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Friday, September 30, 2016

In Essence, Racism on Trial in Arizona’s Ethnic Studies Suit

Diverse Issues in Higher Education

In Essence, Racism on Trial in Arizona’s Ethnic Studies Suit
by Roberto Rodriguez

The Arce v Douglas ethnic studies trial, in Tucson’s Federal Court, is expected to commence in early 2017. The suit was filed against the state of Arizona, as a result of the state passing an anti-Ethnic Studies HB 2281 legislation in 2010. Yet for all intents and purposes, it is the discipline itself and, specifically, Tucson Unified School District’s former Raza Studies K-12 program that has been on trial since 2006.
That is the year when Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne began a relentless campaign to eliminate the program (created in 1998), charging that it promoted racism, segregation, the overthrow of the U.S. government and that it was founded upon non-Western values.
It was none of that, though students in fact were being taught to be critical thinkers; Enter Paolo Freire’ Pedagogy of the Oppressed, but not in Horne’s schools.
While the case has taken many turns, at the moment, the trial will focus on whether the state was motivated by racism while attempting to shut down the program.
For the rest of the column, read:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Scholar: Texas Textbook an ‘Intentional Assault’ on Psyche of Mexican American Students

After reading the proposed Mexican American Heritage textbook for Texas students last week by Jaime Riddle and Valarie Angle, I can without hesitation state that it is obscene and extremely offensive. And beyond being unfocused, incoherent and a badly written book, it is also an intentional assault by non-experts and ideologues against the spirit and psyche of Mexican American students.
The truth is, I now feel dirty and in need of a “limpia” or a “cleansing.” It is that bad. It is actually not even a textbook, but rather, an anti-Mexican, anti-Mexican-American, anti-Black and an anti-Indigenous ideological screed.
It is also a very familiar narrative that has been employed by the state in the decade-long battle over Ethnic Studies in Arizona, a battle that should culminate with a Tucson trial in early 2017, focusing on whether the state’s 2010 anti-Ethnic Studies bill was racially motivated or not (Yes!). The book actually reads like the “clash of civilizations” narrative that former Arizona State Education Secretary Tom Horne has peddled throughout all these years.
Akin to Horne, the authors have conjured up a narrative that corresponds to their “Americanization” ideology; one that sees Mexican Americans at best, as “illegals” and as coming from violent and backward cultures and as peoples that continue to be in the way of Manifest Destiny and also their City on a Hill. Nowhere in this 500-page poorly researched book is there anything remotely positive about the rich culture and history of Mexican Americans. Their only salvation: full assimilation.
The final report of the Ruben Cortez Ad hoc Committee, presented to the Texas State Board of Education at their Sept. 6 meeting states: “the proposed textbook is really a polemic attempting to masquerade as a textbook.”


Thursday, July 14, 2016

The 2020 Census and the Re-Indigenization of America

I've been on the road and have been neglecting this page. Thought I would post an article I recently wrote for Truthout's Public Intellectual Page Re the 2020 Census.

Friday, April 29, 2016


WHERE: John Valenzuela Youth Center 1550 S 6th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85713
WHEN: MAY 1, 2016 
Run/Walk:  8am
Healthy B-fast : 9:am
WHO: UA-Mexican American Studies, UA-MEChA & Calpolli Teoxicalli.
WHY: To promote healthy living as opposed to alcoholism and the desecration of a historic date in history


On Sunday May 1, students from my Cultural Nutrition class at the University of Arizona have organized the 3rd annual Cinco de Mayo Sobriety Run/Walk.  Every year during Cinco de Mayo, rather than celebrate a historic Mexican battle against the French, this “holiday” has been converted into and has descended into a beer/liquor fest. The objective of the sobriety run/walk is to bring about consciousness regarding the rampant alcoholism that plagues communities nationwide. And it is also to promote healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle.

Along with my students, Supervisor Richard Elias, Doña Maria Garcia (La Indita Restaurant) and Rainbow Lopez (Tohono O’Otham nutritionist), will be speaking. Also speaking will be Maria Molina and Chucho Ruiz, representing Calpolli Teoxicalli. They will be speaking about the sobriety movement in the Indigenous/Mexican communities nationwide, and its special importance during Cinco de Mayo. 

A healthy brunch will be provided by my students, La Indita restaurant and Rainbow Lopez (her famous healthy fry bread). Students will also be making healthy traditional drinks, including Chia for the runners. There will be a piñata for the kids… and maybe one for adults. There will also be ongoing presentations at tables re healthy foods, plus spoken word by our very own Alexia Mora, both a student in the cultural nutrition class, and co-chair of UA MEChA.

Again, the ceremonial run/walk, led by Calpolli Teoxicalli, will begin at 8am. Everyone rund or walks together and no one gets left behind.  The food begins at 9am. Hope to see you there.

UA-MAS Professor
Roberto Dr. Cintli” Rodriguez

Saturday, April 2, 2016

by Roberto Cintli Rodriguez
Cephus Johnson, the uncle of Oscar Grant, who was killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer in Oakland in 2009, speaking at an event in 2012. When a family loses someone to police violence, many times, "they are shocked into silence. Sometimes they are just shocked," says Johnson. (Photo: Wendy Kenin / Flickr)

Once again I find myself among grieving families, among families who bleed and tremble when they speak, all the while insisting they are witnesses or survivors, not victims. All the families present at this United Voices Against State Sponsored Violence event have tragically lost family members to the scourge of law enforcement violence. And while the air is heavy with trauma here, there is also much strength at this standing-room-only event at the African American Community Service Center in San Jose, California.
Family members are here to bear witness, affirming that they will not remain silent. "Silence is consent," says Cephus Johnson, the MC of the event and uncle of Oscar Grant, who was killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer in Oakland in 2009. When a family loses someone to this kind of violence, many times, "they are shocked into silence. Sometimes they are just shocked," says Johnson.
Other families represented here are those of Antonio Lopez Guzman, Richard "Harpo" JacquezAlex NietoYanira SerranoDiana Showman, Phillip Watkins,Rudy Cardenas and Steve Salinas, just to name a few. All of them were killed unjustifiably, and several of these cases are still mired in the criminal legal system.

For rest of column, go to: