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Stegeman: Clarifying TUSD's MAS 'book ban'

When the TUSD board voted (4-1) to end the Mexican-American Studies (MAS) curriculum, ending use of the books had to be part of that package. Staff says that the seven titles removed from classrooms and placed into storage are still available in school libraries.
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2 comments on this story

Jan 23, 2012, 2:15 pm
-1 +0

I thank Mark Stegeman for this correspondence, and I thank Dylan Smith and other editors of the Sentinel for publishing the piece. Unfortunately, it will fall on figurative deaf ears. Those who need to understand what Mark was saying don’t want to hear it…they have their spin and their distortions and their agendas that they’re sticking to, and they don’t want to hear anything that contradicts that…no matter how factual it may be or what evidence is presented.

I’m glad attention has been called to these books. The reconquistator spin has been that these classes are not indoctrination and they’re harmless and just studying Hispanic heritage, blah blah blah…

Before I continue, allow me to post the context of the law that the MAS courses violate…

a) Promote overthrowing the U.S. government;

b) Promote resentment towards a race or class of people;

c)Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic race; and

d)Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.

Now, while one can’t judge a book by it’s cover, I believe one can get the gist of the contents by the title of the book. Let’s look them over, shall we?

“Occupied America: A History of Chicanos” - Rodolfo Acuña

Occupied, huh? This is sovereign United States territory. There is no occupation going on. Implying otherwise wouldn’t be suggesting an overthrow of the United States government, would it?

“Rethinking Columbus: The next 500 Years” - Bill Bigelow

Meh, maybe I’ll read it sometime.

“Critical Race Theory” - Richard Delgado

Race, huh? This wouldn’t be advocating ethnic solidarity, would it?

“Pedagogy of the Oppressed” - Paulo Freire

OK, so this teaches victimization, and then inevitable resentment toward the alleged “victimizers”. White folks, perhaps?
“Message to AZTLAN” - Rodolfo Gonzales

Aztlan. Isn’t that what the reconquistators call this area? Hmmmm…..
“500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures” - Elizabeth Martinez (ed.)

Photos? OK, I don’t see a problem with that.

“Chicano! The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement” - Arturo Rosales

Mexican Civil Rights…here we go again with the ethnic solidarity and promoting resentment towards a race or class of people

So, what we have here based on the titles of these books that the MAS program was based upon, five of them flew in the face of a fundamentally sound law. I passionately feel that if someone wants their kids learning to hate another group of people they should be doing it without tax dollars. I don’t want my money used to teach a bunch of retarded kids to hate me.

There’s something I’m desperate for these MAS supporters to understand…

-every single person alive during the Mexican-American war is now dead
-every single person alive during the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago is now dead
-every single person alive when Arizona was admitted to the Union as the 48th state is now either dead, or at such an advance age at this point to where they would pose no threat to anyone

So, if this hate and resentment still exist (which obviously it does), then it has become multigenerational, taught from one generation to the next…no different then KKK members teaching their kids to hate black folks.

If the death of all those involved in the process of this region becoming sovereign United States territory isn’t enough to stop the resentment, then where could it possible ever end, and when?

And, let’s say for a minute that the reconquistators one day achieve their goal of “reconquering” “Aztlan”, then what? Will we have the descendents of former Americans saying that the area is occupied and the Mexican nationals are the oppressors?

There has to be a point somewhere where we ALL just accept the things the way they are and move on with our lives and stop teaching our children to hate based on the way things used to be generations ago.


Jan 23, 2012, 2:17 pm
-1 +0


This may be my best internet comment ever. I’d like to conclude it with my favorite quote ever uttered by a president, Teddy Roosevelt. I feel this sums up how I feel and further serves to drive my point home…

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all.

This is just as true of the man who puts “native” before the hyphen as of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the hyphen. Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance.

But if he is heartily and singly loyal to this Republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as any one else.

The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English- Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian- Americans, or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality than with the other citizens of the American Republic.

The men who do not become Americans and nothing else are hyphenated Americans; and there ought to be no room for them in this country. The man who calls himself an American citizen and who yet shows by his actions that he is primarily the citizen of a foreign land, plays a thoroughly mischievous part in the life of our body politic. He has no place here; and the sooner he returns to the land to which he feels his real heart-allegiance, the better it will be for every good American.

-Addressing the Knights of Columbus in New York City

Those President Roosevelt uttered this almost a century ago, there are far too many who have yet to understand what he was trying to say…and that’s a crying shame.

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books, ethnic studies, mark stegeman, mas, tusd

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