On July 7, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed Arizona’s ban on Mexican-American studies to stand but simultaneously sent the case back to an Arizona district court to ascertain whether the law was “motivated at least in part by a discriminatory intent.”
If so, the law could be unconstitutional.
On January 10, Breitbart News reported that the former head of Arizona’s Department of Education John Huppenthal released a letter saying, “Public schools in Tucson, Arizona, illegally promote ethnic solidarity and the overthrow of the U.S. government by teaching Mexican history, Rage Against the Machine lyrics, and an explanation of hip hop by rapper KRS-One.”
The Huffington Post reported that Huppenthal had fought against a Tucson course he believed undercut the ban by offering American history from “a Mexican-American perspective.” He bolstered his claim by citing the course description:
In this class we will study the history and culture of Chicano, Mexicano and indigenous people throughout the United States and Mexico. This class is intended to get students to become critically conscious about the society that we live in and the history that has made it what it is today.
He and fellow Arizona Republicans “first passed legislation restricting ethnic studies in 2010. The law banned classes that advocate the overthrow of the U.S. government, urge ethnic solidarity, breed ethnic resentment or treat students as members of a group rather than as individuals.”
On July 7, the 9th Circuit ruled that the law stands—for now.
Richard Martinez, one of the attorneys who brought the suit against Arizona, celebrated the verdict, saying:
While it has been a long process, the federal courts have the most important forum in Arizona to successfully challenge this unprecedented era of state-mandated racism that Latinos have been confronted with.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.