Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Why Should Anyone Care About Arizona?

Henry Giroux has just posted a brilliant article—quite long and definitely worth the read—entitled "Book Burning in Arizona." It is not merely an account of the recent shut down by the State Superintendent of Instruction of an ethnic studies course in the Tucson Unified School District, but a sweeping denunciation of anti-democratic authoritarianism in history and at large today.

If Giroux's analysis does not convince you that Arizona is front and center in the assault on public institutions in the United States, then I will attempt to convince you of that in a future posting.

In the meantime, watch to Giroux point the finger at AZ:

Crafted at a time when Arizona is at the forefront of a number of states in enacting a right-wing offensive that produces anti-immigrant and anti-Latino opinions, sentiments, and policies, the law was designed not only to provide political caché for Arizona conservatives seeking political office, but also to impose regulations "which [would] dismantle the state's popular Mexican-American/Raza Studies programs."

Buried beneath Arizona's new mode of education, pedagogy and politics is a return to a frightening antidemocratic ideology and a set of reactionary policies.

Arizona is but one example of how, at the current moment, what goes into American culture, what is aired in the media, and what is taught in both public and higher education is being intensely policed by right-wing fundamentalists in all sectors of society.

... what we see happening in Arizona poses a threat both to critical education and to the very nature of democracy itself.

Among the many noteworthy passages in Giroux's article is the following, that refers to Tom Horne, former State Superintendent of Education and now Attorney General of the State:
Not only has Horne invoked racist attacks against Mexican-Americans for over a decade, but he also has a long history of criminal behavior, including being banned for life from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). As a Tea Party favorite, he has been able to indulge his anti-immigrant racism with impunity, particularly since assuming public office in a state whose tough immigration laws have elevated it to one of the most high-profile states targeting and waging a racist attack on immigrants and all Latinos.
I had heard such things rumored about Tom Horne as far back as when he was running for State Superintendent, but this is the first time I have ever seen them mentioned in a credible place.

Gene V Glass
University of Colorado Boulder
Arizona State University

No comments:

Post a Comment