A. A school district or charter school in this state shall not include in its program of instruction any courses or classes that include any of the following:
1. Promote the overthrow of the United States government.
2. Promote resentment toward a race or class of people.
3. Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.
4. Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.
- Arizona State Legislature
It's possible some of the books on the list violate one or more of the provisions in the resolution...but overthrowing the US government?! And even if they do promote these ideas so what. Ideas are there to discuss and educate, if you ban/ignore them you risk losing the threads that hold culture together. Banning ideas is a dangerous business that belongs to fascists and other cowardly types. Besides these are text books that discuss the history of Mexican and other indigenous people in the Americas. One of the books is just a book of photographs. Book banning has a long and infamously storied history from 2nd century Christians, 16th century Catholics, to 20th century Christian Fundamentalists and now 21st century bigots. Yes I use the word 'bigot' on purpose and without apology for there is nothing else to call people who would ban the history of an entire people because it makes them uncomfortable...well there's plenty more I could call them but you get my point. On the upside the response by the Hispanic community is encouraging. Instead of rolling over they have begun to establish underground libraries. A group called Librotraficantes has organized a book smuggling operation to stock these libraries on a trek from Houston to Tucson. So if you can't join the caravan or donate a book at least go out find a banned book read it and pass it on, be really subversive and just start leaving 2nd hand copies in public spaces.
Here's the rest of the platform. Fixed beliefs and parental authority cannot be challenged. Isn't that what children just do naturally? I know my kids are constantly poking holes in my beliefs and what passes for authority in our house. Maybe they learn to do it at school but I believe it really begins with the first time a toddler turns to said parent and asks "Why?" So basically what this plank of the platform promotes is the elimination of the word/question 'why'. And that after all is the basis for a really sound education. Has anything really important ever happened until someone asked "Why?" Run down the list of obvious examples like Einstein, Newton, Copernicus, or even their beloved Columbus. Where would we be without questions and challenges to authority? Still cracking bones, nuts and heads with hand axes I suppose. Again there is an upside to their lunacy. If they have their way every little Texas toddler will become a radical subversive. But the downside to that is the Texas GOP also supports beating children so maybe those toddlers are going to need lawyers.
And now finally on to our friendly Humanists. The following is from as essay by Roy Speckhardt:
It's time for a new push to do what's right in our everyday speech. It shouldn't be legislated and it doesn't need to be, but we can do better for ourselves. Here are Five Recommendations for a New Politeness.
1. Identify people in ways they prefer to be identified. This flows directly from the Golden Rule advice of treating people as they'd like to be treated.
2. State your opinions and critique with respect for the humanity of those with whom you might disagree. Politeness doesn't mean censoring the flow of ideas or even respecting your opponent's positions; just don't forget they're human, just like you.
3. Be sensitive to the fact that there are groups in this country that are faced with daily prejudice and discrimination. Being aware of stereotypes will help you avoid speaking as if you endorse them.
4. When you're in the majority group, and most everyone is in some aspects of who they are, consider giving ground once in a while to someone who isn't. Hit the brakes on your Beemer and let that minivan merge into traffic.
5. Take the time to inform those who aren't polite about the effects their words can have, and explain how they can get their point across in a more compassionate way.
So basically we should all follow the golden rule and be very nice about it. Sounds so simple, so basic, such a natural way to behave. Yes I say natural because without cooperation between individuals we wouldn't be here and without the golden rule in some form, cooperation just is not going to happen. The kind of close to the bone, do this or we are gonna die, hunter gatherer cooperation that took us from the stone age to silicon valley. And so cooperation is a basic survival tool/mechanism found in many different species. Herds, dens, hives, gaggles, nests, packs are all forms of cooperation among various types of creatures. Now I am not suggesting they are polite or even have a corollary behavior. What I would suggest is that cooperative behavior as manifested in humans has been raised to the level of altruism by discovery and implementation of the golden rule and is a significant factor in any forward progress we have or ever will make. But how do you politely tell someone to fuck off when they come around to take your copy of Shakespeare or to teach your kid that life is about being a drone for the man? I mean if the golden rule only works one way or when it's convenient then it isn't much of a rule. If only those of us who get the brown end of the stick are going to say "thank you" well then that's the only end we are ever going to see. No politeness is not always the best response to nonsense, skulduggery or baldfaced fascism. I would have to politely disagree with some of my Humanist brethren on this point. Sometimes in times like these doing the polite thing is not the right thing to do.
The conclusion? I don't know. They can ban books, history, whole cultures, even thinking but as long as they're polite about it...?
That's all I have for now.