Friday, February 10, 2012
02.10.12 Banning Books
It’s almost impossible to believe that books are being banned in the US, that librarians and public school officials are literally removing books from shelves, placing them in boxes and carting them away. There’s something surreal about that, something totally bizarre, and yet, at the same time, it seems completely in synch with the ongoing culture wars that have waging in the good ole USA since the 60’s. Conservative backlash….that’s what the latest intellectual counter-insurgency has been all about….belated conservative backlash. Really, isn’t it about time that neocons stopped with the lashing back and invested in finding a constructive alternative path? Wasn’t that the ‘promise’ of W’s compassionate conservativism? What about those “Christians” and their mega gatherings? They seem to have a ‘positive’ alternative that doesn’t involve banning, nor lashing. I’m all about gathering in the alternative you’d like to see in the world, the old Ghandian principle. Unfortunately that’s not what’s happening in Tuscon, Arizona these days, where “Public school officials in Tucson, Arizona, have released a list of seven books that can no longer be used in classrooms following their suspension of the district’s acclaimed Mexican American Studies program.” (Democracy Now, Jan 18, 2012)
The book ban in Tucson was brought to my attention at last Friday’s full faculty meeting that I was chairing, when my colleague announced this most recent implementation of State of Arizona House of Representatives Bill 2281. HB 2281 which was signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer in May, 2010, http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/12/nation/la-na-ethnic-studies-20100512
and less than two years later, the Tuscon school district has taken steps to ‘enforce’ this laws. For excellent coverage of this story go to Democracy Now!
I have taught Paulo Freire every year since I began teaching college in 1993. I have presented and published a number of scholarly articles on Freire, and have a poster of him on my office door. It’s bizarre to imagine that a few thousand miles to the West, the teaching of Freire is illegal. Yet, there’s something inspiring about the criminalization of Freire’s work. It’s a call to action, for sure, and I can’t wait to get back to my grad course next week, where students will be presenting papers that are, in part, responding to Freire’s work. I have so much energy running through my mind, body and soul at this moment that I can hardly type. All this news, these links, images, sounds, words are producing a crazy adrenaline rush! So I’ll just share a few links as a way of initiating some context for some follow-up posts in this blog
The significant lines of HB 2281 are the following:
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
2 Section 1. Title 15, chapter 1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes,
3 is amended by adding sections 15-111 and 15-112, to read:
4 15-111. Declaration of policy
5 THE LEGISLATURE FINDS AND DECLARES THAT PUBLIC SCHOOL PUPILS SHOULD BE
6 TAUGHT TO TREAT AND VALUE EACH OTHER AS INDIVIDUALS AND NOT BE TAUGHT TO
7 RESENT OR HATE OTHER RACES OR CLASSES OF PEOPLE.
8 15-112. Prohibited courses and classes; enforcement
9 A. A SCHOOL DISTRICT OR CHARTER SCHOOL IN THIS STATE SHALL NOT INCLUDE
10 IN ITS PROGRAM OF INSTRUCTION ANY COURSES OR CLASSES THAT INCLUDE ANY OF THE
12 1. PROMOTE THE OVERTHROW OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.
13 2. PROMOTE RESENTMENT TOWARD A RACE OR CLASS OF PEOPLE.
14 3. ARE DESIGNED PRIMARILY FOR PUPILS OF A PARTICULAR ETHNIC GROUP.
15 4. ADVOCATE ETHNIC SOLIDARITY INSTEAD OF THE TREATMENT OF PUPILS AS
Here's a link to the actual text of the law:
TO BE CONTINUED!....
Posted by Eduardo Duarte at 11:50 AM