A news release this morning from state Attorney General Tom Horne states that his office released a video of Raza studies supporters this morning.
That statement's not correct. And that's just the first weird aspect of many surrounding this story.
If you'll follow the link to the video in the news release, (printed below), you'll see that it was actually "released" by a YouTube site operated by David Morales, a mathematician from the University of Arizona who writes (or helps write) a blog called "Three Sonorans."
Morales titled his video "Tom Horne gets called out by Latino students," and peppered it with quotes and music that show he thought the demonstration was a success.
Unfortunately for Morales, Horne isn't that far off: The demonstrators did seem to have a "mob" feel, judging by the video.
The vid shows demonstrators shouting at Horne, as Horne says it does. Nobody is going to stand around while being yelled at like that. The crowd clearly didn't care if Horne had anything to say -- they just wanted to vent on him.
No members of the crowd touched Horne or tried to intimidate him physicially. But they weren't respectful, either. Morales shouldn't fool himself into thinking this video will cause reasonable Arizonans to embrace his cause.
Morales also states in a blog post that he wrote after shooting the video that people in the crowd were "undocumented:"
Rather than what usually happens, minorities running away from the law enforcement even if nothing wrong was done, everyone converged on Tom Horne.
Our gut feeling is that most of the demonstrators in the video were not illegal immigrants. But if they were -- that's just weird and hypocritical. The country you fled to is oppressing you because you or your children can't take Raza Studies at the public high school? Uh-huh.
But Tom Horne comes off looking bad, too -- and one reason is that silly grin on his face while he's being called a racist. What's so frickin' funny? The smile appears to be a provocation -- it seems to be a patronizing expression. I don't have to take this seriously, the smile seems to say.
Then, in the news release, Horne claims that, "The Raza Studies program teaches irrational mob behavior as a matter of habit."
Doug Nick, Horne's spokesman, admits that Horne is just assuming that. Nobody has evidence that "irrational mob behavior" is really taught in the classes banned by the law Horne helped push.
Nick says other examples of the behavior of Raza Studies students seems to indicate they're being taught not just to demonstrate, but to disrespect. Students turned their back on Garcia Dugan, an assistant to Horne while he was state schools superintendent, when she came to Tucson to chat with them, he says.
We continue to be concerned about the scant evidence of what has actually been taught in the Raza Studies classes. Nick says some hard evidence exists, but he can't release it. He encouraged us to call John Huppenthal, the new state schools superintendent, who could authorize the release of the evidence. We'll do that and let you know what happens.
In the meantime, we're more than a little confused over this entire debate. Students in Tucson should be able to take classes that cover the history of the region fairly, and if that means the curriculum leans toward Hispanics, when they make up a large proportion of the school, so be it. But we wouldn't want to see taxpayer dollars help extremists teach Arizona kids that America is oppressing them.
Without knowing all the facts, it's tough to make an informed decision.
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SHOW ME HOW
We do know, though, that screaming crowds and the sometimes-mindless rhetoric of our new state attorney general don't help matters.
Horne's news release follows:
RAZA STUDIES SUPPORTERS, IN A THUGGISH MOB,
TRIED TO SHOUT DOWN ATTORNEY GENERAL HORNE
PHOENIX (Thursday March 17, 2011) -- Attorney General Tom Horne today released a video of a screaming mob of Raza Studies supporters who interfered with the Attorney General's efforts to accommodate a request to be interviewed by a television news crew.
In the video below, viewers can see a thuggish mob of Raza Studies supporters trying to shout down Horne, to attempt to prevent an interview with Univision Television.
Horne was in the process of leaving the Capitol after a meeting, when a reporter from Univision Televsion asked him to return to where his cameraman was, so he could do an interview in Spanish, as frequently does for Spanish-language media. A thuggish mob of Raza Studies reporters surrounded them and tried to prevent the interview, screaming at the top of their lungs. When the interview was over, Horne walked to his car, still surrounded by the mob, screaming vulgar epithets.
Horne said, "The Raza Studies program teaches irrational mob behavior as a matter of habit. For example, they did a street play called 'the killing of Tom Horne' which was filmed by channels 4 and 9 in Tucson, and broadcast."
For a YouTube video (not produced by this office) of Attorney General's Horne encounter this week go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu3UW_Cw1-8.