Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ethnic "Poetry"

A concerned parent attended a TUSD Board Meeting on May 10, 2011 exposing a portion of the Ethnic Studies Curriculum used in grades 3 - 12. 

This parent pointed to several areas of the textbook with inappropriate and explicit language, including Spanish curse words. 

An Epic Poem

I shed tears of sorrow, I sow seeds of hate
The force of tyranny of men who rule by farce and hypocrisy,
In a country that has wiped out all my history, stifled all my pride….
My land is lost and stolen, My culture has been raped
Poverty and city-living under the colonial system of the Anglo
Has frustrated our people’s culture
One note, especially to those young chicanos, hard drugs and the drug culture
Is the invention of the gringo because he has no culture.
We have to destroy capitalism…The Declaration of Independence states that
We the people have the right to revolution, the right to overthrow a government
That has committed abuses and seeks complete control over the people.
This is in order to clean out the corrupted, rotten officials that developed
Out of any type of capitalistic systems.

At around 2:55 on the video, one board member stopped her and said, "I'm going to ask that the language be not mentioned during public meetings. We have young people in this room. It’s inappropriate.”

The crowd could be heard laughing at the hypocrisy in his statement.  If public school children as young as eight are being exposed to this sort of language in a text book, why wouldn't it be appropriate to read in front of the grown ups on the school board?  One parent yelled out from the audience, “They’re teaching it in your classroom!”

One of the supporters of the Ethnic Studies program is Stephen Lemons seen on the left. 

Lemons writes for the Phoenix New Times and has written glowing articles on Parraz and his exploits over the years.

In an article entitled, “Ethnic Studies Equals Politically Conscious Latino Students — Which is Exactly Why Its Enemies Want to Kill It,” Lemons wrote:

This is also the general line, BTW, that the Arizona Republic's official crotchety old white man, Doug MacEachern, who — like a lot of mean, ornery, tea-bagger-esque ofays — is genuinely terrified of young, intelligent Latinos, armed with facts and logic.
God forbid these young people ever grow up, go to college, and become [Attorney General Tom] Horne and MacEachern's worst nightmares: members of a new political establishment that will condemn theirs to a timely grave.

Indeed, the Ethnic Studies courses are meant to provide a different world view.  As one girl said, "It's definately empowering in the sense of you feel better about yourself.  More confident in what you speak....when you learn how to speak more confidently, that also helps you out in the real world.  When you're in an interview, you're able to, you know, hold your head up high and say 'This is who I am.  This is what I believe in.' This is how these programs have helped me."

We certainly can see how these programs have taught confidence and empowerment.  However, I'm not exactly sure this kind of confidence and empowerment will fly in a job interview in the real world.