Over the past three weeks, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has used her office to send a clear message to Latinos in her state and throughout the nation: "We don't want you here." On the heels of ratifying a law that codifies racial profiling of Latinos, the governor is adding to Arizona's Juan Crowe legacy by prohibiting ethnic studies classes in the state.
Ethnic studies has long been recognized as an educational motivator for minority students, as well as an academic and social tool that is critical to accurate historical perspectives and research. Studies also demonstrate that students of color are more likely to succeed when they see themselves reflected in their schoolwork. Furthermore, ethnic studies has been shown to boost academic self-esteem and provide role models that students often lack.
It's clear that the debate over immigration is a stalking horse for a more fundamental problem in Arizona--Latinos are just not welcome. The governor is putting the Hispanic community in a state of lockdown. But we refuse to stand idly by as minorities are continually targeted in Arizona. Initial reports indicate that the boycott of Arizona, upheld by individuals and groups nationwide, stands to cost the state about $90 million over the next five years as organizations, tourists, and states pull out of convention and travel agreements.
The governor's most recent antics have upped the ante. This begs the question: How much more is Arizona willing to pay?