Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tucson: "I am a decent writer, burn mine..."

If one builds a wall to keep latinos out of the United States, if racist militias hunt in the desert the immigrants who do the hardest work of the United States, if Alabama passes fierce immigration policing that drives the farm laborers out of the state and causes the crops to rot, the farm owners (when still ordinary people or “small businesses”) despairing and going out of business, how can the mind be far behind?

Texas last year – it’s state “school” committee, dominated by people who do not value what is decent about the United States, let alone read – banned the teaching of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, from history in the public schools…

Texas is a big market. Text book companies, seekers of profit, are now adapting and will put out books without each person’s natural right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…

In South Africa under apartheid, McGraw Hill published 40 books with titles such as Managing Black Workers. Teachers and students demonstrated and protested against McGraw Hill, including me (I was in demonstrations against the sale of the Kruggerrand – an apartheid gold coin - in Denver, and attacked by KMGH, ch. 7, owned by McGraw Hill, as a “dangerous radical” teaching at the University of Denver... That was the year before I came up for tenure).

The new textbooks, excluding Jefferson, will not be different in Mississippi or Delaware...

And now, in Tucson, the books of Leslie Marmon Silko and Henry David Thoreau are banned and no one may teach about the children dying in the desert. No oppression exists, the State says – teachers may not speak to students about anything but that Chicanos (citizens and immigrants) are as likely to be employed as whites or not beaten or shot by the police. A “Dream Act” is not needed for any who live in America and study hard and would, of course, be allowed to go to college and join the military (to march and impose Tucson’s values at gun point elsewhere) – just ask Mitt Romney…

Columbus did not murder the Taino in his search for non-existent gold on Hispaniola and there is no truth to be told about the disappearance of the indigenous population, greeting him Eden-like (Columbus’s words) in 1492, by 1523...

And the books of the Maya were not burned at Mani, Yucatan in 1562.

Shakespeare’s Tempest was not banned in these “public” schools...

Corky Gonzalez was not banned in these “schools”…

Sherman Alexie…

Books were seized from Tucson classrooms, “out of the students’ hands…” Students report trouble sleeping

Bertolt Brecht’s short poem of a writer, who ran defiantly to the Nazi book fires, shouting “I am a good writer. Burn mine…” and threw his novel on the pile, fits Tucson and America.

Texas and Arizona are no small part of the American territory…

Remember that Mayor Bloomberg's police destroyed the library of 5,000 books, down to the last one, in Zuccotti Park...

If the books are burned, can the students be far behind?

Every one who has a voice should find a way to make it heard…

(h/t Jack Womack)

Tucson Schools Bans Books by Chicano and Native
American Authors

List of Books Being Banned

by Brenda Norrell

The Narcosphere January 14, 2012


Breaking news: Updated Sunday with response from banned
author Roberto Rodriguez

TUCSON -- Outrage was the response to the news that
Tucson schools has banned books, including "Rethinking
Columbus," with an essay by award-winning Pueblo author
Leslie Marmon Silko, who lives in Tucson, and works by
Buffy Sainte Marie, Winona LaDuke, Leonard Peltier and
Rigoberta Menchu.

The decision to ban books follows the 4 to 1 vote on
Tuesday by the Tucson Unified School District board to
succumb to the State of Arizona, and forbid Mexican
American Studies, rather than fight the state decision.

Students said the banned books were seized from their
classrooms and out of their hands, after Tucson schools
banned Mexican American Studies, including a book of
photos of Mexico. Crying, students said it was like
Nazi Germany, and they were unable to sleep since it

The banned book, "Rethinking Columbus," includes work
by many Native Americans, as Debbie Reese reports, the
book includes:

Suzan Shown Harjo's "We Have No Reason to Celebrate"
Buffy Sainte-Marie's "My Country, 'Tis of Thy People
You're Dying" Joseph Bruchac's "A Friend of the
Indians" Cornel Pewewardy's "A Barbie-Doll Pocahontas"
N. Scott Momaday's "The Delight Song of Tsoai-Talee"
Michael Dorris's "Why I'm Not Thankful for
Thanksgiving" Leslie Marmon's "Ceremony" Wendy Rose's
"Three Thousand Dollar Death Song" Winona LaDuke's "To
the Women of the World: Our Future, Our Responsibility"

The now banned reading list of the Tucson schools'
Mexican American Studies includes two books by Native
American author Sherman Alexie and a book of poetry by
O'odham poet Ofelia Zepeda.

Jeff Biggers writes in Salon:

The list of removed books includes the 20-year-old
textbook "Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years,"
which features an essay by Tucson author Leslie Silko.
Recipient of a Native Writers' Circle of the Americas
Lifetime Achievement Award and a MacArthur Foundation
genius grant, Silko has been an outspoken supporter of
the ethnic studies program.

Biggers said Shakespeare's play "The Tempest," was also
banned during the meeting this week. Administrators
told Mexican-American studies teachers to stay away
from any class units where "race, ethnicity and
oppression are central themes."

Other banned books include "Pedagogy of the Oppressed"
by famed Brazilian educator Paolo Freire and "Occupied
America: A History of Chicanos" by Rodolfo Acuna, two
books often singled out by Arizona state superintendent
of public instruction John Huppenthal, who campaigned
in 2010 on the promise to "stop la raza." Huppenthal,
who once lectured state educators that he based his own
school principles for children on corporate management
schemes of the Fortune 500, compared Mexican-American
studies to Hitler Jugend indoctrination last fall.

Bill Bigelow, co-author of Rethinking Columbus, writes:

Imagine our surprise. Rethinking Schools learned today
that for the first time in its more-than-20- year
history, our book Rethinking Columbus was banned by a
school district: Tucson, Arizona ...

As I mentioned to Biggers when we spoke, the last time
a book of mine was outlawed was during the state of
emergency in apartheid South Africa in 1986, when the
regime there banned the curriculum I'd written,
Strangers in Their Own Country, likely because it
included excerpts from a speech by then- imprisoned
Nelson Mandela. Confronting massive opposition at home
and abroad, the white minority government feared for
its life in 1986. It's worth asking what the school
authorities in Arizona fear today.

Roberto Rodriguez, professor at University of Arizona,
is also among the nation's top Chicano and Latino
authors on the Mexican American Studies reading list.
Rodriguez' column about this week's school board
decision, posted at Censored News, is titled: "Tucson
school officials caught on tape 'urinating' on Mexican
students." http://drcintli.blogspot.com/

Rodriguez responded to Narco New about the ban on

"The attacks in Arizona are mind-boggling. To ban the
teaching of a discipline is draconian in and of itself.
However, there is also now a banned books list that
accompanies the ban. I believe 2 of my books are on the
list, which includes: Justice: A Question of Race and
The X in La Raza. Two others may also be on the list,"
Rodriguez said.

"That in itself is jarring, but we need to remember the
proper context. This is not simply a book-banning;
according to Tom Horne, the former state schools'
superintendent who designed HB 2281, this is part of a
civilizational war. He determined that Mexican American
Studies is not based on Greco-Roman knowledge and thus,
lies outside of Western Civilization.

"In a sense, he is correct. The philosophical
foundation for MAS is a maiz-based philosophy that is
both, thousands of years old and Indigenous to this
continent. What has just happened is akin to an Auto de
Fe -- akin to the 1562 book- burning of Maya books in
1562 at Mani, Yucatan. At TUSD, the list of banned
books will total perhaps 50 books, including artwork
and posters.

"For us here in Tucson, this is not over. If anything,
the banning of books will let the world know precisely
what kind of mindset is operating here; in that
previous era, this would be referred to as a reduccion
(cultural genocide) of all things Indigenous. In this
era, it can too also be see as a reduccion."

The reading list includes world acclaimed Chicano and
Latino authors, along with Native American authors. The
list includes books by Corky Gonzales, along with
Sandra Cisneros' "The House on Mango Street;" Jimmy
Santiago Baca's "Black Mesa Poems," and L.A. Urreas'
"The Devil's Highway." The authors include Henry David
Thoreau and the popular book "Like Water for

On the reading list are Native American author Sherman
Alexie's books, "Ten Little Indians," and "The Lone
Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven." O'odham poet
and professor Ofelia Zepeda's "Ocean Power, Poems from
the Desert" is also on the list.

DA Morales writes in Three Sonorans, at Tucson Citizen,
about the role of state schools chief John Huppenthal.
"Big Brother Huppenthal has taken his TEA Party vows to
take back Arizona...take it back a few centuries with
official book bans that include Shakespeare!"


Updates at www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com

[Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian
country for 29 years. She is publisher of Censored
News, focusing on Indigenous Peoples, human rights and
the US border. Now censored by the mainstream media,
she previously was a staff reporter at numerous
American Indian newspapers and a stringer for AP, USA
Today and others. She lived on the Navajo Nation for 18
years, and then traveled with the Zapatistas. She
covered the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and
Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.]


Audit of the Mexican American Studies Department,
Tucson Unified School District, May 2, 2011.

High School Course Texts and Reading Lists Table 20:
American Government/Social Justice Education Project 1,
2 - Texts and Reading Lists

Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (1998), by B.
Bigelow and B. Peterson

The Latino Condition: A Critical Reader (1998), by R.
Delgado and J. Stefancic

Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (2001), by R.
Delgado and J. Stefancic

Pedagogy of the Oppressed (2000), by P. Freire

United States Government: Democracy in Action (2007),
by R. C. Remy

Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (2006), by F.
A. Rosales

Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American
Ideology (1990), by H. Zinn

Table 21: American History/Mexican American
Perspectives, 1, 2 - Texts and Reading Lists

Occupied America: A History of Chicanos (2004), by R.

The Anaya Reader (1995), by R. Anaya

The American Vision (2008), by J. Appleby et el.

Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (1998), by B.
Bigelow and B. Peterson

Drink Cultura: Chicanismo (1992), by J. A. Burciaga

Message to Aztlan: Selected Writings (1997), by C.

De Colores Means All of Us: Latina Views Multi-Colored
Century (1998), by E. S. Martinez

500 Anos Del Pueblo Chicano/500 Years of Chicano
History in Pictures (1990), by E. S. Martinez

Codex Tamuanchan: On Becoming Human (1998), by R.

The X in La Raza II (1996), by R. Rodriguez

Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (2006), by F.
A. Rosales

A People's History of the United States: 1492 to
Present (2003), by H. Zinn

Course: English/Latino Literature 7, 8

Ten Little Indians (2004), by S. Alexie

The Fire Next Time (1990), by J. Baldwin

Loverboys (2008), by A. Castillo

Women Hollering Creek (1992), by S. Cisneros

Mexican WhiteBoy (2008), by M. de la Pena

Drown (1997), by J. Diaz

Woodcuts of Women (2000), by D. Gilb

At the Afro-Asian Conference in Algeria (1965), by E.

Color Lines: "Does Anti-War Have to Be Anti-Racist
Too?" (2003), by E. Martinez

Culture Clash: Life, Death and Revolutionary Comedy
(1998), by R. Montoya et al.

Let Their Spirits Dance (2003) by S. Pope Duarte

Two Badges: The Lives of Mona Ruiz (1997), by M. Ruiz

The Tempest (1994), by W. Shakespeare

A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America
(1993), by R. Takaki

The Devil's Highway (2004), by L. A. Urrea

Puro Teatro: A Latino Anthology (1999), by A. Sandoval-
Sanchez & N. Saporta Sternbach

Twelve Impossible Things before Breakfast: Stories
(1997), by J. Yolen

Voices of a People's History of the United States
(2004), by H. Zinn

Course: English/Latino Literature 5, 6

Live from Death Row (1996), by J. Abu-Jamal

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven (1994),
by S. Alexie

Zorro (2005), by I. Allende

Borderlands La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1999), by G.

A Place to Stand (2002), by J. S. Baca

C-Train and Thirteen Mexicans (2002), by J. S. Baca

Healing Earthquakes: Poems (2001), by J. S. Baca

Immigrants in Our Own Land and Selected Early Poems
(1990), by J. S. Baca

Black Mesa Poems (1989), by J. S. Baca

Martin & Mediations on the South Valley (1987), by J.
S. Baca

The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack
on America's Public Schools (19950, by D. C. Berliner
and B. J. Biddle

Drink Cultura: Chicanismo (1992), by J. A Burciaga

Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and
Latino in the United States (2005), by L. Carlson & O.

Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing up Latino in the
United States (1995), by L. Carlson & O. Hijuielos

So Far From God (1993), by A. Castillo

Address to the Commonwealth Club of California (1985),
by C. E. Chavez

Women Hollering Creek (1992), by S. Cisneros

House on Mango Street (1991), by S. Cisneros

Drown (1997), by J. Diaz

Suffer Smoke (2001), by E. Diaz Bjorkquist

Zapata's Discipline: Essays (1998), by M. Espada

Like Water for Chocolate (1995), by L. Esquievel

When Living was a Labor Camp (2000), by D. Garcia

La Llorona: Our Lady of Deformities (2000), by R.

Cantos Al Sexto Sol: An Anthology of Aztlanahuac
Writing (2003), by C. Garcia-Camarilo, et al.

The Magic of Blood (1994), by D. Gilb

Message to Aztlan: Selected Writings (2001), by Rudolfo
"Corky" Gonzales

Saving Our Schools: The Case for Public Education,
Saying No to "No Child Left Behind" (2004) by Goodman,
et al.

Feminism if for Everybody (2000), by b hooks

The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child
(1999), by F. Jimenez

Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools
(1991), by J. Kozol

Zigzagger (2003), by M. Munoz

Infinite Divisions: An Anthology of Chicana Literature
(1993), by T. D. Rebolledo & E. S. Rivero

...y no se lo trago la tierra/And the Earth Did Not
Devour Him (1995), by T. Rivera

Always Running - La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A.
(2005), by L. Rodriguez

Justice: A Question of Race (1997), by R. Rodriguez

The X in La Raza II (1996), by R. Rodriguez

Crisis in American Institutions (2006), by S. H.
Skolnick & E. Currie

Los Tucsonenses: The Mexican Community in Tucson,
1854-1941 (1986), by T. Sheridan

Curandera (1993), by Carmen Tafolla

Mexican American Literature (1990), by C. M. Tatum

New Chicana/Chicano Writing (1993), by C. M. Tatum

Civil Disobedience (1993), by H. D. Thoreau

By the Lake of Sleeping Children (1996), by L. A. Urrea

Nobody's Son: Notes from an American Life (2002), by L.
A. Urrea

Zoot Suit and Other Plays (1992), by L. Valdez

Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert (1995), by O. Zepeda


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