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Rethinking Columbus Banned in Tucson; Neo-Racism in the Southwest/Banning of Books Signals Revolution in Tucson

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  • Rick Kissell
    ... From: Dorinda Moreno To: Latinos in Education ; Artists against Arizona
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 28, 2012

      ----- Forwarded Message -----
      From: Dorinda Moreno <fuerzamundial@...>
      To: Latinos in Education <latinosineducation@yahoogroups.com>; Artists against Arizona <artistsagainstarizona@...>; Local/National/Global <Community4ImmigrantRights@yahoogroups.com>; south_bay_activists <south_bay_activists@yahoogroups.com>; bayareapolitics <bayareapolitics@yahoogroups.com>; juntos_sf <juntos_sf@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2012 12:46 AM
      Subject: [south_bay_activists] LIST OF BANNED BOOKS; Rethinking Columbus Banned in Tucson; Neo-Racism in the Southwest/Banning of Books Signals Revolution in Tucson

      From Randy Shaw/BeyondChron
      Thought my story today would interest you, as it also addresses situation in Tucson, http://beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=9835
      By Bill Bigelow
      Rethinking Columbus bannedImagine our surprise.
      Rethinking Schools learned today that for the first time in its more-than-20-year history, our bookRethinking Columbus was banned by a school district: Tucson, Arizona. According to journalist Jeff Biggers, officials with the Tucson Unified School District ordered that teachers pull the book from their classrooms, evidently as an outcome of the school board’s 4-1 vote this week to abolish the Mexican American Studies program.
      As I mentioned to Biggers when we spoke, the last time a book of mine was outlawed was during the state of emergency in apartheid South Africa in 1986, when the regime there banned the curriculum I’d written, Strangers in Their Own Country, likely because it included excerpts from a speech by then-imprisoned Nelson Mandela. Confronting massive opposition at home and abroad, the white minority government feared for its life in 1986. It’s worth asking what the school authorities in Arizona fear today.
      I called the Tucson schools this morning seeking a statement about why they ordered Rethinking Columbus removed from classrooms. The superintendent’s office referred me to Cara Rene, Director of Communications and Media Relations for the school district. Rene has not yet returned my two phone calls.
      For the record, Rethinking Columbus is Rethinking Schools’ top-selling book, having sold well over 300,000 copies. And over the years many school districts have not banned, but have purchased Rethinking Columbus for use with students. These include: Portland, Ore., Milwaukee, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, Ont., Atlanta, New York City, Anchorage, Alaska, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Chicago, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Oakland, San Diego, Portland, Maine, Washington, DC, Cincinnati; Rochester, NY, Cambridge, Mass., Missoula, Montana, and the state of Maryland, as well as smaller towns like Stillwater, Minnesota; Athens, Ohio; Eugene, Oregon; and Estes, Colorado.
      We published the first edition of Rethinking Columbus back in September of 1991, on the eve of 500th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in the Americas—what theChicago Tribune promised would be the “most stupendous international celebration in the history of notable celebrations.” Rethinking Schools was determined to provide teachers with resources to prompt a more critical approach to the commemoration.
      In our introduction to that first edition of the book (edited by Bob Peterson, Barbara Miner, and me) we wrote, “Why rethink Christopher Columbus? Because the Columbus myth is basic to children’s beliefs about society. For many youngsters the tale of Columbus introduces them to a history of this country, even to history itself. The ‘discovery of America’ is children’s first curricular exposure to the encounter between two races. As such, a study of Columbus is really a study about us—how we think about each other, our country, and our relations with people around the world.”
      Twenty years later, these still seem like pretty sound reasons to “rethink Columbus.” And we would ask school officials in Tucson: Why not rethink Columbus?
      What’s to fear? Rethinking Columbus offers teaching strategies and readings that teachers can use to help students consider perspectives that are too often silenced in the traditional curriculum. For example, in 30 years of teaching, virtually all my high school students had heard of the fellow who is said to have discovered America: Christopher Columbus. However, none had heard of the people who discovered Columbus: the Taínos of the Caribbean. That fact underscores the importance of teachers having the resources to offer a fuller history to their students. Further, it points out the importance of developing teaching materials that ask students to interrogate the official curriculum about what (and who) it remembers and what (and who) it ignores—and why?
      Of course, the suppression of our book is only a small part of the effort by Arizona school officials to crush the wildly successful Mexican American Studies program in Tucson. The program itself exemplifies an effort to address critical questions about stories sorely lacking in today’s corporate-produced textbooks and standardized curriculum. Students in the Mexican American Studies classes will now be dispersed to other classes, according to the resolution passed this week by the governing board of Tucson schools.
      Learn more about the important struggle to preserve this program at Save Ethnic Studies in Arizona, and in articles by Jeff Biggers, at Common Dreams and below. And see my Rethinking Schools blog, “Repeat After Me: The United States Is Not an Imperialist Country—Oh, and Don’t Get Emotional About War.”
      Bill Bigelow is curriculum editor of Rethinking Schools magazine, co-editor with Bob Peterson of Rethinking Columbus, and author of The Line Between Us: Teaching About the Border and Mexican Immigration.
      #     #      #

      Neo-Racism in the Southwest

      January 18, 2012

      Neo-Racism in the Southwest


      The surge of neo-racism in Arizona, especially racism directed at
      people of Mexican descent, has received sporadic media coverage over
      the past year.  But for the most part news about the economy and
      presidential politics has pushed off the front page Arizona’s attack
      against its working class of color and their children.  In other
      words, the slow motion creation of a new Jim Crow regime for Mexican
      Americans in Arizona is not “trending.”

      But what is taking place in southern Arizona deserves our attention as
      the most fanatical episode in the war against public education.
      Specifically, the question being posed is whether or not young people
      from working class communities and communities of color ought to be
      educated and if they are what are they entitled to learn?

      Last month, the U.S. Supreme court agreed to hear Arizona’s appeal of
      a 9th Circuit decision that declared the draconian anti-immigrant SB
      1070 in violation of federal law and therefore unconstitutional.  In
      the meantime, those who promoted 1070 steadily go about their business
      dismantling the highly successful Mexican American Studies program in
      the Tucson school district.

      At first glance, the ban against “ethnic studies” would seem to be a
      prohibition against an entire academic discipline.  In reality, it is
      a narrowly targeted attack on Mexican American or Chicano studies.  As
      former University of Arizona dean Sal Baldenegro reports, the ban
      leaves other “ethnic studies” programs in place.

      Accompanying the elimination of Mexican American studies is a list of
      prohibited books.  Shakespeare’s The Tempest leaps off the list as the
      most recognizable title.  Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience and well-known
      histories by Howard Zinn, Ron Takaki, and Rudy Acuña join the
      castoffs.  According to the list, one-act plays by the Teatro
      campesino, short stories by Sandra Cisneros, essays by James Baldwin,
      and a speech by Cesar Chavez will be added to the bonfire (or at least
      sentenced to perpetual confinement in a local book depository).

      The list of banned books invokes more ironies than I am able to unpack
      here.  That a collection of short stories (Cisneros’s Woman Hollering
      Creek) whose main characters are young Latina women negotiating gender
      and ethnic roles should be on a list of banned readings seems silly.
      Silly unless one realizes that what frightens the right-wing Arizona
      politicians has less to do with the content of the books and more to
      do with the way they might be juxtaposed and interpreted by teachers
      who seek to empower their students.

      Joining Shakespeare on the banned list is former UC Berkeley professor
      Ron Takaki.  In his history of the United States, A Different Mirror,
      Takaki takes the image of Caliban from The Tempest and uses it to
      explain how Native Americans, African slaves, and almost every single
      immigrant group that has come to these shores­Irish, Jewish, Italian,
      Chinese, Mexican, and so on­have been cast as the monstrous and dark
      outsider and fed through the grinder of white supremacy and economic
      exploitation.  Perhaps the Arizona Inquisitors (as Rudy Acuña calls
      them) are smarter than we thought.

      But there is one more stunning paradox.  Although these books are
      banned for courses taught under the umbrella of Mexican American
      studies, many of the same books are allowed in other classes at
      schools such as Tucson’s University High where students are placed on
      a college track and exposed to a variety of uncensored curricular

      Could it be that the attack on Mexican American Studies in Arizona is
      less about “ethnic studies” and more about denying the right to
      education to the coming Latino majority (and to the Black community
      that the neoliberal consensus considers equally disposable)?

      Across the Arizona border in California, we are witnessing a related
      transformation that is different in its details, subtler, and less
      openly racist.  There are no Sugiyamas, Hornes, or Huppenthals, the
      henchmen of the Arizona Tribunal.  But throughout the University of
      California and Cal State systems invisible technocrats are slowly
      destroying the public university and converting it into a corporate
      bastion where students from California are displaced by foreign
      students (who pay more), where students are “taught” in classes of 900
      people, and where faculty are forced to become “entrepreneurs”–a fancy
      word for academic panhandlers.

      At UC San Diego (UCSD), campus leaders recently published their three
      top priority areas for the future–all of them had to do with creating
      products for the market.  The word “education” was not mentioned once.
       Academic areas that emphasize history and critical thinking are
      either shrinking or becoming a parody of themselves.  The push for
      on-line education is strong–no need to interact with real students.
      We simply sell them virtual courses and have underpaid graduate
      students grade the work. Administrators brag that UCSD is no longer a
      California university; it’s an international university­this in a
      state that will be majority Latino by the year 2040.

      As costs go up (more than a 300% increase at the UC system over the
      last decade), working class and youth of color will slowly be denied
      access.  The few that make it in will have to take on serious debt to
      finish.  The future? – Education for the already privileged and for a
      few tokens.  Education as preparation for the job market.  Education
      as the site of corporate-driven research.  Education to train elites
      from around the world.  No more critique of the status quo. Minimal
      engagement with local populations. A ban on critical pedagogy in the
      classroom.  No interest in teaching strategies that empower youth,
      especially those who do not already arrive with an abundance of social
      and economic capital.

      Back in Arizona, Yolanda Sotelo, now in her thirtieth year of teaching
      in Tucson schools, was informed last week that monitors would visit
      her classroom to make sure banned books were not being used.  Teachers
      who assigned reading from prohibited titles would be reprimanded.
      Monitors would also evaluate all posters in the classroom.  In other
      words, no critical thinking, no critical history, and no critical
      pedagogy for the new Calibans who must take their designated places in
      the market economy and forget their past.

      JORGE MARISCAL has taught at both public and private universities for
      thirty years. His latest book is “Brown-Eyed Children of the Sun:
      Lessons From the Chicano Movement ” (University of New Mexico Press).
      His website is http://jorgemariscal.blogspot.com/

      Freedom Archives
      522 Valencia Street
      San Francisco, CA 94110

      415 863-9977



      Banning of Books Signals Revolution in Tucson
      Angel Gonzalez gee.lee21@...
      Saturday, January 14, 2012

      Banned book includes Leslie Marmon Silko, Buffy Sainte Marie and Winona LaDuke

      By Brenda Norrell

      Censored News
      Translation in French:

      TUCSON -- Outrage was the response on Saturday to the news that Tucson
      schools has banned books, including "Rethinking Columbus," with an
      essay by award-winning Pueblo author Leslie Marmon Silko, who lives in
      Tucson, and works by Buffy Sainte Marie, Winona LaDuke, Leonard
      Peltier and Rigoberta Menchu.

      The decision to ban books follows the 4 to 1 vote on Tuesday by the
      Tucson Unified School District board to succumb to the State of
      Arizona, and forbid Mexican American Studies, rather than fight the
      state decision.

      Students said the books were seized from the classrooms and out of
      their hands after the vote banning Mexican American Studies, including
      a book of photos of Mexico. Crying, students said it was like Nazi
      Germany and they have been unable to sleep since it happened.

      The banned book, "Rethinking Columbus," includes work by many Native
      Americans, as Debbie Reese of Nambe Pueblo reports. The book includes:

      Suzan Shown Harjo's "We Have No Reason to Celebrate"
      Buffy Sainte-Marie's "My Country, 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying"
      Joseph Bruchac's "A Friend of the Indians"
      Cornel Pewewardy's "A Barbie-Doll Pocahontas"
      N. Scott Momaday's "The Delight Song of Tsoai-Talee"
      Michael Dorris's "Why I'm Not Thankful for Thanksgiving"
      Leslie Marmon's "Ceremony"
      Wendy Rose's "Three Thousand Dollar Death Song"
      Winona LaDuke's "To the Women of the World: Our Future, Our Responsibility"

      The now banned reading list of the Tucson schools' Mexican American
      Studies includes two books by Native American author Sherman Alexie
      and a book of poetry by O'odham poet Ofelia Zepeda.

      Jeff Biggers writes in Salon:

      The list of removed books includes the 20-year-old textbook
      “Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years,” which features an essay by
      Tucson author Leslie Silko. Recipient of a Native Writers’ Circle of
      the Americas Lifetime Achievement Award and a MacArthur Foundation
      genius grant, Silko has been an outspoken supporter of the ethnic
      studies program.

      Biggers said Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest," was also banned during
      the meeting this week. Administrators told Mexican-American studies
      teachers to stay away from any class units where “race, ethnicity and
      oppression are central themes."

      Other banned books include “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by famed
      Brazilian educator Paolo Freire and “Occupied America: A History of
      Chicanos” by Rodolfo Acuña, two books often singled out by Arizona
      state superintendent of public instruction John Huppenthal, who
      campaigned in 2010 on the promise to “stop la raza.” Huppenthal, who
      once lectured state educators that he based his own school principles
      for children on corporate management schemes of the Fortune 500,
      compared Mexican-American studies to Hitler Jugend indoctrination last

      Bill Bigelow, co-author of Rethinking Columbus, writes:

      Imagine our surprise.
      Rethinking Schools learned today that for the first time in its
      more-than-20-year history, our book Rethinking Columbus was banned by
      a school district: Tucson, Arizona ...

      As I mentioned to Biggers when we spoke, the last time a book of mine
      was outlawed was during the state of emergency in apartheid South
      Africa in 1986, when the regime there banned the curriculum I’d
      written, Strangers in Their Own Country, likely because it included
      excerpts from a speech by then-imprisoned Nelson Mandela. Confronting
      massive opposition at home and abroad, the white minority government
      feared for its life in 1986. It’s worth asking what the school
      authorities in Arizona fear today.

      Click to enlarge: Books in classrooms during audit.
      Roberto Rodriguez, professor at University of Arizona, is also among
      the nation's top Chicano and Latino authors on the Mexican American
      Studies reading list. Rodriguez' column about this week's school board
      decision, posted at Censored News, is titled: "Tucson school officials
      caught on tape 'urinating' on Mexican

      Rodriguez responded to Censored News on Sunday about the banning of
      his books at Tucson schools.

      "The attacks in Arizona are mind-boggling. To ban the teaching of a
      discipline is draconian in and of itself. However, there is also now a
      banned books list that accompanies the ban. I believe 2 of my books
      are on the list, which includes: Justice: A Question of Race and The X
      in La Raza. Two others may also be on the list," Rodriguez said.

      "That in itself is jarring, but we need to remember the proper
      context. This is not simply a book-banning; according to Tom Horne,
      the former state schools' superintendent who designed HB 2281, this is
      part of a civilizational war. He determined that Mexican American
      Studies is not based on Greco-Roman knowledge and thus, lies outside
      of Western Civilization.

      "In a sense, he is correct. The philosophical foundation for MAS is a
      maiz-based philosophy that is both, thousands of years old  and
      Indigenous to this continent. What has just happened is akin to an
      Auto de Fe -- akin to the 1562 book-burning of Maya books in 1562 at
      Mani, Yucatan. At TUSD, the list of banned books will total perhaps 50
      books, including artwork and posters.

      "For us here in Tucson, this is not over. If anything, the banning of
      books will let the world know precisely what kind of mindset is
      operating here; in that previous era, this would be referred to as a
      reduccion (cultural genocide) of all things Indigenous. In this era,
      it can too also be see as a reduccion."

      The reading list includes world acclaimed Chicano and Latino authors,
      along with Native American authors. The list includes books by Corky
      Gonzales, along with Sandra Cisneros’ “The House on Mango Street;”
      Jimmy Santiago Baca’s “Black Mesa Poems,“ and L.A. Urreas’ “The
      Devil’s Highway.“ The authors include Henry David Thoreau and the
      popular book “Like Water for Chocolate.”

      On the reading list are Native American author Sherman Alexie's books,
      “Ten Little Indians,“ and “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in
      Heaven.“ O’odham poet and professor Ofelia Zepeda’s “Ocean Power,
      Poems from the Desert” is also on the list.

      DA Morales writes in Three Sonorans, at Tucson Citizen, about the role
      of state schools chief John Huppenthal. "Big Brother Huppenthal has
      taken his TEA Party vows to take back Arizona… take it back a few
      centuries with official book bans that include Shakespeare!"

      Curriculum Audit of the Mexican American Studies Department, Tucson
      Unified School District, May 2, 2011.

      High School Course Texts and Reading Lists Table 20: American
      Government/Social Justice Education Project 1, 2 - Texts and Reading

      Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (1998), by B. Bigelow and B. Peterson

      The Latino Condition: A Critical Reader (1998), by R. Delgado and J. Stefancic

      Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (2001), by R. Delgado and J. Stefancic

      Pedagogy of the Oppressed (2000), by P. Freire

      United States Government: Democracy in Action (2007), by R. C. Remy

      Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (2006), by F. A. Rosales

      Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology
      (1990), by H. Zinn

      Table 21: American History/Mexican American Perspectives, 1, 2 - Texts
      and Reading Lists

      Occupied America: A History of Chicanos (2004), by R. Acuna

      The Anaya Reader (1995), by R. Anaya

      The American Vision (2008), by J. Appleby et el.

      Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (1998), by B. Bigelow and B. Peterson

      Drink Cultura: Chicanismo (1992), by J. A. Burciaga

      Message to Aztlan: Selected Writings (1997), by C. Jiminez

      De Colores Means All of Us: Latina Views Multi-Colored Century (1998),
      by E. S. Martinez

      500 Anos Del Pueblo Chicano/500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures
      (1990), by E. S. Martinez

      Codex Tamuanchan: On Becoming Human (1998), by R. Rodriguez

      The X in La Raza II (1996), by R. Rodriguez

      Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (2006), by F. A. Rosales

      A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present (2003), by H. Zinn

      Course: English/Latino Literature 7, 8

      Ten Little Indians (2004), by S. Alexie

      The Fire Next Time (1990), by J. Baldwin

      Loverboys (2008), by A. Castillo

      Women Hollering Creek (1992), by S. Cisneros

      Mexican WhiteBoy (2008), by M. de la Pena

      Drown (1997), by J. Diaz

      Woodcuts of Women (2000), by D. Gilb

      At the Afro-Asian Conference in Algeria (1965), by E. Guevara

      Color Lines: "Does Anti-War Have to Be Anti-Racist Too?" (2003), by E. Martinez

      Culture Clash: Life, Death and Revolutionary Comedy (1998), by R.
      Montoya et al.

      Let Their Spirits Dance (2003) by S. Pope Duarte

      Two Badges: The Lives of Mona Ruiz (1997), by M. Ruiz

      The Tempest (1994), by W. Shakespeare

      A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America (1993), by R. Takaki

      The Devil's Highway (2004), by L. A. Urrea

      Puro Teatro: A Latino Anthology (1999), by A. Sandoval-Sanchez & N.
      Saporta Sternbach

      Twelve Impossible Things before Breakfast: Stories (1997), by J. Yolen

      Voices of a People's History of the United States (2004), by H. Zinn

      Course: English/Latino Literature 5, 6

      Live from Death Row (1996), by J. Abu-Jamal

      The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven (1994), by S. Alexie

      Zorro (2005), by I. Allende

      Borderlands La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1999), by G. Anzaldua

      A Place to Stand (2002), by J. S. Baca

      C-Train and Thirteen Mexicans (2002), by J. S. Baca

      Healing Earthquakes: Poems (2001), by J. S. Baca

      Immigrants in Our Own Land and Selected Early Poems (1990), by J. S. Baca

      Black Mesa Poems (1989), by J. S. Baca

      Martin & Mediations on the South Valley (1987), by J. S. Baca

      The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America's
      Public Schools (19950, by D. C. Berliner and B. J. Biddle

      Drink Cultura: Chicanismo (1992), by J. A Burciaga

      Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United
      States (2005), by L. Carlson & O. Hijuielos

      Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing up Latino in the United States
      (1995), by L. Carlson & O. Hijuielos

      So Far From God (1993), by A. Castillo

      Address to the Commonwealth Club of California (1985), by C. E. Chavez

      Women Hollering Creek (1992), by S. Cisneros

      House on Mango Street (1991), by S. Cisneros

      Drown (1997), by J. Diaz

      Suffer Smoke (2001), by E. Diaz Bjorkquist

      Zapata's Discipline: Essays (1998), by M. Espada

      Like Water for Chocolate (1995), by L. Esquievel

      When Living was a Labor Camp (2000), by D. Garcia

      La Llorona: Our Lady of Deformities (2000), by R. Garcia

      Cantos Al Sexto Sol: An Anthology of Aztlanahuac Writing (2003), by C.
      Garcia-Camarilo, et al.

      The Magic of Blood (1994), by D. Gilb

      Message to Aztlan: Selected Writings (2001), by Rudolfo "Corky" Gonzales

      Saving Our Schools: The Case for Public Education, Saying No to "No
      Child Left Behind" (2004) by Goodman, et al.

      Feminism if for Everybody (2000), by b hooks

      The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (1999), by F. Jimenez

      Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools (1991), by J. Kozol

      Zigzagger (2003), by M. Munoz

      Infinite Divisions: An Anthology of Chicana Literature (1993), by T.
      D. Rebolledo & E. S. Rivero

      ...y no se lo trago la tierra/And the Earth Did Not Devour Him (1995),
      by T. Rivera

      Always Running - La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. (2005), by L. Rodriguez

      Justice: A Question of Race (1997), by R. Rodriguez

      The X in La Raza II (1996), by R. Rodriguez

      Crisis in American Institutions (2006), by S. H. Skolnick & E. Currie

      Los Tucsonenses: The Mexican Community in Tucson, 1854-1941 (1986), by
      T. Sheridan

      Curandera (1993), by Carmen Tafolla

      Mexican American Literature (1990), by C. M. Tatum

      New Chicana/Chicano Writing (1993), by C. M. Tatum

      Civil Disobedience (1993), by H. D. Thoreau

      By the Lake of Sleeping Children (1996), by L. A. Urrea

      Nobody's Son: Notes from an American Life (2002), by L. A. Urrea

      Zoot Suit and Other Plays (1992), by L. Valdez

      Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert (1995), by O. Zepeda

      Angel Gonzalez

      "It takes a village to raise a child."
      … But what happens when the village & schools are pillaged by the 1 %
      These Vultures then blame the teachers, parents & children for the poor results.

      Vicente "Panama' Alba
      Tel # 917 626 5847

      "Lets Be Realistic
      Lets Do The Impossible"
      Ernesto "Che" Guevara


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