Lessons From The Past

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse in Tuscon, Arizona Govenor Jan Brewer has done it again!  She is nothing if not consistent. Gov. Brewer has signed a bill targeting one school district’s ethinc studies program, ignoring condemnation of United Nations human rights experts.

The reason?

Public schools should not be encouraging students to resent a particular race. At least this is what State Schools Chief Tom Horne believes is the case.  Horne believes that the Tucson school district’s Mexican-American studies program teaches Latino students that they are oppressed by white people. The Bill doesn’t prohibit classes that teach about the history of a particular group, as long as the course is open to all and doesn’t promote ethnic solidarity or resentment.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I agree with Mr. Horne at least in theory. No public school should be intentionally encouraging students to resent or hate a particular race.

Where was Mr. Horne in the days of legalized American Apartied when we really needed him?

But is this really the case? The measure that was signed on Tuesday, May 11th, prohibits so called ethnic “solidarity” that may be used to encourage resentment to those of another race.  Sounds good right? However, let’s say for instance a group says that they are Pro-Latino. Does this mean that they are anti white? Does being pro GBLT (Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian, Transgender) mean that one is anti-heterosexual?   Who is to define what “ethnic solidarity” means for a certain group of people? Does the dominant culture have the expertise and objectivity to do so? I think not. We still as a society have a long way to go in that regard. Many groups and nationalities have contributed to the greatness of this country. Those contribution and experiences must be acknowledged, warts and all. The history of our country isn’t always pretty and nothing really heals until it is seen for what it is.

What does this have to do with Asheville and Buncombe County. Dr. King reminded us that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. It appears that in Tucson, Arizona fear is running rampid through the streets.

I thought this battle was already fought (and won) back in the sixties with the African American community, but alas it appears I was mistaken. But make know mistaking this. Sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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