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State Legislators Micro-Manage & Politicize School Curricula.
Here we go again. And again and again. This time, in Arizona, January 2022, but it is a pattern all over the United States.
Schoolbooks that contain explicit reference to sex are to be banned from school classes according to HB 2495 promoted by AZ Representative, Jake Hoffman (R, Queen Creek).
Another step toward closed-minded censorship with no understanding of reality or literature, trying to regulate, discipline, subordinate, infantilize, and intimidate the younger generation, blocking them from growing into mature adulthood. There is so much fear on the conservative side of the political spectrum that a new generation could grow up with independent minds, a clear world view, and a rational approach to life.
The old legal debate about D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover (1928), fought over in the British courts in 1960 with a favorable outcome for this famous novel, creeps up again across America in the 21st century out of a desire to re-puritanize public education. Classics are to be exempted—a rather contradictory move.
Interestingly, sexuality, which is so readily available everywhere for everyone on the web today, is to be banned from schoolbooks so that adolescent boys and girls cannot fall into sexual sinfulness through exposure to real life. Why don’t we then rather ban all smartphones or laptops for students that make sex completely accessible even for young people, and this free of charge? Or is sex to be banned from the minds of the innocent new generation, anyway inundated with pornography in public everywhere, including advertisement?
Why don’t we go after the sex industry if that is so offensive to Rep. Hoffman and his ilk? Good literature addresses life in all of its facets, and a good teacher knows how to handle such themes properly when they come up in some valuable texts. Should teenagers be kept in the dark about sex? This can only lead to a new rape culture kept in the dark, promoted by right-wing self-promoted evangelicals.
Now, the next step has been taken by the AZ House Republicans voting to ban teaching critical race theory from all schools. Oh, our innocent and pure children, those wonderful white-faced darlings! Oh Lord, protect them from all evil, make them do not hear, do not see, do not speak; otherwise, they might start questioning the economic and political system of this country still so deeply determined by inequality and injustice, by racism, xenophobia, sexism, and misogyny.
In reality, of course, all these maneuvers to politicize and ideologize school curricula serve only the purpose to divert the public attention away from the real problems we face everywhere, such as the insidious attack against our democratic institutions, against the Constitution itself, on Jan. 6, 2021.
In fact, the Republicans are learning well and fast from the Chinese textbooks on their own history. For Chinese students, the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre simply did not happen; Chinese history is nothing but a progressive development toward a glorious future, led by Prime Minister Xi Jinping. The holocaust/genocide being currently committed against the Uighurs does not exist, and when you ask a Chinese student about it, they stare at you with blank faces.
But that’s all China, whereas the United States is a free and just country, completely committed to equality everywhere. Dream on! Of course, racism does not exist here, and slavery is best ignored altogether since we do not want the young white generation to feel bad about their own privileges and realize that something dastardly continues to characterize current American society. Republicans across the states apparently want teachers to follow a narrow political script and to ensure that the young people remain obedient, submissive, and do not criticize the political status quo.
In Tennessee, for instance, the school board of McMinn County voted on January 10, 2022, to ban Art Spiegelman’s famous Pulitzer-prize graphic novel, Maus, from the school curriculum, objecting to the depiction of some of the reality of the Holocaust. The board members insisted that they did not want to deny the horrors of that history, but that they disliked the depiction of hanging of children or some nudity.
Let’s see, how could we sanitize the Holocaust? Make it consumer-friendly? And, by the same token, how could Republicans ensure that white kids no longer learn anything about ongoing racism in this country? How disturbing for the poor students!
I think Republicans want to cement the current status quo and avoid our kids becoming smart, independent thinkers. And they want the United States to return to its mythical past, being a Christian nation of white Americans from northern European descent. Dream on, but that train of history has long left the station.
Reality simply is different; we are a country of immigrants from all over the world, and Christianity is just one of many religions practiced in this country.