Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Arizona "Ethnic Studies" Law: HB 2281

Arizona, the home of the Immigration law, Senate Bill 1070 which we most recently discussed here, is now also home to an "ethnic studies" law, House Bill 2281, which Governor Jan Brewer (pictured below) has signed.


The law prohibits any school or charter school from including in its program of instruction any courses or classes that:

  • Promote resentment toward a race or class of people; 
  • Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group; or
  • Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals

[Update: CSMonitor article here]


Current Affairs, Equal Protection, Race, State Constitutional Law | Permalink

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I notice that you forgot to mention the first item that the bill covers

Promote the overthrow of the United States government.

why did you leave that out?

Posted by: Peterk | Jun 9, 2010 11:27:24 AM

Peterk says: "I notice that you forgot to mention the first item that the bill covers

Promote the overthrow of the United States government.

why did you leave that out?"

Please see the Declaration of Independence (excerpt below), which would apparently be illegal to teach under this law, since the Declaration specifically states that, under certain circumstances, it is the "RIGHT of the people to alter or to abolish" "ANY form of government." The circumstances are when that government is "destructive" to "certain unalienable rights." This would manifestly include the US government (ANY form of government) should that government be deemed to be "destructive" to the rights in question.

The proposed law would have to govern each and every instance, theoretical, hypothetical, or otherwise, of any teaching regarding the "overthrow of the US government."

Beyond that, can anyone explain the following:

1) How, exactly, do "ethnic studies" "promote resentment toward a race or class of people?"
2) Doesn't this very law, in fact, promote such resentment?
3) If it is illegal to design a class "primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group," will studies on Greek, Roman, and European culture be illegal? Will studies of Christian history? European settlers of North and South America? Chinese history and culture? Aztecs, Church of England, Mormons, Lakota, ROTC?
In other words, how is it determined that any class is "designed" for the pupils taking the course? Is it okay to study the subject, except if you are a student for whom the course was designed? But then, isn't ANY course designed for the students presumably taking the course?
4) How does advocacy of "ethnic solidarity" undermine "the treatment of pupils as individuals?"
5)What is "ethnic solidarity?"
6)How are any of these activities related to the "overthrow of the US government?"

Please explain.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Posted by: Allan | Jul 26, 2010 8:10:42 AM

I really cant say i blame Arizona. The reason why is the fact that the majority of Americans don't understand Spanish and Do not realize what the " La Raza" group is promoting. My husband is hispanic so I fortunately do know what they r saying on thier radio shows. They are promoting the Idea that Mexicans are the true owners of the American land and that they are responsible for taking it back from " whitey" by force if necessary. Arizona along with the other border states are unfortunately on the "front line" of this issue so they are the ones dealing with this. We hear all the sob stories but the citizens of Arizona are being over run in thier own homes by this. Learn spanish and then start listening to the mexican radio stations and your jaw will hit the floor!

Posted by: nina simone | Apr 27, 2011 8:31:38 PM


You do not need to speak Spanish to understand what this issue is about. I do not believe you have read up on the topic, but rather, you give in to whatever comes to your mind.

"La Raza" simply means "the Race." Is not an imperialistic or superior label, it is only a a label to self-identity. Everyone has a need to identify and "La Raza" is a means whereby Latino, Chicano, and Mexican people identify themselves. It neither promotes racism not exclusion. It simply means - we are a people of value.

While it is true that the land grants after 1848 were taken illegaly, I believe you would find that most Hispanic peoples do not promote that any lands should be taken back by force. That is also inherently true in the literature and the texts they promote. If you read them, you would find no mention of "Reconquista" or taking back the lands. It is quite different than saying, this land used to belong to Mexico and/or Spain. That is just plainly a historical fact.

When you mention that the Arizona and the other border states are dealing with this - I assume you mean, immigration? Arizona, incidentally, does not have the highest percentage of undocumented immigrants. California does. California, however, is much more amiable in its immigration policies and something that the extremist right-wing politicians will not tell you is that they ride the "let's pick on the undocumented and the Mexicans" so we can get elected. It works in Arizona. What they don't tell you is that even though the people of Arizona would vote this kind of legislation and politicians in, they also favor policies which would make immigrants gain legal status.

As far as the "whitey" question. The question of "Chicano" vs. "whitey" in Ethnic Studies is not the issue. It never is. If it were so, history would not be able to be taught because the United States has a long history of oppression with other groups--enslaved, native Americans, and women, to name a few. The question is not to place people against one another, but rather, to give a broader perspective in history and literature.

"Jaw will hit the floor?" Really? What radio stations do you listen to?

Posted by: Jose | Nov 24, 2012 11:20:19 AM

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