It’s not enough to be a modern Nativist in Arizona, you have to be vigilant against facts and viewpoints that challenge your orthodoxy. University Professor of Law at Seattle University Richard Delgado and Research Professor of Law at Seattle University Jean Stefancic explain:
Last week, the Tucson Unified School District eliminated a popular Mexican American Studies program in local high schools that, in a short period of time, had done a lot of good. Established a few years ago pursuant to a desegregation decree and taught by charismatic teachers, the program had increased the graduation rate of Mexican-origin kids to 93 percent; nationally the rate is around 50. Since the Tucson school district is heavily Latino, that’s a lot of kids. Egged on by anti-immigrant groups, the Anglo-dominated administration decided that the program was un-American and divisive because it taught the kids about the War with Mexico, struggles for school desegregation, and Jim Crow laws under which people with brown skins had to sit in the balcony of movie theaters, take a back seat in restaurants, swim in public pools on one day of the week only, and work according to a dual wage scale, one for Anglos, the other for Mexicans.
When an outside audit gave the program a positive review, the district ended it anyway and, for good measure, ordered that teachers discontinue using texts like Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States, Rodolfo Anaya’s Bless Me Ultima, Rodolfo Acuna’s Occupied America: A History of Chicanos, Elizabeth Martinez’s 500 Years of Chicano History, William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and a book by the two of us, Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, in classes where they had found an eager readership of brown teenagers.
To make sure that everyone got the point, the authorities directed the staff to collect and box seven of the most offensive books during class time so that the students would see them being packed up and carried to trucks bound for a distant book depository.