Dyson on Arizona Ethnic Studies Ban (Part 1)

Uploaded by BLASSDCCD on 21.07.2010

Anderson Cooper. AC 360, CNN Weeknights, 10 Eastern
Tom, why shouldn't Black literature, Chicano, literature specific courses
designed to introduce kids to other points of view be taught?
>Well, the standards that we promulgate a require that all social studies classes teach different cultures.
>We want all kids be exposed to a lot of different cultures,
>but what I'm opposed to is dividing kids up. So they have a Raza Studies for
>the Chicano kids (Raza means the race in Spanish), African American Studies for the
>African American kids, Asian Studies for the Asian kids. But, what’s wrong with that? If African-American
kids want a class that that, you know, has a focus on African-American Studies
what what's wrong with that? >What’s wrong with it is that it divides students up by
>race and I believe that one of the principal ideas of the American public
>school system is we bring kids together and we teach them to treat each other as
>individuals. What matters about a person is, what does he know; what can he
>do; what’s his character or hers, not what race was he born into. And one
>of our important functions is to teach kids from different backgrounds to treat each other
>as individuals and not to infuse them with ethnic chauvinism about
>a particular race and teach them narrowly just about the background and culture of the
>race they happen to have been born into, but to teach them about all different cultures and
>different races and different traditions and not divide them up by race. I think
>that's really backwards.
Michael, you’ve taught a course like this Georgetown. Mr. Horne is basically saying,
these classes are teaching these kids that they been oppressed and that it creates anger and hatred, he said.
>>Well, it’s ironic to me
>>first, of all Mr. Horne doesn't see the contradiction in terms because he has
>>targeted this law toward Chicano Studies, so he's targeted a specific racial subgroup - an ethnic group
>>within the large panoply of American identities for this program. Number two what's interesting
>>is that a ethnic studies are rife in American history a but the ethnicities
>>happen to be Polish, Irish, Italian. It’s They happen to be white European, Western and
>>Eastern European identities that are the basis of ethnic identity and what constitutes American
>>History. If there was an integration of Chicano, Studies of African-American Studies of Latino Studies of Gay
>>and Lesbian Studies into the broader curriculum there would be no need to have
>>sub groupings and the sub cultural attention paid to these particular formations
>>Thirdly, I teach classes all the time at Georgetown and before that in Penn
>>and at De Paul University and most of students happen to be non…
>>people who are not students of color, so they happen to be African-American, but they
>>also happen to be Latina, Asian Americans, and white Americans. I think that white Americans
>>benefit from Chicano Studies. I think that white Americans benefit from Latina Studies, I think
>>that white Americans benefit from African-American studies. And finally, if we're talking about American
>>History and shying away from the history of oppression, we’re not talking about American
>>History. I live in Washington DC. Right next it’s door the governor of Virginia failed to mention
>>that slavery was a critical part of the Civil War.
>>This is why we need these area studies – To remind us the
>>true history of America, and I think that Mr. Horne would agree that we tell the
>>truth about American history – the blood, the glory, the
>>the, hardships and all that needs be told along with the great celebration of American democracy.
Tom, you said that Chicano Studies is teaching kids
they’ve been oppressed, and it makes them angry and unruly.
Hasn’t there been a history of oppression, though, of ethnic groups in this country,
and shouldn’t kids learn that? > Well, let me say that I didn't say that I was quoting a
>former teacher said that. We have testimony from a number of teachers and former teachers about
>the radical separatist agenda that the Raza Studies program has.
Well, you did did say that actually in your arguments that you published as an open letter
to people of Tucson. >Yes, I was quoting the teacher, so it wasn't from …
>I wasn’t just asserting it, we have quotations from a witness…
But you believe that. Why do you believe that? I mean, shouldn't, if there
has been a history of oppression which most people would say there has, why shouldn't
be taught? >The textbook they use called The Pedagogy Of
>Oppressed, by Paolo Freire, who is a well-known Brazilian Communist -
>I've read the book, the sources are Marx, Engels, Lenin, Che Guevara
>the philosophers who influence them
>and these kids parents and grandparents came to this country, most of them legally because
>this is the land of opportunity and they trust their children to our schools
>and we should be teaching these kids that this is the land of opportunity and
>that they work hard
>they can achieve their dreams and not teach and that there are oppressed. In fact
>one of the girls from the … They sent up some of the kids from the program…
So is there no racism today? I mean, is there … Is that something that should not be discussed?
>That’s not the predominant atmosphere of America, America is a land of opportunity and we
>should be teaching the kids that this is a land of opportunity and not teach
>them the downer that they're oppressed and they can't get anywhere they, should be against a government,
>they should be angry against the country. That’s what the teachers are saying. Their observation
>is that has been going on in this Raza Studies program. In fact I
>brought in a picture that you might want to show that shows the Revolutionary garb
>that they were when they protested against the law with the masks, sunglasses, berets, brown shirts.
>This is a revolutionary program, which an absolute abuse of taxpayer money to
>do that in my public schools, and we had … There was a girl … They
>sent up a bunch of students to testify at the Legislature and the girl was testifying.
>A state senator said, “Couldn’t you learn these things in other courses?” And she said,
>”No, before I took this
>course I didn't realize I was oppressed. Now that I took the course I realize that I'm oppressed.”
Michael, what about that? >>Well, this is ludicrous. “Paulo Freire” - the correct
>>pronunciation of the Brazilian philosopher - talked about pedagogy of the oppressed. Learning of people who have been oppressed.
>>You can talk about Michel Foucault who is a Frenchman, there
>>are there many people who talk about oppression and the release from oppression and
>>how we gain relief from it. In fact, Anderson, the history of America is
>>to seek relief from the oppression of the British so we can establish this country.
>>So, we're teaching of relief from oppression when we talk about the relief from the British
>>but more and more specifically, this is ludicrous to assume that the entire history
>>and culture of the people can be reduced responses to white supremacy, social injustice,
>>inequality. The reality is we have fought those battles, but we have made America better. When
>>Martin Luther King Jr. marched that should be taught not simply to African-American people but to Americans
>>because he fought against the principles and practices of prejudice so that the ideals
>>democracy could become real. Cesar Chavez, when he fought for the worker’s rights
>>there in California needs to be … that story needs to be told so that Americans
>>can understand that there were histories of people who oppressed these people…
But Michael, when people see that picture of, you know kids dressed up in khaki garb,
that's going to concern some and people. >>I understand that. I don't
>>mind people being critical of certain aspects, but that’s just like saying the Tea
>>Party movement that is out now that has racist and vitriolic portrayals
>>Senator O … President Obama should be wiped out altogether.
>>I’m sure that many people would say, no, there are legitimate points to be made
>>but those racist elements must be dealt with.
>>I don't think that I … I understand why that would be problematic, but radical separatism
>>has been practiced by American government. Practices terms of legal segregation. The most
>>radically the separatist organization in this country has been American government.
>>So, now we want to not deny the legitimacy of telling people the truth
>>we want a say bring the truth in the open so we can understand
>>greatness of this country, but we can’t do so by pretending that the ugliness did not exist.