The back story to HB 2281, the law passed by Arizona state legislators banning Reconquista “ethnic studies” is that the inquiry into “ethnic studies” was provoked by pervasive racist violence that Hispanic kids were committing against white and black kids, and that parents discovered that the “expert,” “Raza [Race] Studies” educators were teaching Hispanic students to kill whites, except that the educators used a term that is the equivalent to “n*gger” or “honkey” to describe whites: “gringo.” As in, “Kill the gringo.”
[Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by communist Paulo Freire] is required reading in “Raza Studies” or Mexican-American courses in the high schools in Tucson, Arizona, where students have been protesting Arizona’s new immigration law. Other required books are Occupied America by Rodolfo Acuña, a professor emeritus of Chicano studies at California State University in Northridge (CSUN), and Prison Notebooks by Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Communist.
Occupied America, the fifth edition, includes an image of Fidel Castro on the front cover, and Castro and Che Guevara on the back cover. It refers to white people as “gringos” and actually includes a quotation on page 323 from Jose Angel Gutierrez of the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO), who was angry over the cancellation of a government program. He declared:
“We are fed up. We are going to move to do away with the injustice to the Chicano and if the ‘gringo’ doesn’t get out of our way, we will stampede over him.”
The book goes on:
“Gutierrez attacked the gringo establishment angrily at a press conference and called upon Chicanos to ‘Kill the gringo,’ which meant to end white control over Mexicans.”
Reviewing this material for the National Association of Scholars, Ashley Thorne commented that, “Actually, ‘kill the gringo’ meant ‘kill the gringo.’ But admitting that makes Mexicans look radical, infuriated, revolutionary, Acuña sidestepped that image and substituted it with one of browbeaten Latinos rising to overthrow injustice.”
The Arizona citizens upset about this kind of material said that they initiated an investigation into the problem back in 2007 and found it difficult to get access to the books. One activist said the concern began when parents came to be aware of violence in the schools directed against white and black children. “This investigation was undertaken to find the roots of this hate,” she told me. Another person, in turn, “told me the books in their Mexican-American classes are kept under ‘lock and key’ and the kids can’t even take them home. She said she asked to see them but they were very secretive about them and she was prohibited.”
However, the citizen activists persisted, demanding access to the books under a state open records law. The courses, after all, are taxpayer-funded. Eventually, a list of books was produced, and a controversy ensued.
“Arizona Ethnic Studies Exposed,” by Cliff Kincaid, Accuracy in Media, May 24, 2010.
This revolutionary fervor is even more pronounced in Occupied America, which tells the story of the Southwestern United States from the perspective of Mexican Americans and has been called “the Chicano bible.” The book is sympathetic to Mexico in a reference to the battle at the Alamo….
In another place, Acuña wrote:
Gutiérrez attacked the gringo establishment angrily at a press conference and called upon Chicanos to ‘kill the gringo,’ which meant to end white control over Mexicans.
Actually, “kill the gringo” means “kill the gringo.” Jose Angel Gutiérrez, who is referenced here, is the co-founder of the Raza Unida Party, a U.S. political third party. At a 1995 conference Gutiérrez declared, “We have got to eliminate the gringo, and what I mean by that is if the worst comes to the worst, we have got to kill him.” Today Gutiérrez is a professor of political science at the University of Texas at Arlington.
The Raza studies program housed its revolutionary aims in terms of “transformation” and social justice.” Among its goals were to “Advocate for and provide curriculum that is centered within the pursuit of social justice,” “Work towards the invoking of a critical consciousness within each and every student,” and “Promote and advocate for social and educational transformation.”
While such aims and books do not explicitly call for the overthrow of the U.S. government, they do seek to stir up in students a racial consciousness that perceives white Americans as the enemy and oppressor. Freire invites minority students to identify themselves as victims and to fight back [read: violently assault whites]. Acuña invokes an America where ‘gringos’ are power-thirsty imperialists whom Chicanos must overthrow.
“Arizona Ends Divisive Chicano Studies in Schools” by Ashley Thorne, The National Association of Scholars, May 13, 2010.