Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Banning History in Arizona

With all the stop SOPA and PIPA stuff in the news, a bit of news from Tuscon has gone largely unnoticed.

In schools, works by Chicano authors and oh yeah, that dude Shakespeare have been banned.  Ok, so not banned but teachers can't talk about them, read them in class, have them in their classes, cite them or otherwise use them as part of their lessons.  Seriously.

Since when did THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET become dangerous?  Really?  How about LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE? Both of those books are on the list which you can find here.

Luis Alberto Urrea has FIVE books on the list, some of the finest non-fiction reporting and essays I've seen written.  I believe that vato even was a Pulitzer prize finalist for his writing back in 2005 for one of the very books on the list - The Devil's Highway which won the 2004 Lannan Literary Award.  Of course it is about a bunch of immigrants lost in the desert of Arizona, so no surprise they don't want it cited.  God forbid ARIZONA gets mentioned in a book!  Hijole, quick yank that sucker off the shelf!

Luis Rodriguez Jr.'s personal and heart-felt memoir about gang life in L.A. ALWAYS RUNNING is on the list as well.  I'm not sure why.  It's a book about hope.

In fact, they've put ALL the Mexican-American history texts on this list. And, it's not just history: works by Rudolfo Acuna, Ana Castillo, Oscar Hijuelos, Cesar Chavez, the great playwright Luis Valdez, Sandra Cisneros and many others are listed.  Not content with just us Chicanos, the brilliant minds in Tucson have also removed Henry David Thoreau, Jane Yolen and Shakespeare's The Tempest.


We thought about going to Arizona and staging a massive protest, but we didn't want to give Arizona our hard earned dollars.  No...

So we're staging an online protest - a READ-IN if you will.  We're asking everyone, all over the world to submit a video of yourself reading a passage from one of the banned books.  We will post EVERY single video submission we get.  If you are an author of one of the works, we welcome your words, your quotes, your videos, your thoughts.  We will link back to your blogs, promote your videos on Twitter using the hashtag #dearArizona and push as hard as we collectively can to bring those books back to the classrooms in Tuscon.

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