Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On SB 1070, the Mexican American Studies Ban in Arizona, and Eva Longoria

Two days ago, The Huffington Post published an article by Roque Planas which quotes recent Chicano Studies M.A. recipient and highly recognized actress, Eva Longoria, stating that the Arizona Mexican-American Studies ban is "more tragic" than SB 1070. Her full statement reads,

“I think it’s even more tragic than SB 1070, [...] This is where our communities can learn about our history and to prevent anyone from doing that is criminal.”

While it is understandable that one learns about Chicano history in, well, Chicano history courses and textbooks, the absence of Chicano history or literature from our public schools is hardly comparable with Arizona's SB 1070, or the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act", which is a blatant violation of constitutional rights and a tool for racism.

Understandably, the Mexican-American Studies ban in public schools is unconstitutional and racist as well as it targets a specific "group's" rights in order to restrict speech. However, while romantic, the notion that this ban is more hurtful than SB 1070 to Mexican Americans in Arizona because it directly deters the proliferation of the study of our roots also highly undermines the effects that both laws have had in Arizona.

Let's be sensitive.

SB 1070 contributed directly to the detention, harassment, and deportation of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Arizona, whereas the ban on literature has had a more indirect effect.

As hateful and hurtful and racist as both laws are, I just don't like the comparison, colleague Longoria.

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