Untimely Observations

Arizona's Kulturkampf

Governor Brewer's goes after the academics:

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill targeting a school district's ethnic studies program on Tuesday, hours after a report by United Nations human rights experts condemned the measure.

State schools chief Tom Horne pushed the measure for years, saying the program in a Tucson school district promotes "ethnic chauvinism" and racial resentment toward whites.

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.

Tucson Unified School District officials say their program does not promote resentment, and they believe it would comply with the new law.

The district program offers specialized courses in African-American, Mexican-American and Native-American studies that focus on history and literature and include information about the influence of a particular ethnic group.

For example, in the Mexican-American Studies program, an American history course explores the role of Hispanics in the Vietnam War, and a literature course emphasizes Latino authors. About 1,500 students at six high schools are enrolled.