Immigration & Arizona: End Ethnic Studies Now?

https://readthespirit.com/ourvalues/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2013/03/wpid-dc_arizona_state_seal.jpgThis week, we’re exploring American values—and the overwhelming public response to Arizona’s new get-tough law concerning illegal immigrants. (You can read “Recent Posts” through the links at right.)

Now, following its landmark illegal-immigration law, Arizona is planning to ban ethnic studies—programs or courses focused on a particular racial or ethnic group. What do you think about such a move?

According to language in the House version of the bill, the premise of this new bill is that “public school pupils should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people.” The law prohibits a school district or charter school from having programs, courses, or classes that promote overthrowing the government or breed resentment toward a race or category of people. Also prohibited are programs or courses “designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group” or that “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

Ethnic studies arose in reaction to a pronounced eurocentric bias in history, culture, education, and so on. Ethnic studies give voice to the many minorities outside the eurocentric world. Ethnic studies have been attacked from the beginning, so in some ways Arizona’s move is just a recent salvo in an ongoing battle.

But what is your reaction? Do you approve or disapprove of Arizona’s ban? Whatever our feelings about it, the question remains: When is a good time end ethnic studies? Is there ever a good time? The need for ethnic studies, in my view, is clear. But there should also be some goal—some state or set of conditions—when we can say: The need isn’t there anymore. What might those conditions be? Are they just ideals—or are they attainable?

Please, click “Post a Comment” below and share your thoughts.

(Originally published at www.OurValues.org)

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