Things That Matter

Judge Rules Arizona Educators Were Discriminating Against Mexican-American Studies

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge A. Wallace Tashima ruled that students in Arizona had a constitutional right to have Mexican-American studies as part of their curriculum. That’s right, Judge Tashima ruled that a ban against Mexican-American studies, imposed by former state education leaders Tom Horne and John Huppenthal, was racist and fueled by their politics.

The ruling is a win for students in Arizona, including Mexican-American students denied an education about their own history and culture.

“Additional evidence shows that defendants were pursuing these discriminatory ends in order to make political gains. Horne and Huppenthal repeatedly pointed to their efforts against the MAS program in their respective 2011 political campaigns, including in speeches and radio advertisements. The issue was a political boon to the candidates,” Tashima wrote.

The case against Mexican-American studies (MAS) first began in 2012, after the Tucson Unified School District said the Mexican-American studies program was teaching students that white people were oppressive to minorities.

Students and teachers sued, saying it was their First Amendment right to have this program as part of their curriculum. The Huffington Post notes that lawyers for the plaintiffs claimed Arizona Republicans “violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment” because they only targeted Mexican-American studies (MAS) classes in one Latino-heavy district.

As news of the verdict came out, people on Twitter celebrated the victory.

Curtis Acosta, one of the teachers banned from teaching MAS in his classrooms, tweeted “Justicia!”

We won on all points,” Richard Martinez, one of six lawyers defending the students, said to The Huffington Post. “It speaks to the importance of the judiciary and protecting everyone against racial discrimination.”

Horne, one of the defendants who claimed the MAS program taught students hatred of white people, said this ruling “divides students by race and promotes ethnic chauvinism.” He added: “[I]t is a fundamental American ideal that we are all individuals, entitled to be judged by our knowledge and character, and not by what race we happen to have been born into,” Horne said in a statement, according to ABC News.

Huppenthal, the other defendant in the case, told ABC News that he was “not surprised by the ruling” and that it was “meaningless because the law is not likely to be enforced in the future.”

“The concern about what was going on in those classes was very real,” Huppenthal said, and added that he’s worried if “they crank up all that stuff of teaching students that Caucasians are oppressors of Hispanics.”

Whether a new MAS program will be implemented is unknown, but for now, people will celebrate this victory.

Click here to read Judge Tashima’s ruling.

READ: This Mexican-American Teacher Has Been Put On Leave For Comparing Trump To Hitler

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Barbie Discusses White Privilege, Racial Profiling, and Microaggressions On Her YouTube Channel

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Barbie Discusses White Privilege, Racial Profiling, and Microaggressions On Her YouTube Channel

Barbie may have the reputation of being just a kid’s doll without much substance behind her shiny plastic face, but the truth is, the brand is seeking to do much more than that.

Last Wednesday, Barbie posted a video to her YouTube channel where she tackled the difficult topic of racism.

For those of you who don’t know, Barbie has a popular YouTube channel where she appears as an animated character in vlog-style videos. On her channel, along with videos like “DIY Rainbow Summer Party Ideas” and ” My Puppy Did My Homework?”, Barbie also tackles more serious topics from mental health to bullying.

In her most recent video, titled “Barbie and Nikki Discuss Racism,” Barbie invited her friend Nikki (who is Black) to discuss specific experiences in Nikki’s life where she felt she was treated unfairly due to the color of her skin.

Nikki then took center stage, telling stories of the microaggressions and unfair treatment that she has experienced as a Black woman. The language and concepts were in plain language that was easy for young viewers to understand.

Nikki starts by telling a story about how she was racially profiled. “Barbie and I had a sticker-selling contest on the beach last month. We split up and went our separate directions to see who could sell the most. While I was on the boardwalk, beach security stopped me three times. The security officer thought I was doing something bad, even though I was doing exactly the same thing that you were doing.”

Nikki goes on to tell another story about how her new French teacher discounted her amazing exam results by telling her she just “got lucky”. Nikki decided not to join the French Club because she didn’t want to have to keep proving herself.

At one point, Nikki says: “People did these things because I was Black, and they made the wrong assumptions about me.”

Through the video, Barbie is an ideal ally, offering Nikki kindness, support and empathy. She never tries to make her feelings seem invalid. She even tells the viewers about white privilege: “That means that white people get an advantage that they didn’t earn, and Black people get a disadvantage that they don’t deserve.”

According to Mattel Executive Lisa McKnight, these types of videos are part of their quest to “leverage” their “global platform” to tackle important topics.

“Being an ally includes having difficult conversations to better understand discrimination,” McKnight said to Insider. “We hope that by leveraging Barbie and Nikki to explore these conversations in a kid-friendly format, we can spark productive discussions for families and empower our next generation of leaders to become advocates for change, raising their voices against racism.”

We can’t wait to see what else Barbie teaches children through her YouTube channel.

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Joe Biden Promises To Fight For Dreamers If Elected In November

Things That Matter

Joe Biden Promises To Fight For Dreamers If Elected In November

Biden For President / Flickr

An overwhelming majority of Americans support protecting Dreamers. Hundreds of thousands of young adults rely on the protection from deportation and work authorization to live with dignity and out of the shadows. Presidential nominee Joe Biden wants to make sure they stay protected.

Dreamers are looking to a Biden administration to finish what an Obama administration started.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

According to the official Biden campaign website, the presidential nominee will work with Congress to reinstate DACA protections and to create a pathway to citizenship. DACA was won by undocumented activists putting fear aside and publicly fought to change the minds of Americans and politicans.

“Undocumented ‘youth’ are no longer youth,” says Moises Serrano, DACA activist and the man profiled in the documentary “Forbidden.” “DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants have been living in fear and instability for decades now. We survived eight years under the Obama administration and four years under the Trump administration. Immigration reform was promised under the Obama-Biden platform; a promise that is still unfulfilled.”

He added: “We hope that President Biden puts an end to the instability in our lives once and for all, or we are ready to hold him accountable in the same way we held Obama accountable in our fight for Administrative Relief.”

Biden’s policy proposes protecting Dreamers and helping them advance in this country.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

Biden promises to reinstate DACA to protect Dreamers and will be looking into ways to protect their families. The policy put forth by a potential Biden administration is pivotal in giving those who are DACA recipients a chance to live without fear and with all of the rights as their fellow citizens.

“After living through a deep loss in 2016 after losing my second mother and only being granted access to be on her deathbed in Mexico through my ability to get advanced parole through DACA I learned that no loss would ever be greater than that,” said Cindy Nava, a DACA recipient, political operative and policy advocate. “However, November rolled around and another loss took place. One that impacted my life, that of my family and my community.”

DACA is a very important issue as hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are on the line.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

People like Nava are hopeful that a Biden administration will bring that dignity back to the immigrant community. It is a community that is vibrant and has contributed vastly to American culture. A BIden administration would be a chance for Nava to see herself reflected in government.

“I am hopeful to see the daughter of immigrants, a woman of color, and a woman I can finally feel represented by be sworn in as the first woman VP of this country,” Nava says. “I will look forward to an administration that listens to the communities it intends to represent. An administration that empowers the entire country to work with each other to support, strengthen, respect and uplift each other each and every day. An administration that values and is grateful for the contributions that immigrants bring to the foundation of our country each and every day.”

Nava wants to see an immigration reform that puts immigrant humanity at the forefront. One that understands the needs for people to seek refuge and a better life in a foreign country.

“No immigrant seeks to find a fix on a silver platter. Nor do they believe that this will be an easy task,” Nava says. “The only thing our families ask for is a chance. Una oportunidad para recordarle a este pais that their lucha and determination comes from a deep sense of ganas to create a life filled with more opportunities than they ever had.”

The battle over DACA is far from over but it is clear that the Trump administration is on the wrong side of public opinion. Biden’s plan would strengthen DACA and restore the program to its full functionality.

READ: Trump Administration Limit DACA Renewals, Blocks New Applications

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