What we so desperately need -- and yes this does put the class of 2010 at a particular crossroads -- is for you to bring every critical thinking skill at your disposal, and then some more, to bring all of the substantive knowledge of history, diverse cultures and societies, ethics and politics -- bring all of these to the table. The new Arizona law generally known as SB 1070 is considered the strictest anti-immigrant legislation in the country and is explicitly intended to drive undocumented immigrants out of the state. One reason it has instigated a boycott is because to a whole lot of people, myself included, it appears to not only invite but require the police to engage in racial profiling. Before we had a chance to fully get our heads around the implications of either 1070 or of the subsequent boycott, our governor signed HB 2281, which is intended to eliminate any Ethnic Studies classes from public and charter schools in Arizona.Wow- sounds crazy to me. Oh no, wait, sounds like she's asking people to think carefully about these issues, to bring all their critical thinking skills, supposedly the point of an education, to the table to figure out how to respond to important issues. So the correct response to a call for non-hysterical debate is to try and shut the speaker down- at least under fascistic regimes. And that is just what the audience of our future leaders did- or at least tried to do- since Professor Soto continued speaking despite the outbreak. This was a graduation speech- a professor, a teacher, a researcher- making a call for more civility and more debate. According to an article in Inside Higher Ed,
Since the talk, Soto said she has received a barrage of e-mail messages, many of them hateful and some of them potentially threatening. Many such messages have also been posted on YouTube and on local Web sites that covered the speech.Welcome to the University of Glen Beck, a world where any call for a more reasoned and critical debate, a more just and humane world, is seen as sedition. Instead of debate, we should get angry, shout each other down, and never ever listen to someone with whom we disagree. Welcome to the end of knowledge.