Wednesday, May 12, 2010

AZ Hits a New Low

It's hard to believe that the state of Arizona could sink any lower than the recent legislation making it the "show me your papers" state, but the legislature and governor have managed to find a way with the new legislation outlawing ethnic studies programs in public schools and specifically targeting Latino studies programs in the Tucson public schools, programs that teach students about their heritage and highlight the contributions of their ethnic groups and leaders to the American story. 30% of the people of Arizona are of Hispanic heritage, many of those people having resided here long before Arizona was a part of the United States and long before the influx of European-Americans who now seem so hell bent on wiping out their ethnic heritage using the excuse that by knowing who they are and where they come from, non-European individuals will somehow be less interested in being constructive members of the society they live in.

Not only does such an idea violate everything we know about human beings, it is as thinly-veiled an attempt to educationally disenfranchise a whole group of people as the new laws regarding proof of citizenship or residency are an attempt to politically disenfranchise them. Adding further hyperbole to this situation is not helpful, but it is hard not to see this as an attempt at a kind of ethnic cleansing as Arizona is attempting to deprive 30% of its people first their legal rights and now their history. As Americans, we need to see this as what it is, an attack on the constitutional rights of some of us that could just as easily be an attack on the constitutional rights of any or all of us. As people of faith, we cannot help but be outraged by this attempt to deny the equality and value, even the humanity of our fellow human beings because of their ethnic heritage and the first couple of steps on a road that in so many places in the world has led to atrocity. No less than the Jim Crow laws of the past, our fellow human beings are being deprived of their humanity as they are deprived of their rights and their history and we cannot stand by and let it happen. Join me now in letting Governor Brewer know how we feel about this abomination, and in boycotting all things Arizona until sanity and decency are restored.