Thursday, May 13, 2010

Arizona Challenges Ethnic Studies

If you live in a country where ethnicity has, at times, identified individuals for legal, moral and ethical mistreatment, are citizens not allowed to educate to the history and facts of the mistreatment? Would this right not persist even though the descriptions of the mistreatment might reasonably invoke spirited discussion of the events and encourage organizations of change?

When I speak on this blog of propensities within the Black community to disproportionate violence, I do not feel good. But the propensity to violence is the truth that needs the spotlight for the benefit of all. Similarly, minorities, as well as Whites, need to learn the evidence of mistreatment of ourselves, whether by race, age, or sex, also to advance.

I may misunderstand it, but the Arizona initiative (here) banning ethnic studies education that might contribute to animus seems to ban study of factual events on the criteria that they might be painful. While this pain might include anger, fear, or resentment, it is nonetheless stemming from actual events. Should Germany ban studies of the Holocaust because of the emotion that it brings, or that students might organize in some fashion to insure that it never happens again? Pathways of ‘moving on’ do not necessarily mean dropping the discussion.

The greatest reason for ethnic studies is the propensity for the majority, in any place, to paint history in biased colors. What is often left out of the curriculum is that which is painful to remember, particularly for the historical majority. If that history, based on current events, encourages a call-to-action for change, then all the more reason to avoid it, or not, depending on your stance. Prohibiting the teaching of history because of the way it might be interpreted is a violation of our fundamental freedom.

I look forward to the day when ethnic studies will not need a separate status. However, until we can embrace it’s teaching, pain and all, along with all of our history, it will merit extraordinary support.

James C. Collier

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6 comments:

Thrasymachus said...

These programs are dangerous as one of their main purposes is whipping up hatred against white people. The people who participate in these programs, when they don't go into education and continue the process, go into the legal or administrative bureaucracy with their contempt and insensitivity toward whites, and help facilitate the massive social disfunction that has minorities leaching off of and harming whites.

Dennis Mangan said...

Agree with Thrasy, and add that even the teaching of mainstream American history seems nowadays to be nothing but a parade of victimology, e.g. the most important fact about WW2 is that the US interned Japanese, or that Harriet Tubman stands as one of the most important figures in American history.

This sh*t has got to stop.

James C. Collier said...

The dumbing-down and highjacking of history curriculums certainly occurs, and represents a threat. However, Arizona is masking one threat with another - bad legislation - which will not fix either problem. I will offer that making bad law, out of frustration, seems to be one way to get people's attention. RE: Japapanese and WW2, Tom Hanks great actor, but what an idiot.

John IV said...

I cannot WAIT till a mens group gets a hold of this and goes after the Womens studies departments at the various Arizona Universities.

That should cause an immediate repeal of that law ;)

Nothing like government to provide the best entertainment in the world.

George said...

In my experience of American people there is very little understanding or appreciation of the negative role that the U.S, and particularly the white population of the U.S, has played and continues to play in history. The genocide of Native Americans during the colonial period, for example, is viewed with prideful nostalgia rather than shame.

This is of course not simply an American issue, in my own country you will find many people who are proud of the British Empire despite its horrific crimes, and Winston Churchill is considered a national hero despite being responsible for the death of many millions of Indian people through starvation. In my opinion there is not enough teaching of history outside of the fairytale versions taught in high school, and the removal of Ethnic Studies would destroy what little dissident history is taught.

Anonymous said...

"In my experience of American people there is very little understanding or appreciation of the negative role that the U.S, and particularly the white population of the U.S, has played and continues to play in history. The genocide of Native Americans during the colonial period, for example, is viewed with prideful nostalgia rather than shame."

First off, this is absolutely ridiculous. The modern American public education is essentially nothing but criticism of America's actions. The fact that you think this is not emphasized enough (and "continues to play"? wtf?) is just evidence of your own deep prejudices.

"This is of course not simply an American issue, in my own country you will find many people who are proud of the British Empire despite its horrific crimes, and Winston Churchill is considered a national hero despite being responsible for the death of many millions of Indian people through starvation."

Maybe that's because he fought and defeated the Nazis, saving Britain from annihilation? Just a footnote, I guess. And is it really so terrible to be proud of the British Empires? An Empire that circled the globe and brought modernity to societies that had previously been living in squalid destitute poverty?

Finally, every society is entitled to its own mythology. It's a unifying force that uplifts the people. Every people everywhere on Earth has been guilty of slavery, mass murder and worse at some point in its history. It's ridiculously counterproductive to focus on self-flagellation over ancient wrongdoing instead of being positive and looking to the future. Public education is meant to be part of this force. If you want to teach "dissident history" to foster some kind of Global Permanent Revolution, do it on your own dime on your own time.