During a recent vacation trip to the South Dakota Badlands, my family and I made a short detour to a defunct nuclear...
By Luis Alberto Urrea
It is a baffling thing to encounter racist runoff from the toxic waste dump of the power elite. The entire slaughter of Mexican American Studies by the TUSD and the good state of AZ is an end-game of the shenanigans of the Arpaiocracy that unleashed such brilliant Going Out of Business polices as the anti-Beaner SB 1070. Their explanation is that the books weren't "banned," but merely "boxed." Perhaps, back in Germany, books weren't "burned," merely "incensed."
The issue seems to be the power boys and girls are afraid that studying MacArthur winning Tohon O'odam poet Ofelia Zepeda is un-American. Cult-like. Divisive. Yes, that's right--Indians are out too. Sherman Alexie, that notorious wetback, has been ba--ed, boxed. As well as that notorious narco, Guillermo Shakespeare. Thoreau--well. Come on. When isn't Thoreau banned? I hereby make him an Honorary Homeboy.
It's the last grip of a pasty, sticky tentacle, Cthulhu-like, stretching from the retiree and snowbird enclaves of Oro Valley and Sun City. The false belief is that ethnic studies ghettoizes students; the reality is that these classes often take students out from under the tentacle and open the gateway to the panoply of American literature and history. Inclusion, rather than segregation. I would think it's segregation that divides us. Of course, the squid-like elder gods of the TUSD might be angry about the whole civil rights thing those crazy kids got into in the 60s.
AZ is a great state. They love literature. Believe me. But the arcons from beyond do not. Still, you know, it's a 61% Latino district. In case the TUSD is a little weak on scholarship, one might be patient and point out that there are more of the silenced that there are of the silencers. Great Mexican poet Jaime Morrison once sang: “They've got the guns, but we've got the numbers.”
Now, you must excuse me. Newt just informed me that Spanish is a ghetto language. And Mitt has asked me to self-deport. I'm going to self-deport as soon as I can find a Mexican American Studies class to explain in real language what the rules are.
Luis Alberto Urrea is the author of fourteen books, including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Two of his books, “By the Lake of Sleeping Children” and “Nobody’s Son,” both of which are on the banned curriculum of Tucson’s Mexican American Studies program.