Wednesday, May 12, 2010

AZ Targets Ethnic Studies

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

State schools chief Tom Horne, who has pushed the bill for years, said he believes the Tucson school district's Mexican-American studies program teaches Latino students that they are oppressed by white people. Public schools should not be encouraging students to resent a particular race, he said.

Horne, a Republican running for attorney general, said the program promotes "ethnic chauvinism" and racial resentment toward whites while segregating students by race. He's been trying to restrict it ever since he learned that Hispanic civil rights activist Dolores Huerta told students in 2006 that "Republicans hate Latinos."

District officials said the program doesn't promote resentment, and they believe it would comply with the new law.

Six UN human rights experts released a statement earlier Tuesday saying all people have the right to learn about their own cultural and linguistic heritage, they said.

Brewer's signature on the bill Tuesday comes less than a month after she signed the nation's toughest crackdown on illegal immigration — a move that ignited international backlash amid charges the measure would encourage racial profiling of Hispanics. The governor has said profiling will not be tolerated.

Source: Associated Press

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