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Will You Speak Out Before There Is No One Else To Speak?

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Less than a month after Arizona’s so-called “Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” made racial profiling the law of the land, Governor Jan Brewer signed a new law that targets Latinos and other minorities, not on the streets but in the classroom. HB 2281 bans ethnic studies in the state’s public and charter schools, an attempt to dissolve the Mexican American Studies Department in the Tuscon Unified School District (TUSD), and a move that puts African American studies, Pan-Asian studies, and Native American studies in the crosshairs. Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, a former lawyer who is running for state attorney general, has been waging war against the ethnic studies department for years, describing it as “promoting ethnic chauvinism.”

“It’s just like the old South, and it’s long past time that we prohibited it,” Horne said this week, even as media outlets reported that Arizona schools are being directed by his office to purge English teachers who speak with an accent.

Sean Arce, Director of the Mexican American Studies Department in Tuscon told AlterNet that the new law is all part of a political agenda that is creating a “toxic environment in Arizona, specifically geared at Latinos.”

“I think [supporters of the law] have really been emboldened by the other anti-Latino, anti-immigrant legislation,” he says, “and, also, I believe Tom Horne is using this as an anti-Latino platform to get elected to the attorney general’s office.”

Arizona’s law, which was partly written by Superintendent Horne, makes it illegal for a school district to provide any classes that “promote the overthrow of the United States government,” “promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals,” and which “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.” Arce and his ethnic studies colleagues argue that this is a complete distortion of their program — a program Arce vows will not going away anytime soon.

“We’re going to continue to do what we have been doing, because we know that those four major provisions in the bill are absurd,” he says. “For example, promoting the overthrow of the American government — that’s ridiculous, we don’t do any of those things.” (Indeed, as noted by Politico this week, “neither the governor nor the bill’s supporters have identified examples where a Chicano studies class has advocated the ‘overthrow’ of the federal government.”)

Instead, Arce says, the 12-year-old program has bolstered academic achievement by Latino students, lowered the dropout rate, and enhanced the college matriculation rate.

“Unfortunately, some fear an educated Latino population,” Arce says, because it “translates to a more participatory demographic; a more involved, informed demographic. That translates to possible votes — and a possible shift if power relations that exist here in the state of Arizona.”

Rather than shut down all ethnic studies courses immediately, HB 2281 directs either the Arizona Board of Education or the office of the superintendent to first conduct an investigation to determine whether the curriculum is in violation of the law. “It is a process that the state has to go through,” says Arce. Given the political climate, however, he and his allies are wasting no time. A lawsuit against the measure is in the works “on behalf of parents, students, teaching staff and the community,” he says. In the meantime, students have taken to the streets to raise their voices in opposition to the new law. On Wednesday, 15 people, including four minors, were arrested protesting in front of state offices. “That doesn’t happen very much,” says Arce. “You don’t see kids fighting for their education.”

Some 1,500 students are currently enrolled in the TUSD’s ethnic studies program, which also extends to elementary and middle school students, as partly integrated into their curriculum.

“Don’t Propagandize Kids”

Upon taking office in 2003, Superintendent Tom Horne lamented that “the progressive movement has de-emphasized the teaching of substance,” stressing the need to bolster the teaching of American history. “Our high school students must learn about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Revolutionary War, the ideas on which this country was founded, and the Greco-Roman basis of western civilization,” he said in his inauguration speech, an idea he repeated in a 2007 speech before the conservative Heritage Foundation.

In his speeches and articles, Horne likes to boast that he participated in Martin Luther King’s March on Washington in 1963, citing his favorite line from MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech: that children should be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.

“That has been a fundamental principal for me my entire life, and ethnic studies teach the opposite,” Horne wrote in 2008, repeating the same anecdote to CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Horne believes that ethnic studies is emblematic of a “race obsessed,” “downer philosophy” that teaches students that they are oppressed.

On CNN Horne had the misfortune of appearing alongside the fast-talking scholar Micheal Eric Dyson, who countered that “Martin Luther King Jr. cannot not be used to justify xenophobic and racist passions that are dressed up as desires to reform the curriculum.”

“I would say that the xenophobia and racism is on your side,” Horne responded. See the video above.

When asked by Cooper whether he meant to say that there is “no racism in this country,” Horne replied, “That’s not the predominant atmosphere in America.”
And yet, in many quarters of the country, Arizona is becoming something of a pariah state for its newly reactionary treatment of Latinos. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon estimated this week that a collective boycott of the state could cost Arizona $90 million.

Even amid such continuing national outrage over the anti-immigrant SB 1070, however, Horne insists that Arizona students are being fed a false narrative of racial victimization. “Don’t propagandize kids that they’re oppressed and that they have no future and that they should be angry at their country,” he said. “Teach them that this is the land of opportunity, where if they work hard they can achieve their dreams.”

Horne seems blissfully unaware — or else indifferent — to the contradiction between his insistence that all children should be treated as individuals, regardless of race, and the new laws that are being passed specifically targeting Latinos.

If this can happen to Latinos it can happen to Mexican American Studies Department in the Tuscon Unified School District (TUSD), it can happen to African American studies, Pan-Asian studies, Native American studies, etc any where in the USA. Will you speak out before there is no one else to speak?

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    Posted 3 years, 11 months ago at 1:56 pm. Add a comment

    Art Linkletter Creator Of Kids Say The Darndest Things Dies At 97

    Art Linkletter Kids Say the Darndest Things

    Art Linkletter "Kids Say the Darndest Things

    My maternal grandmother loved Art Linkletter and as a kid growing up in the 60s, I would sit with her after school and watch Art Linkletter’s House Party Show.

    Art Linkletter, who hosted the popular TV shows ‘People Are Funny’ and ‘House Party’ in the 1950s and 1960s, has died. He was 97.

    His son-in-law, Art Hershey, says Linkletter died Wednesday at his home in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles.

    ‘Art Linkletter’s House Party,’ one of television’s longest-running variety shows, debuted on radio in 1944 and was seen on CBS-TV from 1952 to 1969.

    Though it had many features, the best known was the daily interviews with schoolchildren.

    “On ‘House Party,’ I would talk to you and bring out the fact that you had been letting your boss beat you at golf over a period of months as part of your campaign to get a raise,” Linkletter wrote.

    “All the while, without your knowledge, your boss would be sitting a few feet away listening, and at the appropriate moment, I would bring you together,” he said. “Now, that’s funny, because the laugh arises out of a real situation.”

    Linkletter collected sayings from the children into ‘Kids Say The Darndest Things,’ and it sold in the millions. The book ’70 Years of Best Sellers 1895-1965′ ranked ‘Kids Say the Darndest Things’ as the 15th top seller among nonfiction books in that period.

    The primetime ‘People Are Funny,’ which began on radio in 1942 and ran on TV from 1954 to 1961, emphasized slapstick humor and audience participation — things like throwing a pie in the face of a contestant who couldn’t tell his Social Security number in five seconds, or asking him to go out and cash a check written on the side of a watermelon.

    The down-to-earth charm of Linkletter’s broadcast persona seemed to be mirrored by his private life with his wife of more than seventy years, Lois. They had five children, whom he wrote about in his books and called the “Links.”

    But in 1969, his 20-year-old daughter, Diane, jumped to her death from her sixth-floor Hollywood apartment. He blamed her death on LSD use, but toxicology tests found no LSD in her body after she died.

    Still, the tragedy prompted him to become a crusader against drugs. A son, Robert, died in a car accident in 1980. Another son, Jack Linkletter, was 70 when he died of lymphoma in 2007.

    Art Linkletter got his first taste of broadcasting with a part-time job while attending San Diego State College in the early 1930s. He graduated in 1934.

    “I was studying to be an English professor,” Linkletter once said. “But as they say, life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.”

    He held a series of radio and promotion jobs in California and Texas, experimenting with audience participation and remote broadcasts, before forming his own production company in the 1940s and striking it big with ‘People Are Funny’ and ‘House Party.’

    Linkletter was born Arthur Gordon Kelly on July 17, 1912, in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. His unwed mother put him up for adoption when he was a baby; when he was about 7, he and his adoptive parents moved to the United States, eventually settling in San Diego.

    He recalled his preacher-father forced him to take odd jobs to help the family. So Linkletter left and became a hobo, hopping trains across the West, working where he could. He recalled later that he felt the religious faith instilled by his father had been a great gift.

    After leaving daily broadcasting in 1969, Linkletter continued to write, lecture and appear in television commercials.

    Among his other books, were ‘Old Age is Not for Sissies,’ ‘How To Be a Supersalesman,’ ‘Confessions of a Happy Man,’ ‘Hobo on the Way to Heaven’ and his autobiography, ‘I Didn’t Do It Alone.’

    A recording Linkletter made with his daughter Diane not long before she died, ‘We Love You, Call Collect,’ was issued after her death and won a Grammy award for best spoken word recording.

    “Life is not fair … not easy,” Linkletter said in a 1990 interview by The Associated Press. “Outside, peer pressure can wreak havoc with the nicest families. So that’s the part that’s a gamble.

    “But I’m an optimist. Even though I’ve had tragedies in my life, and I’ve seen a lot of difficult things, I still am an optimist.”

    Bill Cosby tried to bring “Kids Say the Darndest Things” back to television, and as delightful as it was, it just couldn’t compare to those afternoons sitting with my maternal grandmother watching Art Linkletter after school. Take a look at the video below to the Art Linkletter tribute done by Cosby.

    Linkletter is survived by his wife, Lois, whom he married in 1935, and daughters Dawn and Sharon.

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      Posted 3 years, 11 months ago at 1:37 pm. Add a comment