“You taught me language, and my profit on’t is, I know how to curse…”

Tucson Unified School District has not banned any books as has been widely and incorrectly reported.

Seven books that were used as supporting materials for curriculum in Mexican American Studies classes have been moved to the district storage facility because the classes have been suspended as per the ruling by Arizona Superintendent for Public Instruction John Huppenthal. Superintendent Huppenthal upheld an Office of Administrative Hearings’ ruling that the classes were in violation of state law ARS 15-112.

Reports of TUSD book ban completely false and misleading”  Tuscon Unified School District

The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill. After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants—most of whom came illegally—the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped and may have reversed, according to a new analysis of government data from both countries by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.

Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero—and Perhaps Less,” by Jeffrey PasselD’Vera Cohn and Ana Gonzalez-Barrera

Among its many effects, the recession has slowed Mexican immigration to the United States to a crawl; it may even be reversing. Is that the reason that white reactionary forces in Arizona feel so empowered?  Or has immigration slowed, at least in part, because these same white reactionary forces have created such a hostile environment, especially in places like Arizona and Alabama and Georgia and Mississippi?

After all,  even George Bush felt he had to make an effort to reach out to the Mexican-American community. As long as the immigration numbers continued to rise  Republicans believed that they needed Mexican American votes.  The rise of the Tea Party shows that at least some sectors of the right believe these votes no longer matter, or matter less than they once did. It’s a notion that escapes all logic.

These same forces have long supported issues and policies– from militias at the border to deregulation– that have turned our culture/economy upside down. I’m certain that slowing immigration  is seen by many of them as the silver lining in the otherwise bleak economy. It’s the same ideology that created Jim Crow and retarded economic development in the South for nearly a century.  As my mom would say, it’s slapping your nose to spite your face.

Racism can trump economic self-interest.  Perhaps the fear that  authentic white culture may not exist, or that it’s under threat, or in fact that ethnic whiteness may not have ever existed, always a key component of  American white supremacy, has grown so acute that reactionaries are swinging wildly at any and all perceived cultural threats, even if the economic impact might be dire.  Apparently, in this environment even Shakespeare isn’t quite white enough.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com. I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol] writinginthewild.com

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