BY KENNETH R. CONKLIN, PH.D. — A new law took effect in January 2011 which prohibits ethnic studies courses in the public schools and charter schools from being used as propaganda factories to build racial solidarity and anti-Americanism.

The law targets courses which attract primarily students of any particular ethnicity, where the curriculum fosters hatred toward other racial groups by portraying them as oppressors — courses that promote anti-American, secessionist attitudes by describing America as invader and occupier of the ethnic homeland.

What? Did local media last year fail to report a law enacted by the Hawaii legislature or Congress? Will we now see a major cleanup of racial hate-mongering and anti-Americanism in the “Hawaiian-focus” charter schools, Hawaiian language immersion schools, the “Hawaiian studies” curriculum throughout all the public schools and perhaps even the University of Hawaii and community colleges?

No. The law was passed by the Arizona legislature because of concerns over the “La Raza” curriculum in that state’s ethnic studies courses. Instead of taking the usual American History required for graduation, students substitute a special ethnic-branded “studies” course: Mexican-American, African-American, Asian-American, or Native-American studies.

The La Raza curriculum teaches that nearly all Mexican-Americans have at least one drop of Mayan or Aztec blood, making them “indigenous” people with special rights. Large parts of the American Southwest were part of Mexico until the U.S. invaded and incorporated the lands and people into America. La Raza teaches that the “illegal immigrants” invading America by the millions today have every right as part of a “reconquista” because “We did not cross the border, the border crossed us. This is our homeland. It’s the Anglos who are the illegal invaders.”

The La Raza curriculum is dangerous because it fuels Mexican nationalist hatred toward America, and racial hatred toward Anglos (Caucasians), in the hearts and minds of Mexican-American teenagers; using taxpayer dollars.

Anyone who wondered whether the first paragraph of the present essay was describing Hawaii has good reason to be confused. Claims for reparations and sovereignty asserted by Mexican-Americans sound very similar to the claims asserted by Hawaiian sovereignty activists — claims which are the main focus of the U.S. apology resolution to Native Hawaiians in 1993, and repeated in every version of the racial separatist Akaka bill. There are close similarities between the La Raza curriculum and the Hawaiian Studies curriculum in the way they foster ethnic nationalism, anti-Americanism, and racial hatred toward Caucasians.

The New York Times printed an article January 8, describing the Arizona law and its effect in one ethnic studies class in Tucson. It was slanted to make liberals feel sympathy for Mexican-American kids “targeted” by the law. But the law is race-neutral.

The “Raza” curriculum targets itself because it’s the only “studies” program which routinely violates the law. It’s ironic that the day the New York Times trashed the Arizona law was the same day when a gunman in Arizona killed several people and gravely wounded an Arizona Congresswoman at a meet-and-greet event in a supermarket parking lot.

That massacre was white-on-white and apparently had nothing to do with Hispanic-focused issues, but it surely does show the need to teach children the importance of mutual respect and civil discourse, and to stop inflaming political passions. There is a long history of “violence and threats of violence in the Hawaiian sovereignty movement” — see http://tinyurl.com/2su9pa

Here are the preamble and four main requirements of the the Arizona law: “Pupils should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people. … 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.”

Very reasonable. The law further states that it is not to be applied against portions of curriculum that contain individual lessons about particular groups and historical events such as the holocaust.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have a law like that in Hawaii?

As it happens, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser published a version of the New York Times article in its online edition of January 8, but not its print edition. They published the article online in the wee hours of the morning but later deleted it, probably because some Hawaiian Studies advocate told an editor it hits too close to home!

The same Star-Advertiser of January 8 also published its regular weekly Hawaiian-language column. This particular column was by Keao NeSmith, who often engages in the sort of history-twisting America-bashing haole-hating rants which the Arizona law would prohibit from being used in a Hawaiian-studies curriculum. Just read it for yourself and you’ll see.

Oops, it’s in Hawaiian, so 99.9% of you can’t figure out what it says. Publications in Hawaii often respect their readers by printing English translations side by side with Hawaiian: for example, the OHA monthly newspaper, the Big Island Weekly, the Kamehameha School Song Contest lyrics. But not the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

For further details, including footnotes with internet links to the Arizona law, the newspaper articles, more analysis of NeSmith’s column and the Hawaiian Studies system in Hawaii, go to http://tinyurl.com/2vas5tm

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