Dark Days in Arizona

Do students have the right to learn about their own heritage? Not in Arizona they don't. Somewhat improbably, Arizona's Jan Brewer is at it again.

After signing the most restrictive anti-illegal immigration legislation in the country

and removing teachers who speak heavily-accented English, she has now banned ethnic studies from the state's curriculum.

Arizona House Bill 2281 prohibits courses that:

* Promote overthrowing the U.S. government.
* Promote resentment towards a race or class of people.
* Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic race.
* Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.

Supposedly, the bill's target

is the Tuscon Unified School District's Mexican-American studies program, which the law's proponents claim teaches Latino students to believe they're being oppressed by white people.

"The kids learn, for example, that Arizona was once part of Mexico, and that in the 1960s Chicano radicals called for reclaiming the land," writes Valerie Strauss. Also, courses examine the role that Hispanics played in the Vietnam War and the contribution of Latino authors.

Sounds pretty subversive.

I suppose that if there's a bright spot to any of this, it's that Brewer is up for re-election this fall.

Photo (cc) via Flickr user Ms. Phoenix.