Guest Editorial


TUSD Ethnic Studies: Report after a review of student reading materials

Five months ago I requested hard copies of the textbooks and reading lists given to students in Tucson Unified School District's "Raza Ethnic Studies" Program. That program exists in three high schools in TUSD. It consists of a formal class plus an after school MeCHA (Movement of Chicano Students) Program sponsored largely by the same teachers who teach the class. MeCHA posters fill the formal classroom; so it is clear that the programs are tied together. After two or three months of effort, I was finally told that I had to file a request under Arizona's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to receive such copies. Over two months after I had done THAT I still had not been supplied the books. It was only after I wrote threatening to file suit that the books were supplied. I have now reviewed the books and materials I was supplied. I have learned the following: 1) TUSD still did not provide all the books they use, since I have been able able to compare what they provided to me with materials acquired by other interested persons. They appear to supply different books and materials to different people; 2) What they did provide was a showpiece of classical Marxist oriented indoctrination of cultural and political oppression, incessant deprecation of anything not "Chicano," including the US Constitution, capitalism, and European culture. Students are taught that they are part of an oppressed minority of "indigenous" people (how those who are principally Mexican in background are "indigenous to the Southwestern U.S. is not explained), whose lands (California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas) have been stolen by the Europeans and should be taken back as a separate "Chicano" nation they call "Atzlan."

They want political separation from the U.S. based almost entirely on race and based on a Marxist economic model. Students are taught (sometimes subtly and sometimes expressly) that their "indigenous" culture has been corrupted by the predominant European culture of the U.S., that "Chicanos" should refuse to assimilate and instead should come together in "colonies" to exercise maximum political power until they are able to retake "Atzlan" as a separate nation – an explicitly "bronze" nation, incidentally, based almost entirely on racial profiling. In the meantime they should recognize that capitalism is corrupt and they should work towards complete redistribution of wealth; that everyone is entitled to a home, healthcare, reasonably equal income, etc. Presumably Atzlan would be a place where Communism would finally, and happily, flourish. Having read the books the students must read, as well as the Principles and philosophies of MecHa, I found many interesting quotes and facts. First, there is NO book presenting American History generally, nor even the standard view of Southwestern American History – ALL the books speak solely from the point of view of the oppressed "Chicano," with no effort to teach alternative thought or facts.

Second, the concepts and language in the materials is, frankly, classic Marxist indoctrination based on oppression and inculcation of hatred of anyone European or who might identify themselves as an American. One of the principal textbooks, neutrally named "Occupied America," teaches that America is nothing more than "conquerors" who have "exploited the conquered" (read "Chicanos"). Indeed, one enlightened student has been quoted as saying that, before taking the class, she "did not know" she was oppressed – but now she does. The author summarizes by saying that "The oppressors, … oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power," and that "Only the power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free you." In other words, attack the oppressors (read traditional America and Americans) where they are weak and tear them down. Sound good? Another book, entitled "Declarations of Independence" proffers ideas about many important American concepts. Of the U.S. Constitution, the author writes: "In fact, while the Constitution was certainly an improvement over the Royal charters of England, it was still a document drawn up by rich men, merchants, and slaveowners who wanted a bit of political democracy but had no sympathy for economic democracy. It was designed to set up a "rule of law," which would efficiently prevent rebellion by dissatisfied elements inthe population (read oppressed "Chicanos.") Later, having established that this "rule of law" is corrupt, the author then concludes: "Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it." In other words, armed rebellion, whether by terror or otherwise, is just fine.

Indeed, he encourages "strikes, boycotts, noncooperation, mass demonstrations and SABOTAGE." Indeed, it is instructive that the very logo of MecHa includes a lit stick of dynamite. How warming. The author states "If the gringo does not get out of our way, we will stampede over him." Of course, says the author, one of the prime reasons for this oppression is that America does not have "equal income." He expressly highlights the teachings of the "higher phase of communist society" which would solve this inequality. He adds that "we don't have to get into complicated arguments about exactly how all things will be distributed. It would be an enormous accomplishment to get agreement that the fundamental requirements of existence – food, housing, medical care, education, and work – be distributed according to need." In his opinion, the "drive for profit is ruthless," and such concepts have created "terrible human consequences." He states that the better alternative is the "ideal of communism – a classless society of equal abundance for all …." In sum, he opines that "Only when wealth is equalized (at least roughly) will liberty be equalized."

These are just some of the facts pertaining to TUSD's Ethnic Studies Program and MecHa.

There is much, much more. These facts are based on reading the materials given our students to read. The results of this indoctrination are astounding. I have a photograph of one student of this program carrying a sign and protesting recently. The sign held by this student shouts in bold letters: "Dumb F*** Gringos. You Are Standing in Mexico Right Now!" Anyone who does not believe that racism, hatred, apartheid, and Marxism are being actively promulgated in these programs should think again. Every Arizonan should take the time to evaluate exactly what is being taught our children, with taxpayer money, in these Ethnic Studies programs and MecHa.

Published June 2010: Imagine Arizona