I feel like this would be more important if kids in schools actually read books. I may not have been in the education business very long but I can tell you this much: kids may own books but only a small percentage actually read them. And assigned reading? From school? Skimmed AT BEST. Most information is gleened from class discussion. Books are dead.
Some 30 students, teachers, and activists emerged from the bus carrying boxes of books. As they stepped onto the pavement Saturday and into the bright Tucson sun, they chanted in unison, “What do we want? Books! When do we want them? Now! Who are we? Librostraficantes!”
The Spanish term, which means “book smugglers,” is the brainchild of Houston Community College professor and author Tony Diaz, who with a few dozen supporters set out March 12 for Arizona to protest a 2010 state law that prohibits certain types of ethnic studies in public schools. In January officials shut down the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican-American-studies curriculum. The Librotraficante Caravan traveled through Texas and New Mexico, stopping in cities along the way to hold literary readings, collect donated books, and establish “underground libraries” filled with titles from Tucson’s banned courses. Several authors whose works were discontinued participated—Rudolfo Anaya, widely considered the godfather of Latino literature in the Southwest, even invited the caravan into his Albuquerque home for posole, traditional pork stew.
Years ago, I met Anaya, and came away from that encounter delighted by what a gentle, wonderful man he’d been. It’s nice to see my adolescent impression of him wasn’t wrong.
Underground libraries? Like man, the U.S. needs to do better. There’s no way this should be happening in 2012. This makes my heart hurt. It makes me angry. Upset. How offensive is it that knowledges, histories, documentation of narratives and lives have to be treated like this? How assaultive is it that communities are forced to do this? Everyday I’m trying to figure out new strategies to not letting racism affect me - simply the air of it - and every day I’m reminded of how powerful the structure is in not making that task easy for me at all. I’ve read some of these books and some are on my bookshelves. This is like white threat onto Communities of Color, when unfitting, assaultive ideologies become the law - it’s a problem… I dont even know what to say
Really? Have you considered the fact that assigned readings in schools act as a tool of a State that erases one’s cultural relevance, history, identity, etc. in order to encourage this idea of sameness, whiteness as normative for everyone, etc. I can’t even take this response seriously. If underground libraries are being built with the contribution of students, wouldn’t you assume that they ARE READING and WANT TO READ. Would they really ban these works if students weren’t reading them, internalizing them, and realizing the truth in them and how much it conflicts with the way traditional curriculum frames history and masks power dynamics through omission and distortion. Given that your icon reads “privileged, white, man” - I think you should realize just how much your perspective in this way doesn’t matter. You have no idea what it’s like to be forced to ingest readings that don’t represent you, that consistently problematize you, and just how psychologically, emotionally, and physically violent that is. Disengagement is understandable when everything that you’re taught that is important doesn’t include *you*.