Saturday, March 10, 2012

Banned Books, Drug Cartel and Private Prisons in Arizona

Last month Arizona Public Schools removed appx. 150 books from the once classrooms of Mexican American Studies in Tucson Arizona. These books were also taken from the students during the school day and boxed up in front of the students.  The Tucson community and several supporters of the Mexican American Studies program are outraged and have decided to assist the students in moving the program underground. Advocates of the program are smuggling the books back into the community and starting a banned book library in South Tucson.  When the Mexican American Studies program started i was teaching Chicana/o studies at Caesar Chavez charter school in South Tucson. I was also in the first graduate studies classes at University of Arizona Mexican American Studies program. I saw first hand what the students endured on a daily basis from living in ethnic enclaves where poverty and all the problems associated with poverty claim space in youths lives long before they have a chance to develop into their own.  Despite the challenges they endured the children worked hard on their studies and even came in before class, lunch time, and after class to study and work on their assignments. Many of these students were the first in their families to further their education and have opportunities to be tracked into college courses.  The current high school students in the Mexican American Studies program were reading books such as critical race theory and Paulo Freire Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Many of these books i did not read until i reached graduate studies.  Since i started the first of these two blogs on this subject i started reading the book we will be reading later this semester by Victor M. Rios. After reflecting on Rios' theory i have applied it to the banned books issues in Arizona. In Rios book he states, "Sociologist William Robinson argues that capitalist globalization has resulted in a vast restructuring of the world economy, integrating all national economies into a transnational global economy.  Essentially, the proliferation of neoliberalism in the past three decades has erected a transnational global economy that frees capital to prey on vulnerable populations and resources and facilitates a transition from social welfare to social-control, security societies." He further states, "In order to understand the "trouble with young men" which takes place in the new millennium, we must understand how local troubles are often derived from global processes." Thus i would add to this by stating that when Arizona bans education to minority communities it is criminalizing a culture of youth with the intent to limit opportunities and "prepare them for prison." Why is Arizona doing this you ask? Because Arizonas' private prisons benefit from criminalizing the poor and undocumented.  As long as our youth have limited opportunities then they are left to the vulnerabilities of drugs, violence, and prisons that infiltrate life in the barrios. All one has to do is read the law banning ethnic studies to find the punitive measure in words used to exercise social control and criminilize youth. Stay tuned, for further critical race theory and transnational globalism in Tucson Arizona. Find out how the National Rifle Association and the Tea Party benefit from taking books away from little Esperanza. (banned book House on Mango Street protagonist is Esperanza). Pending approval i will write my final project on this abstract/blog.

reference- further reading

Rios, Victor M. Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys. New York University Press, 2011.