The Southwest United States and Mexico are known for smuggling, but next month, authors will be smuggling books.
In January, the Tuscon Unified School District (TUSD) in Arizona allegedly banned books from the Mexican-American Studies (MAS) courses. According to this article by The Huffington Post, school officials ruled that MAS courses violated an Arizona law, requiring classes not to promote the overthrow of the U.S. government or to promote resentment toward a specific race.
But these books weren’t just banned. According to the article, school officials went into classrooms and took the books from students as they were reading. Here is a list of some of the removed books:
- ‘Critical Race Theory’ by Richard Delgado
- ‘500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures’ edited by Elizabeth Martinez
- ‘Message to AZTLAN’ by Rodolfo Corky Gonzales
- ‘Chicano! The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement’ by Arturo Rosales
- ‘Occupied America: A History of Chicanos’ by Rodolfo Acuna
- ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ by Paulo Freire
- ‘Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years’ by Bill Bigelow
School officials deny that these books are “banned” per se.
Either way, they’re no longer being used, and now teachers and authors are taking a stand against the school. On March 12-18, protestors will form a “Librotraficante” (book trafficker) caravan, carrying the allegedly banned books back over the border into Arizona.
I think this is amazing. For literary and first amendment speech purposes, there’s no reason these books should have been taken from students in the first place. It’s unfortunate though that this is the first I’m hearing about the issue. I hope that when the “Librotraficante” happens, it makes national headlines. There’s something to be said for people standing up for their rights — and using books to do it.