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Outlawing Shakespeare: The Battle for the Tucson Mind
       

Outlawing Shakespeare: The Battle for the Tucson Mind

Outlawing Shakespeare: The Battle for the Tucson Mind is a documentary that focuses on the elimination of the Mexican American Studies program within the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) in Arizona. Under a federal de-segregation decree, Mexican American Studies was created and was successful at improving academic achievement for Latino students in Tucson until earlier in 2012 when it was shut down by the TUSD School Board.

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17 Comments »

corrine Madrid Nieto says:

The people in Arizona's government need to actually open a book and read any of the books and will see that it is just history of our pass. Nothing different that studying about European history for nationalities from there. I am so glad that didn't happen here in California. I was at Long Beach U during the seventies where the Chicano Studies dept. was starting there. It sure helped me understand what my parents and aunts and uncles went through growing up in the thirties and forties. They got in trouble for speaking Spanish and now that's what everyone wants to speak.... I hope things change I have family in Tucson.

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Tony Wise says:

This document is just another example of the mexicans trying to suck america dry. I ve heard mexicans say this was thier land. Well , if they want to takc ie back , are they going to give it back to the French and are the French going to give it back to the commanches , are the commanches going to give it back to the Apaches and so on . Why is mexico not helping. They love to complain but will do nothing to help. If the mexican culture is so great, why are all the mexicans coming north. Imigration in the mexican mind is opening the borders and letting anybody come in and do anything they want to. MEXICANS ARE BLACKS ARE THE MOST EXTREME RACIST ON HE NORTH AMERICAN CONTINENT.

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Juana Mora replies:

Below are a few books I recommend that you read before you espouse racist rhetoric: 1) Ronald Takai, A Different Mirror; 2) Howard Zinn, A People's History; 3) James Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me; and 4) Rodolfo Acuña, Occupied America. This is only a start. Best of luck.

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cesar replies:

Omg! All I can say is that I will pray for u!

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Michael Striker says:

When I went through grade school in the late 70s and 80s (in Arizona, Texas, and California), history classes taught us about events that directly shaped the U.S.A. or that state. Anything which was big news for its day BUT had little initial effect on the U.S. (Zulu wars, Norse raids, international European political machinations in the 1600s, Papal wars, Irish and Scottish rebellions, etc.) was either mentioned in passing or glossed over. There was no "race-specific" history, as it was mostly European/American in focus. That being said, I liked learning about other cultures and their histories. Anthropology introduced me to some of this as did my own studies (usually to find out why technologies evolved where and how they did or to understand military/political achievements). Art classes and English/Literature classes also provided much insight into pre-U.S. culture and issues. I think that the racially-focused heritage classes were flawed in that they emphasized racial divisions (Race X has Class version X, Race Y has Class version Y). As to oppressive behavior: look up the Dixie Chicks, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Jim Crow laws, Congressman James McCarthy, the Civil Rights movements, white slavery, Cherokee history, etc. Oppression keeps happening because folks think "it's not happening to me, so it doesn't matter"...

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Lena Marie says:

I am of Scandinavian background, they don't teach Scand in the schools for me or my family. My husbands family was of German background - same for him... Does New Orleans teach French in the lower grades? Anywhere Italian is a required study for lower schools? How about printing the school books, the food labels, the political information and on and on ad infinitum. It is more expensive to continue this practice than we can afford. It would be cheaper if you would all learn to speak English, as you should, and as every other immigrant has done without question. You want your children taught family history? You teach it at home, that's what every other Nationality has done. Why do you think you are better or more deserving?

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Juana Mora replies:

It might come as a surprise to you, but we speak and write English very well. We are bicultural and bilingual. We have positively contributed to the social, political, and economic development of the United States, and we are demanding that those contributions be recognized and taught. Also, it would serve you well to learn and understand about the historical relationship between Mexico and the United States. Maybe then your opinions would not be so narrow or ill-informed. I wish you well. Viva Raza Studies!

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cesar replies:

Your comment is just proof to how ignorant u are to what is going on. There is no family history being taught (unless that family had direct involvement in the shaping of America) these xclasses teach american history from a mexican american point of view not the hiostory of mexico. Ppl forget that mexicans are indiginous ppl of this land in the southwest. We atre a mixture of native and spanish european and my family has been on these lands for generations so y can we not learn about how these indiginous ppl have helped to shape our country into what it is now in the same way we learn about how MLK helped shape our nation or how general custer helped shape our country, or how any group of ppl have come together to fight opression. The reason those classes were created is because in the southwest it is not incorperated into the standard history classes and it needs to be taught, especially in the southwest. You say we need to learn english and we have and those that haven't are doing there best to learn in order to survive but we should have the right to be able to hang on to our native language and not b punished for speaking it. In Tucson over 65% of the TUSD district is hispanic and these classes were asked for by the public and should b available to all student. Its not right that there can b african american studies and native american studies to show how they helped shape our country but teaching how mexicans helped shape our c,ountry is ILLEGAL and any book that teaches that is BANNED. Not only is it not fair and unjust but unamerican! It is oppressive, controlling and dictative! Never in America did I think we would be banning literature, especially shakespere! Please open your eyes and stop being so close minded and ignorant. Do the research and realize that we too need to be recognized as part of America! Most of my family did not migrate her, they were here before the US bought this land from Mexico so how are we to blame for being here, and how are ppl guna tell us to go back when we are exactly where we have always been?? Sorry now I am just rambling now but I believe I have made my point. Thank u!

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Zorra replies:

Lena, first and foremost as Mexican-Americans, as Chican@, we are Indigenous to this land. You and your husband are of European descent thus if you want to learn Scandinavian culture or German, perhaps going back there would be more suiting.

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Felipe de Ortego y Gasca says:

This is an extraordinary video--balanced, forthright, sin pelos en la alengua. I was Founding Director of the first Chicano Studies Program in Texas at the University of Texas at El Paso in 1970. Our history is part of the American experience. A national amnesia has obliterated the history of how the United States acquired more than half of Mexico's territory per the U.S. war against Mexico 1846-1848 which is now Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and parts of Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma. We cannot accede to the efforts of those who insist on teaching our children only about white history of the United States.

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Ted Gottis says:

This is a very important film and makes me ask the question, if this can happen in Arizona, where else can it happen? Please share this video!

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Tomas Garcia says:

If the GOPers win, or if Obama wins again but loses the congress again, an unstoppable plan is already in place for the Fascist takeover of our beloved lands. May the Forces of Good against Evil be with us! Seriously, this is for all the marbles, folks. We must not fail those depending on us to do our duty. AND DON'T SAY LATER YOU WEREN'T TOLD!

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Raul replies:

Your Land? Your land is South Of Rio Grande, BITCH, get the hell out Latino THUG!!!

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Mark Day says:

This is an excellent documentary with an investigative edge. I recommend it for classroom use. It should be on PBS, but I doubt they will air it. Hope I am wrong.

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Loran Rodewald replies:

PBS has already aired a brilliant film on this subject. I don't know if it was the exact film, but it was just outstanding in it's portrayal of the conflict. The students in the program stayed in school and graduated. Isn't that the whole point? "It's about the Students, Stupid!" Hispanic drop out rates in west/central Phoenix are shocking!! Education that is culturally relevant and community based is the only way to go.

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Juan Jose Rodrigeuz replies:

Excellent! Needs to been broadcasted on PBS and all other media outlets!

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Jaime Casillas says:

I, along with some other folks in southern California, have been a supporter of the struggle to save Chicano/Raza Studies since the the matter first came on the scene. The bottom line is that the people on the front lines with this struggle need money to pay for the court costs that will be incurred in order to win this stuggle. The misguided idiots who are trying to erase our history and our legacy are doing it with right-wing money. In short, the only way to help turn the tide in Arizona is to send money. Reportedly, their has been almost no financial support for this cause from the significant number of Chicano Studies/Raza Studies teachers across the country, along with other latino/a educators across the country. One professor in my area told me that he had not sent any money to Arizona because he is already doing his part by "teaching" Chicano Studies. If the trend in Arizona takes hold across the southwest, this individual will not be teaching anything. The pioneers of Chicano Studies who struggled so hard in the early 70's to establish Chicano Studies (Plan de Santa Barbara, etc.) had a vision that this academic field would be an "applied academic," meaning that we would use the knowledge we acquired to make change and to make a difference in the external world (outside of the campus). In this case, we are talking about preserving our history and sharing it with the world. It was that kind of thinking that kicked open the doors at the universities for the current generation of Chicano Studies students and professors. It is your turn and your time to stand up for something. Please send some money to the people in Arizona.

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