There is no denying that HB 2281 is fueled by racism. We are taught to think of white, straight American history as our own, but anything that doesn’t fall into that category is taught separately, if it is taught at all. Some people truly believe that racism will be conquered if we stop talking about our differences and just embrace what is already American culture. The truth is we all come from different cultural backgrounds and those differences need to be celebrated. I cannot just pretend I am not a Chicana. I couldn’t if I tried and I wouldn’t want to. It is an intrinsic part of me and it shapes my world view. The same could be said for every individual and their own background. It certainly doesn’t mean I don’t want to learn about other cultures including those already taught in American history. People of color and women are just as responsible for building this country, and I am tired of being told otherwise. How can you ignore such important parts of history when they involve so many of the people living in the US?
In solidarity with Ethnic Studies students and educators in Arizona, we’re joining FAAN Mail’s #WishiLearnedinHS campaign:
As Arizona’s government moves forward to boldly protect a euro-centric education, we Americans across the country reflect on our own education. We recognize that Arizona’s law is part of a broader tradition that overlooks the accomplishments, perspectives and history of people of color, women and other marginalized groups.
Many of us have received an education that privileges the stories, ideas, history and perspectives of wealthy, western, white men. It is this tradition that creates a need for courses like Ethnic Studies, Mexican American Studies, Asian American Studies, African American Studies, Women’s Studies, Queer Studies, and many “others.” While we hope that Arizona and other states push to make classrooms and curricula truly inclusive, there is still a need to teach ALL students Ethnic Studiescourses that take a more in-depth look at marginalized histories, literature, and perspectives.
What happens when people know and understand their own and other’s history and oppression? The State of Arizona may be afraid of the answer to that question. But we must consider this as we reflect on the gaps in our education. The expression“I wish I learned that in high school” has political implications.
We are launching this effort on February 1, 2012 the day Arizona’s law becomes reality for the Tucson Unified School District, in support of their Mexican American Studies program. Join this effort by taking any number of the following actions in response to the question: What do you wish you learned in high school as it relates to various cultural identities, histories, and perspectives?
- Tweet with the hashtag: #WishediLearnedinHS about ___________________.
- Respond to the question in your Facebook status
- Write a blog post, Op Ed or Facebook note on this topic; ex. Five Things I wish I learned in HS
- Add links to information about the gaps you identify.
- Send your list to your high school officials/administrators. Inform them of the gaps.
- Tweet: In Solidarity with #EthnicStudies Educators and students in #AZ, I join the #WishiLearnedinHS campaign http://bit.ly/Ax9qhS