The Tucson, Arizona public schools teach an ethnic studies program known as Raza, the “race” studies. This program has been taught for 14 years and has an annual budget of $2.5 million. Arizona recently passed a law to stop school districts from teaching courses that encourage the overthrow of the U.S. government, or promote resentment against a particular race or class of people, or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of treating students as individual Americans. The bill does not prohibit ethnic studies in general, or teaching historical facts about the oppression of a particular group of people based on ethnicity, race, or class.
The sponsor of the bill, Representative Steve Montenegro, is an immigrant from El Salvador, and he is now proud to be an American. He believes that students should “not be taught any resentment or hatred toward any race or any class of people,” as some teachers are now doing in Arizona's public schools. One teacher in Tucson teaches a “separatist political agenda,” that America is a racist nation, and that students should look upon social, political and economic events through the lens of their own oppression. “[The instructors] are telling students they are victims and that they should be angry and rise up,” and that police officers are “an extension of the white power structure” and are used to “keep minorities in their ghettos.” This ethnic program also teaches students that California, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona are part of “Atzlan,” a so-called ancient home of the Aztecs which Mexicans believe is property that belongs to Mexico rather than the Unite States.
This Tucson race program teaches that Mexicans should give voice to their alleged grievances, and resist assimilation imposed on them by the “dominant” white Western culture. We hope the new law will encourage Arizona students to love and admire America.
Listen to this commentary: