Here is New York Times' Maggie Astor's column on the August 22, 2017 Arizona court decision. Former Arizona schools superintendent John Huppenthal thinks that growing up with Mexican Americans in Tucson doesn't make him racist. He fails to see just how offensive, and yes, racist, it is to say that he succeeded in school because he had the "right values" growing up—whereas, by implication, Mexicans did not. Racism consists, in great part, in the making of not only categorical, often stereotypical, blanket, statements like this (see below). It shows how he really doesn't know or understand the people he arrogantly claims to defend.
Ironically, Huppenthal himself could have saved himself a lot of grief had he had an Ethnic Studies intervention at some point in his life. Among other things, he would have learned that getting "inoculated" from racism—if it is even fully achievable in a society and world that is profoundly stratified by race/ethnicity and class—doesn't automatically come with having played football, run cross-country, and wrestled with Mexican kids that one grows up with. If there's no curriculum or pedagogy to that effect, then there is no thought process to occur that would have broken it all down for him in a way that would have ultimately saved him from himself. Same deal with Tom Horne.
Thankfully, a judge thought differently about all of this, too. You can read my own personal reflection on the matter here if you like.
Angela Valenzuela, Ph.D.
|Paul Sakuma/Associated Press|
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