Perhaps We Need More Ethinc Studies, Not Less


“…While I have supported black studies programs and as a trustee, one must really ask whether the demand for a completely autonomous is not in reality a request for sanctuary from the rigors of the institution, a sanctuary from the normal standards? If that is what it is then what in reality, will these students have when they leave the institution, what will they have learned, and will they be able to compete in the outside world. On the other hand, it is possible that you can justify a black studies program on its symbolic value alone. But an all black studies department would not be useful. What we really should do is get some whites into the black studies department to learn something about black people. …” Ronald Reagan!

There are very few times when I disagree with Michael Medved.  This is one of them.  The other day he was discussing ethnic studies.  Rightly he does not actually approve of them.  Neither do I in their current form, but the Pink Flamingo thinks one of the very real problems we are facing as a nation is the fact that we Americans have become so insular that we expect cultures to adapt to us.  We need not learn anything about others.  Once upon a time it was called “The Ugly American”.  Today we call it conservative.

The real problem is American History is not being taught in schools.  People, especially the usual conservative subjects, lead by abjectly ignorant Glenn Beck, KNOW NOTHING about American History and parrot the work of others. Our alleged conservatives (the libertarian ones) are as ignorant as liberals.  Then again, these people are afraid to expand their horizons and look beyond their own nose.

There are liberals out there….!

One thing Medved said the other day that I agree with is the fact that people are no longer allowed to be taught the American character, who and what we are.  The great irony of all of this is the fact that we are forced to go back to Arizona for a show-down and a crises in honor, basic human decency, and the American Character.

The Great Irony is that the real American Character is based on about 30 seconds of violence that occurred in Tombstone on October 26, 1881 around 2:30PM on a very overcast, chilly, and windy day.

The American Character is defined by by one man Wyatt Earp.   The problem today is the fact that our culture cannot allow someone like Wyatt Earp to exist.

Oh goodness gracious the new Miss USA is a terrorist!  She can’t possibly be a normal American beauty queen.  She is Muslim!  Ergo, because she defeated Miss Oklahoma, the “All American Girl” who wants strict immigration reform she is evil. It is a conspiracy.  Don’t we know that all Muslims are evil and must be destroyed?  They want to bring down the USA, right?

“…“Whether a given category of speech enjoys First Amendment protection depends upon a categorical balancing of the value of the speech against its societal costs.”…”  Elena Kagen

Maybe the reason Islamic women wear all those burkas is to cover their bikinis?  My cultural observation is as rational as those by the usual conservative suspects.

It’s the cultural ignorance, stupid!

The Pink Flamingo likes ethnic studies.  When I as in junior in high school, (Seneca High), there was an experimental semester long class on comparative religions.  Ralph Looney taught it.  He was a hard-core Southern Baptist, who left his religious association at the door and created a class where we spent one week on each of the major religions of the world, and a week on major denominations of these religions.  He was so far advanced, we spent a week on the history of Islam, one on Sunni, and one the Shite divisions. Weekly lecturers included a Catholic priest, Rabbi, Iman, Greek Orthodox Priest, Baptist preacher, a Buddhist, Hindu, and he even found someone who was a Shinto.

Over the years I find myself going back to what I learned in that class to the point where I think every high school in the country should be required to have a semester course like that.  Then – they should have a semester course on ethnic studies.

Every American student should have ethnic studies:  A week long total immersion class in the major cultures of the world including all major ethnic cultures including my precious British and Scots ancestors.

We live in a world where we are dealing with abject cultural ignorance. Even alleged conservative talk show hosts and columnists exhibit how culturally ignorant they are.

Once again Jan Brewer, the idiot governor of Arizona has done it again.  She has signed a bill banning ethnic studies that might result in racial hatred.  Oye!  Please explain how what Brewer has done is any any different from what Obama’s latest SCOTUS appointment has written in a brief filed of for the United States v Stevens.

Let me get this right.

If the kids who go to school in Tombstone want to study the history of their town, and the Gunfight at the OK Corral, that could be misconstrued as “ethnic”.  Well, I could use a few choice lines from history, but The Pink Flamingo does attempt to be a lady, so I will not use my favorite, “You sons of bitches have been looking for a fight so now you have it.”  Yes, Virginia, Morgan Earp actually, in real life, uttered that line – believe it or not!  I guess because the Earps were of a Scots, English background, and the Clantons and McLaurys were British, Scot-Irish, and Doc Holiday was, well Doc Holiday, it could be construed as “ethnic”.

Lord have mercy!

I gather in the state of Arizona, one of my favorite states, btw, it helps to leave your brain behind if you are a Republican politician.  Ace of Spades has a commentary about one of Elena Kagen’s few writings.  You know, it sounds a heck of a lot like Jan Brewer.  Then again, both appear to be of the same intellectual status, that airhead quality they share with the new Miss USA, who is proof that air-heads aren’t all blond!

Granted, Brewer’s new law bans only ethnic studies that suggest the ‘overthrow’ of the country and are teaching hate.  The Pink Flamingo finds it remarkable that only “Hispanic” cultures are considered dangerous to the country, but knows for a fact that there is a very scary mosque near the university there in Tucson where some really nasty stuff is being taught.  Since that is not tax-payer dollar, who cares, right?

Then again, I am hearing that there is a school district in California where the Chinese are sponsoring language studies.  It is a public school where their values and their language is being taught to Americans.  I don’t know about you but I don’t want communist Chinese sponsoring educational classes in the country.  BUT – because they are Chinese and NOT Hispanic, it is just find and dandy!

So, in the state of AZ ethnic studies, including Native American studies are banned.  It is a good thing tribal land is “federal” because if the Brewer law were to apply, then the Navajo, Apache, and Hopi would no longer be allowed to study their own culture.

Arizona, like New Mexico, is – and always has been – a multi-ethnic society.  On Saturday, a school near where I live in Lincoln County, will be having their annual Fiesta Dancers – traditional Hispanic dancers.  The group is very very good, and rather well known.  According to Brewer’s new law, they would be considered “ethnic” and would not be allowed to carry on a tradition that goes back well over 50 years here.

I have a few ancestors who came over on the Mayflower.  I would be a little annoyed if, in Plymouth, Mass. there were no ethnic studies about the original settlers.  Same thing with my Jamestown ancestors.

To me ethnic studies are more a cultural and location kind of thing.  To ban Native American ethnic studies in a state that is home to several remarkable Native cultures is just plain – well – stupid.  If we do not know how we came to be, we do not know who we are.

There is another nasty truth to be had here.  One of the reasons we need serious multi-cultural and ethnic studies is because social studies is dead.  Once upon  a time we learned all this do-do in social studies.  My sister and I were blessed with a mother who was determined that we were going to learn something.  She bought a small library of books that would today be considered ethnic studies.  We were required to go to ethnic restaurants and try different foods.  We collected dolls from different countries.

My mother signed up to help international students over the holidays.  She worked with the international student group at Clemson.  We always had people from different cultures visiting.  My sister did the same thing when she had a home.

Maybe that is the problem with The Pink Flamingo.  It’s all my mother’s fault.  She was determined to be like her mother, so she forced my sister and I to pay attention to people from other cultures.

It’s the cultural ignorance stupid!

It’s the cultural ignorance that allows Michelle Malkin to get away with her anti-Miss USA rant.  Then there is the Debbie Schlussel latest idiocy.  You just gotta feel all that love!  (Read Barrett Brown’s biting commentary).

“…There is too much of this crap taking place within conservatism.  A legitimate concern over terrorism has been used to hide bigotry and hatred aimed towards Arabs and Muslims.  I am thankful that people like Moran are calling people out on this and showing them for what they are: small, hateful beings….”

I learned about Muslim culture from my adopted sister from India.  She is Sunni, and had no use for the Iranian brand of Islam.  I doubt if you could ever get Zehra in a burka.  She is liberated, talented, and very much an American.  So are her two daughters.  I learned about Indian food and how to make several incredible dishes.  She brought beautiful shawls and jewelry when she would visit before moving here.  We sent her peanut butter and Pepsi!

Perhaps that is the problem, people have become so insular that they do not have friends from other cultures.  I had a friend from Japan who was Shinto.  Some of my best friends are Buddhist.  One of my close friends is from Mexico.  I have a whole pile of friends who are Hispanic.  My sister is the godmother to a kid who is half Hindu and half Sikh.  One of my best friends is a Democrat!  We have very dear Jewish friends (law partner of Lindsey Graham).  We have friends who are Greek.  My aunt married someone whose grandparents came from Lebanon.

One Christmas when I was in college our youth group, who was hosting several dozen international students, decided to have an international meal.  We were required to bring something native to our culture.  I realized I could not cook “American”!

The far right made a huge mistake when they went after lame-brain Rima Fakih.  The usual suspects have proven that anyone who is not a specific race, orientation, and religion is not to be allowed.

Yea, it’s called racism and bigotry.

If ethnic studies would help alleviate some of this, I’d gladly contribute to Malkin, Ingraham, Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, etc. so they could learn something about people besides themselves and their own narrow little world.

There is a song from South Pacific the far right should take to heart.

You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!


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