‘The Daily Show’ ridicules ban on Mexican American Studies program

The teacher defended the now defunct courses, saying that students were not taught to hate white people.

It’s frightening how uninformed some of the people who are responsible for making education policy in the U.S. appear to be.

Take Tucson Unified School District Governing Board member Michael Hicks, who faces criticism following his appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” on April 2.

Hicks was featured in a segment on the show discussing TUSD’s Mexican American Studies program, which was dismantled in January amid a threat of losing millions in state aid.

The clip, which was 5 minutes, 25 seconds long, features The Daily Show’s Al Madrigal interviewing Hicks and Mexican American Studies educator Curtis Acosta.

“My concern was a lot of the radical ideas that they were teaching in these classes,” Hicks told Madrigal. “Telling these kids that this is their land, the whites took it over, and the only way to get out from beneath the gringo—which is the white man—is by bloodshed.”

It was Hicks’ comments that followed on the nationally broadcast show that drew the most criticism, as he told Madrigal that he chose not to attend any of the classes and that he based his thoughts on “hearsay from others.”

Acosta defended the now defunct courses, saying that students were not taught to hate white people. Rather, he said that the courses encouraged critical thinking.

Hicks, an adjunct faculty member at Pima Community College, went on to say that every week the teachers would “go out and buy burritos and feed these kids … what that does is it builds more of a bond between the teacher and the students.”

Perhaps one of Hicks’ largest gaffes came when he spoke about slavery and how other courses like African American Studies would not be affected by the state law in place.

“The African American Studies program is still there. It’s not teaching the resentment of a race or class of people. … You know, Rosa Clark did not take a gun and go onto a bus and hold up everybody,” he said, referring to civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

Hicks could not be reached for comment, but he said in a Facebook posting that he now knows that “The Daily Show” is a satirical news show that does not always represent the true remarks their guests make.

“What I believed to be would be a true interview ended up being nothing of the sort,” Hicks wrote on Facebook. “It is unfortunate that The Daily Show opted to amuse rather then inform.” He also said that he did visit a Mexican American Studies class and that his comments were spliced.

Watch the video here:

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Material from the Arizona Daily Star was used in this report. Copyright (c) 2012, The Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Ariz.). Visit The Arizona Daily Star online at www.azstarnet.com. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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