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Sunday, August 15, 2010

We Are Spirit

We are confident we will easily win against the forces of fear, hate and ignorance

By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez, PhD

In Arizona, we fight because we are spirit. Yet, in recent travels, I’ve gotten the distinct impression that many people think that human beings are made simply of flesh and blood and that only things material have consequence.

Human beings also have spirits. In Arizona, bigot forces are not content with simply getting rid of as many brown bodies as possible, but also ensuring that those that remain become assimilated into intolerant copies of themselves.

The world appears to be knowledgeable about the effort – via SB 1070 – to legalize hate, fear and racial profiling in Arizona. What most seem to be unaware of is that there is also an effort by state schools superintendent, Tom Horne, to brainwash the state’s school children via HB 2281 – the anti-Ethnic/Raza Studies law that unless stopped – will go into effect on Jan 1, 2011.

There is a third law in the works; the effort by state rep. Russell Pierce, chief sponsor of the state’s apartheid laws, to nullify the 14th Amendment in Arizona [guarantees U.S. birthright citizenship].

Tolteka, a renowned Los Angeles hip hop artist – inspired by a recent column – From Manifest Destiny to Manifest Insanity – has penned a rhyme called: The Trilogy of Terror. It breaks down these so-called laws that are intended to destroy our minds and spirits.

Those of us here in Arizona do not recognize these apartheid schemes as laws. At least not as moral or legitimate laws. Even the courts have already struck down the most odious parts of SB 1070.

But back to HB 2281. This is the one people are paying least attention to. While denouncing SB 1070 in May, five UN Special Rapporteurs also denounced HB 2281. They said: “Such law and attitude are at odds with the State’s responsibility to respect the right of everyone to have access to his or her own cultural and linguistic heritage and to participate in cultural life… Everyone has the right to seek and develop cultural knowledge and to know and understand his or her own culture and that of others through education and information.”

They further pointed out that controlling immigration and adhering to fundamental principles of non-discrimination are not mutually exclusive. “States are obligated to not only eradicate racial discrimination, but also to promote a social and political environment conducive to respect for ethnic and cultural diversity.”

Their report is self-evident, yet, we should pay close attention to the illogic of the bigoted forces; they claim they are not against immigration: only illegal immigration. So what does anti-bilingualism and Ethnic Studies have to do with illegal immigration?

There is an equal danger to both SB 1070 and HB 2281; one attacks our bodies, the other our minds and spirits. HB 2281 targets Tucson’s highly successful Raza Studies program. But as written, it applies to the entire state, and it can become copycat legislation – state by state – not simply targeting K-12 education, but universities as well. The authors erroneously claim Ethnic Studies result in hate, segregation, anti-americanism and advocates the violent overthrow of the U.S. government.

What’s at stake with HB 2281 is not simply an attack on a program (Raza Studies), but on the right to teach/learn and the right of students to succeed as a result. As signed, HB 2281 creates a mechanism by which books and curriculums will be subject to approval by the state. The premise is that only Greco-Roman culture (“Western Civilization”) is acceptable for Arizona curriculums. Knowledge from other cultures is henceforth deemed to be “un-American.” Books such as Occupied America (Acuña) and Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Freire) have already been singled out.

In Arizona, the state superintendant of schools has appointed himself not simply education czar (opposing local control), but also, royal cosmographer – determining that not only is maiz-based or Maya-Nahua culture and knowledge – the philosophical foundation for Raza Studies – outside of Western Civilization, but also outside of humanity. In effect, he also fancies himself head of the BIA – determining who/what is Indigenous.

While singling out people of color, these Inquisition-era “laws” in reality, are an attack against all people. The legalization of racial profiling and cultural mind-control belongs in the Dark Ages and the battle against the sanctioning of hate, censorship and forbidden curriculums is being fought right here in Arizona (This is the subject of a forthcoming conference in December at the University of Arizona). Within weeks, this battle will step into the courtroom via a lawsuit against the state. We are confident we will easily win against the forces of fear, hate and ignorance.

Rodriguez, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona, is a member of TUSD’s Mexican American Studies Community Advisory board.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Amoxtli X - The X Codex

In Lak Ech, Panche Be & Hunab Ku & The Forgotten 1524 Debate
Eagle Feather Research Institute 2010 Collective Copyright
By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez, Arnoldo Vento, PhD, Vivian Garcia Lopez, PhD, Mixelle Rascon, Pricila Rodriguez, Norma Gonzalez, Crystal Terriquez, Jo Anna Mixpe Ley,          Grecia Ramirez & Luis A Valdez
Why did several communities support a run from Tucson to Phoenix through the Arizona desert in 115-degree heat in the middle of the summer last year? Probably for the same reason 15 of us were arrested for criminal trespass at Tucson’s state building this May: We did it to combat the effort to terminate, via HB 2281, Tucson’s highly successful Raza Studies program. This came on the heels of the anti-immigrant bill, SB 1070. One attacks our bodies; the other, our spirits.
While the bill was dropped in 2009, this year, the know-nothing Republican-dominated state legislature passed both bills, whereas the state’s unelected governor, Jan Brewer, promptly signed both “laws.” HB 2281 is particularly onerous because it is a Dark Ages-era law that attacks the thinking/teaching/learning process. It also creates an Inquisition-style mechanism to approve acceptable books and curriculums. Arizona State Schools Superintendent, Tom Horne, who has never set foot in an Ethnic/Raza Studies classroom, first mounted his campaign in 2006 when Dolores Huerta stated at Tucson HS that Republicans hate Latinos. Since then, he has isolated Rodolfo Acuña’s Occupied America and Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, as examples of books that promote hate, segregation and advocate anti-American views while calling for the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. He is claiming that Raza Studies is out of compliance of the new law and is now calling on TUSD to force Raza Studies to videotape its classes.
Lost in this “debate” is the nature or contents of Raza Studies and its philosophical foundation. As a result, a collaborative mini-book: Amoxtli X – The X Codex, has been written to provide such an answer. The book stresses the concepts of In Lak Ech – tu eres mi otro yo – you are my other self – Panche Be – Buscar la Raiz en la Verdad – To Seek the Root of the Truth – and Hunab Ku – a view of the world that explains the nature of the universe.
These concepts are part of a maiz-based philosophy and curriculum that stress a human rights ethos. Maiz is the only food in history that was created by human beings, and the peoples of this continent – Cemanahuak or Abya Yalla – are the only peoples to have created their own food. Horne insists that Greco-Roman knowledge – as opposed to the maiz-based AmerIndigenous knowledge taught in Raza Studies-TUSD – should be exclusively taught in Arizona schools. For the past several years, these ethos have been in full display as Raza Studies youths have led the protests against both bills. More than protest, they have fully lived their peaceful meaning.
“This philosophy comes direct from the cereal that was created by the ancient settlers of the continent: maiz… yes, the maiz, that creation of the savage beast, and that thanks to them, lies the hope for humanity.” – Maya Linguist, Domingo Martinez Paredez, 1960.
Amoxtli X – The X Codex, in part, was also created to raise funds to combat HB 2281. Aside from forthcoming trials for the 15 of us, a lawsuit against the state is forthcoming. If you would like a signed copy, please make a $10 check per copy to the University of Arizona Foundation. Send to Roberto Rodriguez PO BOX 3812, Tucson, AZ 85722. If you would like to donate more, either add a greater amount to check or buy more books. (Discounted class sets are available. proceeds will go toward the Dec 2-4 Conference on Hate, Censorship & Forbidden Curriculums. For more info re books: 520-626-0824  Panche Be T-Shirts are also available for $20.