Monday, August 9, 2010

Ethnic/Raza Studies and "Power Brokers"

Close on the heels of Governor Brewer's extra-jurisdictional anti-immigrant legislation the state's schools Superintendent Tom Horne also joined by Brewer supporters set their sights on the State's Ethnic Studies Programs. In sum, they are seeking to eliminate diversity in education and in essence drive the histories of the Indigenous, Blacks and Latinas/os and others from the State's educational structures. Even more critically and thus raising the alarm bells is that Arizona's actions are not isolated and ethnic studies are rendered vulnerable to yet other politicians that are joining the bandwagon of hate.

Chicana/o Studies exposed me and provided inter alia on the inequities of farm laborers that were ignored in mainstream education. To my dismay farmworkers were also commonly ignored (until recently) on the outside of academic investigation decades after earning my undergraduate degree.
Although during childhood, I was exposed to the unfairness and enslaved conditions of farmworkers, Chicana/o Studies underscored new ways of learning, sophisticated political nuances, and the subject of class warfare. It gave me the tools to assess critically and ask the myriad of questions that the nation's farm bills and methods of food production with a focus on those at the bottom of the food chain obligate. Try and reconcile the welfare handouts large corporate entities receive without regard to those at the bottom. For example, the welfare form of handouts also known as subsidies has induced a realm of harm on the poor and the workers that provide so much for those of us that like to eat. Reference the website to locate the agricultural enterprises in your state that receive more than their fair share of public funds for a clue as to the nature of agricultural disparities.

Yet Brewer and other politicians as well as self-perceived "power brokers" would remove alternative ways of learning, teaching and seeking transformation for all communities in distress. Their actions require that we as a group remain vigilant on any ill-driven tactic to remove studies of those long disenfranchised.

Against the above backdrop and ultimately this post respectfully ask our communities to support the efforts of the educators and students who are supporting ethnic studies. Begin by going to their website and sign up!

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