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Mabuhay! I'm an Asian American writer (Back Kicks And Broken Promises, Abbott Press, 2012), martial artist and teacher who was born in The Philippines, raised in Hong Kong and ended up in New Jersey.

18 January, 2012


This world is going nuts.

I'm attaching a link, at the bottom of this post, to a friend's blog about the Tucson school district's elimination of Mexican-American Studies. It's a terrible situation and, in my opinion, borders on (if not actually being) racism. The removal of the course has also seen a ban on several works of literature that will promote young people reading, give them something to relate to, educate them, entertain them and give them some kind of support that helps them understand themselves as Mexican-Americans.

Personally, when I came to America, when everything suddenly became about where I was from and what nationality I am, I wish there were more courses in the secondary school I attended and in college that had to do with multi-ethnic studies. Maybe I didn't look hard enough but I don't recall seeing offerings for Asian-American studies when I was a student at Rutgers University from 1987-1991. Now, there seems to be an abundance - and that's a good thing - of multi-ethnic studies at every university in the country. Those courses can be general (Asian-American studies) to specific (Chinese-American Literature).

This country was born of immigrants and to deny current and future immigrants and the children of immigrants, not to mention those individuals who just want to broaden their minds, the opportunity to learn about how people of the same and similar backgrounds fit in and have contributed to the growth of this great country is simply an injustice. I forget the actual statistics and timeline but a recent TIME Magazine article stated that the Census Bureau reported that this country is going to, eventually, have a majority population that is made up of mixed race citizens and minorities.

As an immigrant and a writer, as a teacher and a parent, I have to say that what the Tucson school district is doing is wrong. It's censorship and racism. I'm not a big fan of censorhip, although I do agree that some material is not appropriate for certain ages and populations. Whatever you believe religiously, sexually explicit material, for example, is here to stay and it's a big money-making industry. I wouldn't condone letting a minor read or watch any of it, however. What an adult does with this kind of material is up to him or her and something he or she will have to come to terms with within his or her own religious beliefs, feelings, etc. However, finding a connection and understanding of oneself, through literature for example, that is appropriate to the individual's age, level of understanding and so on is another thing altogether.

Here's the link to my friend's blog.

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