He spoke about his experiences in Arizona at the hands of the Tea Party-controlled Arizona state government. The governor, Attorney General, school board superintendent, and legislature have all voted to ban ethnic studies from the state. By their definition, ethnic studies consist of any curriculum which:
a) Promote overthrowing the U.S. government;
b) Promote resentment towards a race or class of people;
c) Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic race; and
d) Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.
And, according to their interpretation of this law, the highly successful Mexican American Studies program (audited by an independent organization hired by state officials) is illegal.
Mr. Arce gave this example of an exchange between himself and Attorney General Tom Horne:
Mr. Horne showed the picture below which is on a postcard. The picture is of Texas Rangers who have just lynched Mexicans.
Mr. Horne asked Mr. Arce, "Don't you think this picture would promote resentment toward whites?"
Mr. Arce replied, "I can't tell you what it promotes. What I can tell you is that this is part of American history."
We were fortunate to host Mr. Arce's visit! He speaks again at the Latino Youth Summit on November 20 on the campus of the Evergreen State College.