties or Fifties... one step forward, five giant steps back.

There was very little good I ever had to say about my old library system director, we really saw eye to eternal on almost nothing. But one thing I DID appreciate about her was that she was like a bulldog when it came to fights about banning books or other censorship, or any other civil liberties issue. She even went toe to toe with the local police when they wanted to start snooping into people's library card records and investigate their what books crime suspects had been reading. I did admire that about her.
chomiji
Jan. 23rd, 2012 02:56 am (UTC)

Huppenthal seems to be quite the piece of work, and he has some mouthpieces of a similar ilk. One of the other unpleasant twists in this whole situation is the punishment meted out to some students who protested about it: they were sentenced to janitorial work (link to Wonkette).

Librarians are awesome!

helliongoddess
Jan. 23rd, 2012 03:22 am (UTC)
Our State Attorney General here in VA is cut from the same cloth. His name is Ken Cuccinelli ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Cuccinelli ) and his politics are somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun. He has a particular hard-on against gays and women. He has even countermanded our own governor - his boss, and also a Republican - when it comes to equal rights hiring practices regarding GLBT folks, and seems to take particular delight in singling GLBT people and immigrants for his treatment. What's really frightening is that he seems to be convinced that he should be our next governor. I would say he would never get elected, but I didn't think our current one would, either. And then I look at the messes in Wisconsin and Michigan, and I realize we can never underestimate the stupidity of the American voter at times.....
chomiji
Jan. 24th, 2012 03:34 am (UTC)

Yeah, I know a bit about Cuccinelli. I went to UVa (hated it, mostly), so a headline about LGBT benefits there caught my eye. I'm just as glad that I don't live in VA any more. (I did during 1980-1990, approximately.)

The kids marched in Tucson today. Reese had more about it on her blog, and she was tweeting from the rally, but most of the news coverage has been AZ-local.

vom_marlowe
Jan. 22nd, 2012 02:05 pm (UTC)
I'm going to see if ALA is on this; if not, I'll contact my roundtable about it. God damn, I hate people some days. (ALA has an army of lawyers specifically for book in school challenges.)
chomiji
Jan. 23rd, 2012 02:58 am (UTC)

Re ALA: Apparently they are - Reese blogged about it just today. I'm glad to hear that they are getting into this.

helliongoddess
Jan. 23rd, 2012 03:24 am (UTC)
That's good to hear. ALA has at times been a surprisingly powerful and influential force when it comes to things like this, at least they were back when I was still in libraries. I would be surprised (and a little disappointed) if of a lot of Native American groups don't raise holy hell about it, too, and rightfully so.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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