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Monday, May 28, 2012

Death Threats and Fabrications

Arizona Republic
May 28, 2012 |

Demonizing Mexican-American studies is unjust

by Roberto Rodriguez - May. 27, 2012 05:44 PM

I pick up the phone at my office at the University of Arizona and learn that I have three recorded messages waiting for me. The first one begins with the caller claiming to be half White and half Native American, addressing me as an "(expletive) Mexican" and a "Raza (expletive)." This while injecting a .357 Magnum into his rant.

The second and third calls are similar. The vitriol is inexplicable and virtually incomprehensible, except for the threats of extreme violence.

As a lifelong writer, receiving vicious hate mail is not new to me, including receiving a registered letter to my house from the Ku Klux Klan. But receiving death threats as a professor -- this is new.

Just the week before those calls, a video was placed on YouTube by right-wing elements, accusing me of being the ringleader of the movement to defend Mexican-American Studies (MAS) from being eliminated by the state, via House Bill 2281. In reality, that six-year effort has primarily been a student-led movement.

The funny thing is they invented the things that I supposedly did: standing on top of a table while directing the students to chain themselves to the school boardroom chairs and screaming at my students if they didn't read precisely what I wrote for them to read at the board meetings.

Complete fabrications are indeed funny to me, but I can't say the same thing about death threats.

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