When the Bad Guys Win: No More Ethnic Studies in AZ

A recent Salon article reports on the results of the ban on ethnic studies in Arizona. The law, signed last year by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, went into effect at the beginning of 2012. According to Salon, schools have been asked to remove particular books from their libraries and their curricula. This is more than a shift in focus or materials; this is an all-out ban on certain texts. Censorship, plain and simple. What makes this so unsettling is that unlike most cases of censorship, this is not a case of an individual school caving to the demands of parents or community members. It is the state, or State if you’d like, pulling materials that don’t coincide with its narrow ideological vision.

No more teaching The Tempest, which apparently address race and ethnicity just a little too directly. And certainly no Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire’s foundational text on social justice and education.

My suggestion would be to fill all of those empty spaces on the shelves with copies of Fahrenheit 451.

About RR

Assistant Professor of English Education at Grand Valley State University.
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