Has Jan Brewer Lost Her Mind?
No sooner do we start recovering from heated discussions of Arizona’s wildly “rogue” state illegal immigration law than Jan Brewer strikes again, signing new legislation that, according to the loudmouths on the internet, bans ethnic studies and courses that teach how to overthrow the government. Man, that Jan Brewer. She really hates Mexicans, doesn’t she?
But wait, there are some popular misconceptions about Arizona’s immigration law. I wonder if there are some misconceptions about this new law, too.
Liberals have serious problems with SB 1070. Namely, that it promotes racial profiling and purposefully targets Hispanics. It’s “racist” (aren’t we all getting sick of that word. And yes, I know I used it myself recently). It’s anti-humanitarian. It steps on the toes of the federal government.
In fact, that law necessitates that police officers can’t just stop someone for looking Mexican. There must already be some reason for the police to be suspicious of someone. That person of interest must be doing something to draw police attention, like speeding or violating another law. If – and only if – the law enforcement officer then suspects the person of interest may not be a legal resident of the USA, he or she may ask for documentation of resident status or citizenship.
Since Arizona is a Southern border state, it really is no wonder that people of Mexican heritage feel targeted by this legislation. I totally understand that, but let’s see how this plays out.
I like Mexicans. I like Hispanics. I’m glad so many have chosen to immigrate to our country. Most of them are hard workers, have strong family values and want to be here, which is more than I can say for some people who were born American. I know I don’t want US citizens and legal resident aliens to be uncomfortable in their home state, and I can’t believe the government of Arizona does either. Not to mention Arizona law enforcement, many of whom are Hispanic themselves.
While I understand the fear of potential abuse of Arizona’s new law, I don’t think that fear is reality based.
But what about this new ethnic studies law? Doesn’t that prove Governor Brewer is just some crazy white woman going after those pesky Mexicans?
No. In fact, the legislation is designed to remove what state school chief Tom Horne describes as “ethnic chauvinism” and racial segregation.
Notice how that Huffington Post article I just linked to says the legislation “prohibits” such courses?
“The measure prohibits classes that advocate ethnic solidarity, that are designed primarily for students of a particular race or that promote resentment toward a certain ethnic group. It also prohibits classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.”
According to the Christian Science Monitor, the law doesn’t forbid these classes, even the ones that “promote the overthrow of the United States government” which, in my mind, should be strictly forbidden in all cases, if such classes actually exist. Instead, the law “threatens to withhold 10 percent of state funding from any school district or charter school” that allows such classes. Still, that’s not nothing.
I’m behind Governor Brewer and the state of Arizona 100% on the immigration issue, but I think this ethnic studies bill is a little bit trickier. Certainly, it can be a positive thing to learn about the heritage and history of various racial and social groups in the US. And, as HuffPo and the CSM point out, these classes aren’t closed to Hispanic students; anyone can take them.
However, in school districts where a majority (56%) of students are Hispanic, can there really be a need for such so-called “minority studies” programs? If, in fact, the purpose of these classes is to promote racial segregation and hatred of any group of people – in this case, whites – then we need to take a long, hard look at them.
Of course, the MSM will run with this as more proof of Governor Brewer’s inherent white-power style racism, rather than an honest attempt by the state of Arizona to promote integration and prevent further racial tension and hatred. Just like they painted the immigration law as an attempt to target all people of Mexican heritage, rather than protecting the rights of legal residents (including Mexican immigrants) over those of illegals.
So, it’s not that Governor Brewer has lost her mind, it’s that, once again, the left is misstating the facts and assuming the worst about someone who is conservative and white. How novel.
UPDATE AND CORRECTION: 7:10 PM – MAY 13, 2010
Both HuffPo and the Christian Science Monitor were right. The law does prohibit such classes, and the penalty for ignoring that prohibition is the 10% funding withdrawal. Sorry for the misinformation!
Here is the full bill, for your own edification, in PDF format.