have never met, and my son and/or daughter is not matriculated in the school
district you oversee. I am writing today in my capacity as the publisher of Hinchas
de Poesía (www.hinchasdepoesia.com), a fledgling online literary journal,
and in collaboration with Max Macias, a Chicano librarian living near Portland,
Oregon. We are both members of REFORMA, although the contents of this letter
and the opinions expressed herein solely belong to us (Yago S. Cura and Max
We are writing
to express our intense gratitude for your continuing, yet albeit wholly
indirect, support of Ethnic Studies in the United States of America. Put
simply, if it were not for you upholding Arizona state law ARS 15-112,
which prohibits the use of educational materials that, "promote the
overthrow of the United States government; promote resentment toward a race or
class of people; are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic
group; advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as
individuals," then Ethnic Studies in the United States might still be
relegated to a tangential artery of U.S. literature. In one fell swoop of pencil-pushing
preemptiveness, you have guaranteed the ascent of Ethnic Studies in this
country for at least another 10 years. My humble journal doesn’t sell
advertisements, so this will at least ensure that we remain relevant (and
salient--since I cover all overhead) for at least another five to seven years.
undercover promotion of Ethnic Studies has certainly caught the attention of a
generation of disaffected youth of color, who might not have ever heard of
Ethnic Studies, nor read the books the school district chose to ban. Whereas
before these students were slightly motivated to learn historical perspectives
not routinely offered to them, now they are up-in-arms and agitated to learn
their history. In other words, you have
inadvertently created convenient reading lists of forbidden books for young
people. You have given them reason to utilize their nearest public library,
seeking these books.
Your concerted attacks might have
actually even increased the circulation of these forbidden tomes in inner-city
libraries and under-resourced school system libraries. We anticipate “Latino” literature will
germinate a new corps of writers from the vigilant, patriotic headlocks you
have exerted on some of these titles, such as Howard Zinn’s A People’s
History of the U.S., Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto
Fistfight in Heaven (a book I had the pleasure of forcing my students in
the Bronx to read), and Luis Rodriguez’s Always Running: La Vida Loca—Gang
Days in L.A.
Max and I are
both survivors of Reaganomics, and we have oodles of respect for Hip-Hop.
Interestingly enough, there are many music critics who believe that without the
social squeeze put on people of color by Reaganomics, there would have been no
Hip-Hop culture. Could you imagine a world without Afrika Bambattaa, Public
Enemy, or KRS-One, just to name a few? As a small online publisher, I probably
would have had increasingly less and less to publish if you would have just left
Mexican American Studies alone. The important, but immaterial ideas
disseminated in Ethnic Studies classes have to compete with the more lucrative
disciplines like Business and Biological Sciences. Now, however, we predict,
there will be a renaissance of new Ethnic Studies presses that develop to
publish new studies, articles, fiction, poetry and editorials from the myriad
aspects and perspectives that these values bring to light. These new
presses will present avenues for new ideas and great historical works to be
published and spread throughout our great nation and the world.
Videos, podcasts, and other new forms of media will be produced and made
available to the masses. We simply cannot thank you enough.
There is a deep
distrust of your actions felt by people in our communities; it is our hope that
this letter will help them see your actions in a new light. Hegel’s Cunning of Reason
is alive and well in the United States--particularly in Arizona! Let's be
honest-- without your sage and cosmopolitan bigotry, many of the writers whose
books you rightfully banned might have been relegated to the status of literary
conference speakers and community college hacks--destined solely to the erosion
of illiteracy at the "hood" level.
Now, there will be an unprecedented call for these authors to make
appearances, and book orders will grow. More importantly, you and your peers
have (as Sherman Alexie has already pronounced) made these texts “sacred”; by
making them politically illicit, you have polarized their attractiveness. Seizing them off of the shelves of schools in
your state you have provisioned the liberal opposition with a facile foray of
direct opposition. At the very least, you have made them eminently attractive
to minority students and disenfranchised American youth. You have forced
editors out of their editing chairs and deputized them (informally, of course)
to become book smugglers, or librotraficantes.
Tony Diaz, the
editor of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, could have
just been another minority writer, editor, translator, teacher; you have made
him aspire to justice and smuggle into your district relatively popular texts
which now smolder with the mesmerizing possibilities of something forbidden.
You have empowered our texts at a time when less and less people are reading
books, and less and less people of color are publishing and writing them.
We believe we
can agree on one irrefutable fact. The
T.U.S.D. is doing something right: they
are increasing an interest in education. You are giving educated Ethnic Studies
professors a lectern from which to speak; this will only increase education and
the desire to be educated in the Latino community. As you’re aware,
education is the best weapon against oppression and indoctrination. Placing
Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed on your banned books list
highlights his emphasis on these ideas; Freire’s study is something all readers
can directly relate to, explaining why unjust social conditions are allowed to
propagate. Our people are interested in what everyone is interested
in--bettering their lives and creating opportunities for their children.
Again, we want
to thank you in advance for your efforts toward propagating, promulgating, and
publicizing excellent works by our most celebrated Latino writers, historians,
The idiots from TUSD have created more awareness about Ethnic Studies in the US than I have ever seen. I am 45 years old. Thank you AZ!
There are Ethnic Studies events going on around the nation, and I would like to participate by requesting you purchase a book from this list and donate it to your local library. We are going to increase the Ethnic Studies Collections in libraries around the nation!
Please share and post widely!
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. PetersonThe Latino Condition: A Critical Reader (1998) by R. Delgado and J. StefancicCritical Race Theory: An Introduction (2001) by R. Delgado and J. StefancicPedagogy of the Oppressed (2000) by P. FreireUnited States Government: Democracy in Action (2007) by R. C. RemyDictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (2006) by F. A. RosalesDeclarations 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. AcuñaThe Anaya Reader (1995) by R. AnayaThe American Vision (2008) by J. Appleby et el.Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (1998) by B. Bigelow and B. PetersonDrink Cultura: Chicanismo (1992) by J. A. BurciagaMessage to Aztlán: Selected Writings (1997) by R. GonzalesDe Colores Means All of Us: Latina Views Multi-Colored Century (1998) by E. S. Martínez500 Años Del Pueblo Chicano/500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures (1990) by E. S. MartínezCodex Tamuanchan: On Becoming Human (1998) by R. RodríguezThe X in La Raza II (1996) by R. RodríguezDictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (2006) by F. A. RosalesA 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. AlexieThe Fire Next Time (1990) by J. BaldwinLoverboys (2008) by A. CastilloWomen Hollering Creek (1992) by S. CisnerosMexican White Boy (2008) by M. de la PenaDrown (1997) by J. DíazWoodcuts of Women (2000) by D. GilbAt the Afro-Asian Conference in Algeria (1965) by E. GuevaraColor Lines: "Does Anti-War Have to Be Anti-Racist Too?" (2003) by E. MartínezCulture Clash: Life, Death and Revolutionary Comedy (1998) by R. Montoya et al.Let Their Spirits Dance (2003) by S. Pope DuarteTwo Badges: The Lives of Mona Ruiz (1997) by M. RuizThe Tempest (1994) by W. ShakespeareA Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America (1993) by R. TakakiThe Devil's Highway (2004) by L. A. UrreaPuro Teatro: A Latino Anthology (1999) by A. Sandoval-Sanchez & N. Saporta SternbachTwelve Impossible Things before Breakfast: Stories (1997) by J. YolenVoices 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-JamalThe Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven (1994) by S. AlexieZorro (2005) by I. AllendeBorderlands La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1999) by G. AnzalduaA Place to Stand (2002), by J. S. BacaC-Train and Thirteen Mexicans (2002), by J. S. BacaHealing Earthquakes: Poems (2001) by J. S. BacaImmigrants in Our Own Land and Selected Early Poems (1990) by J. S. BacaBlack Mesa Poems (1989) by J. S. BacaMartin & Mediations on the South Valley (1987) by J. S. BacaThe Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America's Public Schools (1995) by D. C. Berliner and B. J. BiddleDrink Cultura: Chicanismo (1992) by J. A BurciagaRed Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States (2005) by L. Carlson & O. HijuielosCool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing up Latino in the United States (1995) by L. Carlson & O. HijuelosSo Far From God (1993) by A. CastilloAddress to the Commonwealth Club of California (1985) by C. E. ChávezWomen Hollering Creek (1992) by S. CisnerosHouse on Mango Street (1991), by S. CisnerosDrown (1997) by J. DíazSuffer Smoke (2001) by E. Diaz BjorkquistZapata's Discipline: Essays (1998) by M. EspadaLike Water for Chocolate (1995) by L. EsquievelWhen Living was a Labor Camp (2000) by D. GarcíaLa Llorona: Our Lady of Deformities (2000), by R. GarciaCantos Al Sexto Sol: An Anthology of Aztlanahuac Writing (2003) by C. García-Camarilo et al.The Magic of Blood (1994) by D. GilbMessage to Aztlan: Selected Writings (2001) by Rodolfo "Corky" GonzalesSaving Our Schools: The Case for Public Education, Saying No to "No Child Left Behind" (2004) by Goodman et al.Feminism is for Everybody (2000) by b hooksThe Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (1999) by F. JiménezSavage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools (1991) by J. KozolZigzagger (2003) by M. MuñozInfinite 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. RiveraAlways Running - La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. (2005) by L. RodriguezJustice: A Question of Race (1997) by R. RodríguezThe X in La Raza II (1996) by R. RodríguezCrisis in American Institutions (2006) by S. H. Skolnick & E. CurrieLos Tucsonenses: The Mexican Community in Tucson, 1854-1941 (1986) by T. SheridanCurandera (1993) by Carmen TafollaMexican American Literature (1990) by C. M. TatumNew Chicana/Chicano Writing (1993) by C. M. TatumCivil Disobedience (1993) by H. D. ThoreauBy the Lake of Sleeping Children (1996) by L. A. UrreaNobody's Son: Notes from an American Life (2002) by L. A. UrreaZoot Suit and Other Plays (1992) by L. ValdezOcean Power: Poems from the Desert (1995) by O. Zepeda
UPDATE, Monday, January 16, 2012
The list above is not complete. As I learn of other titles that have been boxed, I will add them to the list.
Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo AnayaYo Soy Joaquin/I Am Joaquin by Rodolfo GonzalesInto the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto UrreaThe Devil's Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea
Apparrently Pinterest is changing their look next week. 9/26/11.
Here is a snapshot of the new look:
Easier to pin is one upgrade listed,
" ...quick to pin, simpler to comment, and easier to find Pinners that share your interests. We’ve also made it much simpler to mention other Pinners - just type ‘@’ followed by their name in any comment, pin, or edit form on the site."
Improved Boards, here is a shot of them.
The blog post doesn't say much about how they will be improved however. I have faith in this company though and am looking forward to the upgrade.
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