New Arizona Bill Would Ban College Courses, Classes, and Activities That Promote Social Justice
January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Only days before the Trump-Pence regime is set to assume power, a new bill has been introduced in the Arizona legislature that would ban any college courses, events, and activities that promote “social justice toward a race, gender, religion, political affiliation, social class or other class of people” or discuss “skin privilege” or racial equality. If this outrageous bill becomes law, any school found in violation would be subject to up to a 10 percent cut in their state aid. It would also ban courses and events that are “designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group” or advocate “solidarity” based on ethnicity, race, religion or gender. If enacted, whole departments could be challenged as violating these new norms.
In 2010 the Arizona legislature passed a bill that shut down Mexican American studies classes in Arizona secondary schools—in a state where 44 percent of the students are Latino. This bill takes that attack to a whole new level. It is declaring that academic freedom and First Amendment rights—what ideas students and professors will explore, discuss, advocate, or publicly promote on the college campuses in Arizona—will be subordinate to those with political power, who will determine which ideas are what they see as worthwhile and contribute to their societal goals.
This Arizona bill is not an isolated phenomenon but indicates where things are heading. Reactionary groups on college campuses across the country have been launching attacks against professors and courses that are seen as questioning American exceptionalism and undermining “traditional values”—in particular, patriarchal domination and white supremacy. For example, a website called “Professor Watchlist” has posted the names of over 160 professors they accuse of putting forward “leftist propaganda” and “discriminating” against right-wing students. All of this corresponds to the agenda that the Trump-Pence fascist regime is preparing to unleash. What is being demonstrated now in Arizona—in prelude to what will become the norm in the country if this regime is allowed to consolidate its rule—is that raw power dictates what “narrative” about this country’s history and present-day reality will be taught to the youth.
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