Denying our history

by David Paulino

In 2010 the state of Arizona passed the Arizona House Bill 2281, and that bill prohibited public and charter schools from teaching courses that “Promote the overthrow of the United States Government, Promote resentment toward a race or class of people, are designed primarily for pupils of a certain ethnic group, and advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals” (HB 2281). Now due to the bill, in 2012, the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) had to suspend their Mexican American Studies (MAS) program because one of the authors of the law; former superintendent John Huppenthal stated that the program violated the “ethnic studies ban law”.

Now if the schools fail to comply with the bill the Department of Education can take 10 percent of the schools aid every month. Now throughout the years there has been a push to prove that the law was created in order to discriminate against Latinos. On June 26th went back to court, and to this day there has been no ruling as of yet. The whole law is rather confusing because it makes it seems as if the MAS program could generate a feeling of resentment towards the United States and a specific group. That is ludicrous because one does not need the MAS program to generate that kind of resentment, basic middle and High School history can generate that kind of feeling, from the wars against the First Peoples of this land, to slavery, and the treatment of immigrants.

There is no need to ban 80 books, and deny kids of their history in order to quell feelings of resentment. It is rather amusing how Huppenthal would accuse the teachers of using the MAS program as a way to teach Mexican American students that they are oppressed. While stating comments like the following on an online blog using the names Thucydides and Falcon9, “No Spanish radio stations, no Spanish billboards, no Spanish TV stations, and no Spanish newspapers. This is America speak English.” He offered an exception, however: “I don’t mind them selling Mexican food as long as the menus are mostly in English.”

The amusing part is that oppressed communities have their language and their history taken from them. It is rather disappointing that we has a society need to be even having this discussion whether or not one should be teaching ethnic studies. Those ethnic studies allows a generation of students and their parents a piece of their history and an understanding of their parents sacrifices

My name is David Alfredo Paulino. I graduated from SUNY Cortland with a international studies major with a concentration in Global Political Systems and my minors are Anthropology, Latin American Studies, and Asia and the Middle East. I was born in Manhattan, NYC, but I currently live in the Bronx with my Mother, little sister, and Stepfather. Although I was born here, most of my fondest memories come from my frequent visits to the Dominican Republic, and always being there. I even stayed there for a year. Due to my constant going back and forth, I grew to love the atmosphere there and sometimes I yearn for it more than the actual city.