I’m with the banned
The Mexican on Arizona and banned books
Dear Mexican: Aunqué soy Boricua, mi corazón está al lado del pueblo mejicano, aquí en Arizona. ¿Porqué no hablas contra “La Bruja Mala del Oeste” Gobernadora Jan Brewer, “El Leon Cobarde” Ex-Senador Russell Pearce, “El Hombre Hecho de Lata” Alguacil del Condado Maricopa Joe Arpairo, “El Hombre Hecho de Paja” Abogado General Tom Horne y en final, “El Brujo de OZ” Superintendente de Instrucción Pública John Huppenthal?
Dear Gabachos: You don’t need a Spanish-English dictionary or your pocho coworker to figure out what the question above refers to: the continued insanity that is Arizona. We’ve covered its pendejos throughout the years, especially Horne and Huppenthal, who earlier this year declared the Mexican-American Studies program at the Tucson Unified School District illegal because it doesn’t hew to the traditional view in American history that teaches Mexicans are shiftless, lazy rapists. Part of that effort was to boot out of Tucson schools books ranging from Shakespeare’s The Tempest to Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz’s Drown to works by authors like Sandra Cisneros, Sherman Alexie and even Howard Zinn. They’re banning American history in Tucson! In other news, Satan called: the Prince of Darkness wants his disciples to join him back in Hell.
On that level, let me turn the columna over to two worthy projects designed to blast past this Tucson pendejada. The first plug goes to the SouthWest Organizing Project, the fine cabrones y cabronas from Albuquerque behind 500 Years of Chicano History, one of the books targeted by the Arizona Know Nothings for daring to show that Mexican history in the Southwest wasn’t all about sleeping peons under cactuses or Spanish missions. They’re selling the book at a 50 percent discount rate to all Arizonans and will give the book away for free to any Arizonan student who writes a letter “describing why they think the teaching of Chicano and Native American history accurately to young people is essential,” according to their website. More info available at chicanohistory.org.
The other great effort is by my Houston amigos over at Nuestra Palabra. One of them, Tony Diaz, has assumed a new persona: El Librotraficante, who’ll set up underground libraries in Houston, San Antonio, Albuquerque and Tucson that’ll host the banned books and other books by writers of color and their down gabacho compatriots. They want to collect a complete set of banned libros for each underground library, and donate extra copies to public libraries once each community is safely set with a collection that the Gestapo can’t access. People who want to help—and chingón writers who want to donate a set of their work—can learn more at librotraficante.com.
The Mexican will donate muchos copies of his two previous books to the Librotraficante’s efforts—how’s that for a segue into my obligatory plug for the latest one? Gentle cabrones: My much-promised Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, will finally hit bookstores April 10, but that doesn’t mean you can’t already order it (yes, grammar snobs: I just used a double-negative, but Mexican Spanish loves double-negatives the way we do cute second cousins). Place your order with your favorite local bookstore, your finer online retailers, your craftier piratas, but place it: my libro editor has already promised to deport me from the publishing industry if we don’t sell enough copies.