A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
19 May 2010
As Arizona moves past the “tipping point” of non-white population, its government scrambles to safeguard historical white lies from exposure by public school ethnic studies programs. The governor “intends to wipe the white historical slate clean of actual genocides, enslavements, land piracies, and all manner of crimes against darker peoples.” The truth shall not be spoken in Arizona.”
“The truth shall not be spoken in Arizona, if it is detrimental to the reputation and sensibilities of white people.”
The State of Arizona has very ambitious goals. It will not be satisfied simply to impose a kind of apartheid system in which Latino-looking persons have no rights that a policeman is bound to respect. Oh no, Arizona’s legislature and governor have a grander plan, a much larger vision to rewrite history so as to place white people back where they think they belong: at the unchallenged center of all things worth knowing and learning. In order to do that, it is necessary to erase and outlaw the past and present of those who are not white. Governor Jan Brewer thinks she can whitewash history and put barbed wired around the present and the future with the stroke of a pen. In signing what is effectively a ban on teaching any version of history other than the approved, white version, in elementary and secondary public schools, the governor seeks to impose an ethnic cleansing of the mind – a kind of official genocide of past generations. She intends to wipe the white historical slate clean of actual genocides, enslavements, land piracies, and all manner of crimes against darker peoples. The truth shall not be spoken in Arizona, if it is detrimental to the reputation and sensibilities of white people. Apparently, the true facts of history cause white Arizona great pain, like sunlight shining on Dracula. Gov. Brewer wants to shut out the light, by shutting down ethnic studies in the classroom, making the schools safe for white lies.
Whites make up less than 60 percent of Arizona, which is apparently past the tipping point at which many of them become terrified at the prospect of losing their monopoly on power, including the power to hijack history to the service of one group: whites. One of the ways whites dominate other ethnic groups, is by denying that whites are an ethnicity, at all, but the normative form of human being. When Arizona’s legislature prohibits teaching classes that are, in the language of the new law, “designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group,” they mean classes designed for non-whites. Of course, schools in the United States have always tailored classes to one ethnic group: whites. History has always been a white narrative, and therefore by definition, a lie and a slander against the other ethnicities. Arizona wants its white lies back.
“Governor Jan Brewer thinks she can whitewash history and put barbed wired around the present and the future with the stroke of a pen.”
It is now forbidden to teach that which causes “resentment toward a race or class of people.” Since it is impossible to teach the truth of genocide, slavery, aggressive war and conquest, racial discrimination and all the other central facts of America’s past and present, without arousing some degree of resentment among the victims, only falsified versions of history will pass legal muster in Arizona.
The state reveals itself as the unreconstructed heartland of Latter Day McCarthyism, where subversives lurk under every classroom desk. The new law puts schools off-limits to materials that advocate “overthrow of the United States government.” What they really mean is: overthrow of white dominance over the rest of us. That includes preserving the sanctity of White American Manifest Destiny. What is actually manifest is that the destiny of Arizona, and America, is to lose its white majority. In the process, the United States will also shed all those books full of white lies – which is what Gov. Brewer is afraid of.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com
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