First, a disclaimer: My mother was born in Arizona, met my father in High School there, and only moved on to San Diego because her father got a transfer there with his job. Every year or two my family would go on vacation to Arizona, usually over the spring break, and visit all the friends and relatives in Phoenix and Tucson. I remember there was even some serious consideration for moving back to Arizona but if I recall, salaries in Arizona were not on a par with California. Also, I am one of the few radical students from the ’60s to proudly announce that during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago I was right there on a couch in Phoenix watching it on television.
I’m not sure but I think I started to see the decline of sanity in Arizona with Electroglide In Blue. Ever since then there has been a constant barrage of people and events in Arizona that have not been on my list of the best things in life: Barry Goldwater, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, gila monsters, guns, fences, illegal immigrants, they don’t even celebrate Martin Luther King Day or subscribe to Daylight Savings Time (a good thing?). People from Arizona who vacation on the beaches of San Diego are called to Zoners. It’s probably a reasonable nick-name but it always sounds like someone from Star Trek.
Now I read about the removal of some books and teaching subjects from many of the schools in Arizona. For instance, Shakespeare’s The Tempest is being confiscated because it deals with race, ethnicity and oppression as central themes. What seems consummately stupid in schools with Mexican-American students in the majority, is that they are removing history books that focus on the history of the Mexican-American population. Even a local author, Leslie Silko, was removed, ostensibly because he supports ethnic studies. Don’t the white people in Arizona realize that they are probably more correctly described as “ethnic” than the indigenous people of the state. I looked it up and the Gadsden Purchase was not promised to the United States in the Bible; it was bought, and not too cheap either. It looks like Arizona is intending to remove anything from schools that might expose the innocent young students to truth—reality is so much more difficult to manage than myth.
The article suggests a comparison with South Africa and even before reading that last line I was wondering if apartheid is the next step.
Read the article at Slate and form your own opinions: Who’s Afraid of the Tempest? .