Those following Tucson’s Mexican American Studies controversy may want to check out a new documentary short.
“Outlawing Shakespeare: The Battle for the Tucson Mind,” directed by Fernando James Orozco, details the banning of the Tucson ethnic studies course almost a year after it was suspended. The 40-minute documentary features interviews with teachers and students of the courses, along with interviews of local politicians. (Watch the film above)
The narration heavily laden with leading questions and the dramatic music give the film a cheesy feel. But if you haven’t heard the teachers and students of Tucson’s banned Mexican American Studies program speak, this video is a good place to start. You’ll also hear opponents like Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne rail against the program, though the producers focus mostly on supporters of the Tucson curriculum.
As the state superintendent of public schools, Horne was the architect of HB 2281, the Arizona law used to suspend Tucson’s Mexican America Studies program. The 2010 law, aimed squarely at the Tucson curriculum, bans courses that teach the overthrow of the U.S. government, advocate ethnic solidarity, or treat students as members of a group rather than individuals.
Those interested in the topic may also want to check out “Precious Knowledge,” a documentary on Tucson’s Mexican American Studies program that aired on PBS.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post referred to Tom Horne as a state senator at the time that HB 2281 passed. In fact, he was the state superintendent of education.