Look. America cannot make the best of the 21st century and reach whatever potential might be there to reach by 2100 unless as a country, we learn to face reality. We have issues. The business of getting it together and trying to progress is the business of seeing clearly: Global Warming. Science. Multi Cultural Being in a Pluralistic World of 7 Billion People. Yes, this involves facing the truth about history and accepting different views of this reflected in literature. That cannot be boxed up and taken away.
Head in the Sandism is not only a thing to be annoyed by. It actually keeps us all from doing what needs to be done. It divides attention and keeps us fighting old battles we don't need to be spending attention time and money on, over and over and over.
What is going on in Tucson is a terrible waste of America's future. It could affect education everywhere.
Here is a video of some students in Tucson who are standing up in front of a press conference to talk about their reaction to having books taken off of shelves in their classroom, in front of them, boxed up and confiscated. What insanity is it that makes a scene of such brutality in front of crying students in classrooms?
The implication in this removal of books is staggering. Mind blowing. The scope of this is hard to fully grasp, but it is an attempt to wipe away everything brown in modern culture. The books (7 are primary targets, but adding up all the titles mentioned would appear to include over 100) represented here are the cream de la creme of Hispanic and Native American literature. The list even includes Howard Zinn's "People's History of the United States." It even includes Sherman Alexie's "Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven." It even includes Leslie Marmon Silko's "Ceremony."
The verbal trick is that these books remain available if students on their own know to go to the library and find them, but cannot be used in classroom study and discussion.
Orwell would love this. Not Banned.
Here is the video, which is 30 minutes long. However, these are the kids involved being who they are so you can get a sense of them. They are beautiful kids. They are our future:
Here is a local newspaper article that gives some context for the video:
I am not an educator. But as a citizen, ignorance on the part of people in leadership positions bugs the shit out of me. I happen to have ancestors who fought in the American Revolution. One caught a Tory bullet. I am a white, Anglo Saxon. The reason I am offended is that these self appointed protectors of the white heritage of colonial America's WASPness think they represent me and every other citizen who believes in the future of this country. They think they are being patriots.
I think the people who have perpetrated this spectacle in Tucson are backwater dumbasses. Some might find that use of words excessive, but I think it characterizes the actions and attitudes in kind. They represent the worst of the frontier prejudices that come out of the Indian fighting atmosphere of the 19th century, a mentality which belongs in the nineteenth century and has no right to breathe any oxygen at all in the 21st. I want to be clear about this and not mince words.
My hope is that every one who thinks progressively will study up on the Tucson situation because there will be more of this to come. As the complexity of a society with many perspectives becomes too much for some people, there will be attempts to get control over curricula in schools in order to turn the clock back.
I hope that everyone who gives a damn about the future of this country and about education does something to spread the word about this travesty.
This can only succeed if people are not paying attention.
Shakespeare Expelled from Tucson Schools
A good summary from the local Tucson press:
Here is a good discussion of this on Native America Calling, Mon. Jan 23:
Here is an excellent analysis by a wonderful journalist/academic writer: