Yes, Arizona, we get it. You're really serious about this hating-brown-people thing. You can stop passing laws to demonstrate that seriousness any time now.
As if the show-us-your-papers law wasn't egregiously racist enough on its own, Arizona has just passed another law and instituted another policy to show us they really! mean! it! about the whole white-supremacy thing. They've outlawed the teaching of ethnic studies and begun removing teachers with "unacceptable accents" from the classroom.
Proponents of the anti-ethnic-studies law claim that programs like Tucson's Mexican-American Studies program encourage "ethnic chauvinism" (what the fuck does that even mean, anyway?) and racial hatred. This reminds me of nothing so much as the particular kind of privileged straight white man who complains about things like the Black Congressional Caucus or LGBT Chamber of Commerce, because it's "reverse discrimination". Apparently, teaching the history and culture of non-white ethnic groups is oppressing whiteness, because it's not like the regular history and culture classes are all about white people or anything. Ahem.
But it's the teachers-with-accents one that has me really pissed off right now. So, they're also going to remove teachers who have strong Southern or Northeastern or British accents, right? Somehow, I doubt that. And of course, this comes at a time when ALL the schools are feeling the crunch of overstretched state budgets and a bad economy, and many are laying off teachers already...so they're willing to lose otherwise qualified and experienced teachers just because they don't like their accent?!? I can understand worrying about children's language acquisition. Really, I can. However, let's let logic and facts intervene here for a moment. These children are exposed to many, many adults besides their teachers. Parents and cousins and grandparents and friends of parents and family members. Some of whom will have more Spanish accents than the teachers, even! And some of whom will have different accents! (I refuse to say "less" accents, because there's no such damn thing.) It's not like having a teacher with a Spanish accent will somehow stunt students' language development. This is a justification, pure and simple, for making life harder for Latin@s in the state. And it will disproportionately affect Latinas (when DON'T these kinds of policies affect women disproportionately?), given the pink-collar nature of early childhood education positions.
What's next, Arizona? Relocation camps?
I find it terribly depressing that I wrote that last line, then reread it and realized I was genuinely afraid it might be prophetic...