I was disgusted, shocked and
appalled by the most recent decision in Arizona, to ban ethnic studies in
Arizona schools. The reasons for the ban are so bizarre; I thought I was
reading a George Orwell book.
They claim that ethnic
studies cause certain groups to ban together to want to overthrow the
government, resent white people and become racial separatists.
They also said that students
could learn about different groups
as long as the classes didn’t support treating people as groups, as
opposed to appreciating the value and contributions of individuals.
This argument is not only
absurd, but exemplifies a level if
ignorance and strict binary thinking that seems to be going viral.
Instead of banning ethnic
studies, they need to encourage all students to learn about the history and
contributions of all groups and societies. Research has shown that diversity of
thought, ideas and experiences and interaction can increase innovation and
shorten the time to solve problems creatively.
The school board and decision
makers in Arizona are fostering the myth that ethnic studies preach alienation
Ethnic studies have never
been just for people from that ethnicity, just like classes in European
civilization have not been just for people from Europe.
Classes in ethnic studies are
opportunities for all students to get a more well rounded education, interact
with students they might not otherwise get to know, and prepare them for life
in our diverse country and global business environment. It opens their minds to
new ideas, new ways of thinking and new ways of being creative and innovative.
The way this law is written
and expressed would have people who don’t know any better, believe that only
people from particular groups are in those classes and that others,
particularly white people are unwelcome.
Supporters of the law seem to also promote the idea that the only reason
for the ethnic studies classes are to waste time and conspire against people
who aren’t there.
How many members of this
select group of ignorati have ever been in an ethnic studies class?
A large number of students in
these ethnic studies classes are not from that target group, but are there because
they want to learn, and go beyond their own experience.
I’ve seen ethnic studies
classes where the majority of students were white and so was the teacher.
There are white people
teaching black ethnic studies classes, and black people teaching European
history classes, etc.
Successful companies like
Cisco, Google, Oracle, Proctor and Gamble, IBM, Apple, and Qualcomm, that are
innovation leaders rely on the collective genius of people from diverse
backgrounds across in the U.S. and across the world.
In today’s global economy,
with an open source world culture, lawmakers that pass narrow-minded ignorant
edicts that limit what our future leaders learn about other people, are closing
the door to higher learning, creating small clique silos, and impeding
cross-cultural social interaction, and ensuring that we’ll be lost in the
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