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KABC-AM Radio Attacks Eastside Charter School

By Xispas Magazine  

Editors Note: Published by Xispas Magazine on 6/5/06

Academia Semillas del Pueblo is an LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) sanctioned charter school in the Eastside community of El Sereno with students from kindergarten through the eighth grade.

"[Academia Semillas del Pueblo is] dedicated to providing urban children of immigrant native families an excellent education founded upon their own language, cultural values, and global realities," their official website says (www.dignidad.org).

Besides meeting all requirements for students in LAUSD schools, ASDP provides an ancestral Mexican (indigenous) school environment, based on the Mexika/Aztec concept of kalpulli, which caters to the mostly Mexican/Central American community in El Sereno. Besides English, they also have language classes in Nahuatl (native Mexican), Spanish, and Mandarin. While the majority of the students are Mexican/Central American, the Academia is open to all children of any race, culture, or creed.

Recently, KABC-AM talk radio, which the right-wing has used for years to spout their ugly divisive politics, has targeted ASDP for closure because "they do not instill 'American' values." In particular, Scott McIntyre, a morning talk show host, claims the school is part of the "multiculturalism" push in this country, which has become a particular focus of attack by some US conservative fringe organizations.

Last week, their rabid attacks against ASDP led to death threats against the school and its children (even forcing students to go home).

KABC-AM, which is apparently owned by Disney, is a disgrace to academic freedom and the celebration of a rich, cultural reality in Los Angeles and throughout the country. They argue for the homogenization of everyone in this country into what they deem is "white" American society. In essence, they are saying everyone should believe like them, act like them, talk like them.

This is fascism, pure and simple -- people walking in goose steps (literarily or figuratively, it's the same concept). It's also racist (in fact, McIntyre once stated on his radio show that it was good that Whites attacked and killed Native peoples for their land).

What makes this society truly valuable is the diversity of cultures, religions, tongues, and peoples who have come here (some out of necessity). This country was not just built by Europeans. Mexicans, in particular, have been working and fighting for this country for more than 150 years. They've helped build the railroads, pick our fruits & vegetables, and labor at all levels of industry. They've fought in all major wars in the 20th century, garnering more medals of honor than any other ethnic group during World War II. Although Latinos (including Mexicans) are said to be 10 percent of the US armed forces, they reportedly make up upwards of 30 percent of soldiers, marines, and National Guard units in Afghanistan and Iraq (including many undocumented people).

KABC is trying to close Academia del Pueblo not on any legal basis or for incompetence or any issues of malfeasance. The sole focus of their hatred is that the school is run by Xicanos, for Xicanos, and dedicated to Xicano/Mexicano culture and traditions.

What McIntyre and some of the other KABC anchors fail to realize is that Xicanos, Mexicanos, and Central Americans, particularly the indigenous Aztec/Mayan and other tribal roots that these people come from, are part of "America." They are as native as any Native American in this country. They were here for tens of thousands of years before any Europeans arrived. American English itself has many Nahuatl (Aztec) words, including avocado, jaguar, chocolate, maize, tomato, and more. While we at Xispas are not against European culture or people in this country, we are against any imposition of European (Anglo or otherwise) culture to people who are not European (that's colonialization).

While we agree this country should have a unifying language such as English, we also should be able to be fluent in Spanish and/or tribal tongues (or any other of the more than 250 languages in California schools).

In the United States, we can agree on uniting around essential aspects for all people regardless of their origins or traditions, including following the law (when they are just and based on our healthy development, not control), support for the well-being of all children, English as a common tongue, and the freedoms all of us (not just Europeans) have fought for. We should not demand we become homogenized into one mono-culture (in the US there's no such thing anyway).

American culture has the sighs of Jewish mothers, the scraping brooms of Italian street cleaners, the sweat of Algonquin construction workers, the callused hands of Mexican farmworkers, and the immense fortitude of African Americans through slavery and beyond. The Irish, the German, the French, the Japanese, the Filipino, and the British all belong here. So do the Lakota, the Navajo, the Pueblo, the Cheyenne, the To'hono Oldham -- and now the millions of Zapotecas, Mixtecos, Mayans, Yaquis, Tarahumaras, Huicholes, Purepechas, Pipiles, and other indigenous groups from Mexico and Central America.

We need to stop KABC-AM's racist campaign to remove the variety of human lives and _expression in this country. We ask all activists, leaders, speakers, teachers, youth, and elders to contact the radio station and demand they cease any more attacks against Academia Semillas del Pueblo and other non-European community-based institutions.

 

Direct your comments to politics@geoclan.com


 

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