Ethnic Studies For Everyone
Recently, Amanda Fairbanks wrote a post about Arizona House Bill 2281 which will eventually ban Ethnic Studies from the state's curriculum as well as other courses that fit under certain criteria. Let's go through this list...
* Promote overthrowing the U.S. government.
I hang out with a lot of Ethnic Studies and International Relations majors and I admit that many people are against the U.S. government. But they are against it in the sense that they want their country to acknowledge and provide for all citizens (and immigrants!), and our current government is not doing that.
* Promote resentment towards a race or class of people.
I suppose a lot of people against Ethnic Studies think that these course materials promote hatred towards white individuals. But students are asked to look at their country's history and see the trends that emerge from the injustices on people of a certain race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Whether there is a trend of white patriarchal superiority is up to the student to decide, though it becomes quite obvious after extensive research.
* Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic race.
As a person of Chinese descent, I am a bit partial to the Asian American Studies course I took, but these courses are meant to enlighten all people who are willing to learn with an open mind. Ethnic Studies focus on social justice for everyone, not just a particular racial community.
* Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.
If you've never understood affirmative action, my argument in this section will be a bit confusing. To regard all people as the same is to be culturally insensitive. We don't all have the same background, socioeconomic status, etc. The "privileges" granted to communities of color, such as affirmative action, are actually necessary in order to have a truly "equal" world. As a reaction to the numerous scholarships available to people of certain ethnic backgrounds, conservative groups have created "white only" scholarships. But according to Tim Wise, 93% of scholarships are given to white individuals. (Somewhat) similarly, women are still hired less often than men. We have to acknowledge that we don't actually live in an equal world. Also, Ethnic Studies encourages students to stand in solidarity for all communities. After all, these courses are open to everyone!
If Ethnic Studies does anything, it UNIFIES the country. It critically looks at the government's past and present mistakes and promotes positive political and social change that will benefit everyone, not just people of color. The cause I work for is your cause, too!