An Arizona state Law bans ethnic studies classes and facing a multimillion-dollar penalty in state funds, the governing board of Tucson’s largest school district officially ended its 13-year-old program.
Along with Shakespeare's The Tempest, Rethinking Columbus - the Next 500 Years is on the banned list. Other banned books include “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Brazilian educator Paolo Freire and “Occupied America: A History of Chicanos” , a 40-year-old textbook now in its seventh edition by Rodolfo Acuña and “Critical Race Theory” by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic. The administration also removed every textbook dealing with Mexican-American history, including “Chicano!: The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement” by Arturo Rosales and “500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures,” by Elizabeth Martinez
Arizona has passed a Anti-Immigration Law, which aims to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants. By attempting to shut down Mexican-American and ethnic-focused programs they, perhaps, hope that racial, ethnic and political issues will magically go away. To justify bigoted laws, they have claimed, in a very devious way, that ethnic and racial oriented classes can only foster division among the pupils and in society in general. These same laws are nothing but mechanisms to legalise racist and discriminatory policies.
Evidently the state of Arizona and the TUSD to notice that almost 60 per cent of those under the authority of the TUSD have Mexican-American backgrounds. They have also failed to see that even the name of their state, Arizona, is in itself a Spanish variation of the Aztec word Arizuma, meaning "silver-bearing".
Tampering with history, the way that Arizonan legislators and teaching authorities have just done, is nothing new. Only a few weeks ago, the government of Sebastian Pinera of Chile decided to change the term used to describe Augusto Pinochet's regime in all primary school textbooks. What until then had been defined in the classrooms across the nation as a "dictatorship", was renamed in more neutral terms as a "military regime" - where 2,095 people were assassinated, and more than 1,100 were "disappeared" and never found.
In both Arizona and Chile the authorities have chosen the path of repressing historical memory in order to reinforce social control.