Black Agenda Radio Commentaries (immigration, blacks and immigration, blacks and browns)
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

As Arizona moves past the "tipping point" of non-white population, its government scrambles to safeguard historical white lies from exposure by public school ethnic studies programs. The governor "intends to wipe the white historical slate clean of actual genocides, enslavements, land piracies, and all manner of crimes against darker peoples." The truth shall not be spoken in Arizona."


The Truth Shall Not be Spoken in Arizona

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"The truth shall not be spoken in Arizona, if it is detrimental to the reputation and sensibilities of white people."

The State of Arizona has very ambitious goals. It will not be satisfied simply to impose a kind of apartheid system in which Latino-looking persons have no rights that a policeman is bound to respect. Oh no, Arizona's legislature and governor have a grander plan, a much larger vision to rewrite history so as to place white people back where they think they belong: at the unchallenged center of all things worth knowing and learning. In order to do that, it is necessary to erase and outlaw the past and present of those who are not white. Governor Jan Brewer thinks she can whitewash history and put barbed wired around the present and the future with the stroke of a pen. In signing what is effectively a ban on teaching any version of history other than the approved, white version, in elementary and secondary public schools, the governor seeks to impose an ethnic cleansing of the mind - a kind of official genocide of past generations. She intends to wipe the white historical slate clean of actual genocides, enslavements, land piracies, and all manner of crimes against darker peoples. The truth shall not be spoken in Arizona, if it is detrimental to the reputation and sensibilities of white people. Apparently, the true facts of history cause white Arizona great pain, like sunlight shining on Dracula. Gov. Brewer wants to shut out the light, by shutting down ethnic studies in the classroom, making the schools safe for white lies.

Whites make up less than 60 percent of Arizona, which is apparently past the tipping point at which many of them become terrified at the prospect of losing their monopoly on power, including the power to hijack history to the service of one group: whites. One of the ways whites dominate other ethnic groups, is by denying that whites are an ethnicity, at all, but the normative form of human being.  When Arizona's legislature prohibits teaching classes that are, in the language of the new law, "designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group," they mean classes designed for non-whites. Of course, schools in the United States have always tailored classes to one ethnic group: whites. History has always been a white narrative, and therefore by definition, a lie and a slander against the other ethnicities. Arizona wants its white lies back.

"Governor Jan Brewer thinks she can whitewash history and put barbed wired around the present and the future with the stroke of a pen."

It is now forbidden to teach that which causes "resentment toward a race or class of people." Since it is impossible to teach the truth of genocide, slavery, aggressive war and conquest, racial discrimination and all the other central facts of America's past and present, without arousing some degree of resentment among the victims, only falsified versions of history will pass legal muster in Arizona.

The state reveals itself as the unreconstructed heartland of Latter Day McCarthyism, where subversives lurk under every classroom desk. The new law puts schools off-limits to materials that advocate "overthrow of the United States government." What they really mean is: overthrow of white dominance over the rest of us. That includes preserving the sanctity of White American Manifest Destiny. What is actually manifest is that the destiny of Arizona, and America, is to lose its white majority. In the process, the United States will also shed all those books full of white lies - which is what Gov. Brewer is afraid of.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at


Direct download: 20100519_gf_Arizona.mp3
Category:immigration, blacks and immigration, blacks and browns -- posted at: 11:34pm EDT

illegal aliens have no rights white people are bound to respectA Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

 Language is the tool we use to frame our thoughts and thought processes. Every time we use, or tolerate the use around us of the terms “illegal” and “illegal alien” we are allowing white American nationalists, white racist, to tell us how to think. That can't lead to anywhere we really ought to go.  

There are No Such People as Illegals” and No Such Things as “Illegal Aliens”

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

It's been said before, but some things are worth saying again and again until we get them right. So everybody repeat after me: There are no such people as “illegals” and there are no such things as “illegal aliens.” The terms “illegals” and “illegal aliens” are nothing but good old fashioned hundred percent white American hate speech, and any time we allow a friend, enemy, family member or co-worker to utter either in our presence without rebuke or reproach, gentle or otherwise, we are co-signing American white nationalism and white racism, pure and simple. And as black people, when has that ever been in our interest?

Language is a lot more than thinking out loud. Language sets the boundaries for which thoughts are permissible and which thoughts are, well, unthinkable. People can't be stripped of their human rights unless we invent the language that makes them subhumans, or non humans. Aliens. That's why white American nationalists insist on calling brown people “aliens,” and “illegals,” and insist that everybody follow their lead. It's a lead to a place we must not, we dare not go.

No sane or moral person in the 21st century can fix her mouth to say “illegal humans,” “illegal people,” or “illegal persons.” They all sound ridiculous to our ears because we recognize universal and “unalienable” human rights to be the foundation of all just laws. It is only after we allow white American nationalists to twist our language, and with it our thinking to turn brown people into “aliens” that we can make them “illegal.” When white American nationalists, and some of the black and brown people whose minds they have contaminated ask “what part of illegal don't you understand,” they are endorsing the claim that white racist American law trumps, supersedes and takes precedence over the rights of humanity itself.

Given our history, black people would be bigger fools than anybody to sign on to this nonsense. Once upon a time, the language of America deemed our very persons property, subject to the whims of the global market and local slavemasters. We really should know better. “Illegals” and “aliens” are the perverted and mind-twisting racist terminology of our oppressors. They are hate speech, every bit as unacceptable as unauthorized use of the n-word. So spread the word. There are no such humans as “illegals” and there no such things as “illegal aliens.” and the next time or two or twenty that you hear somebody use those words, correct them, gently or otherwise.

Our people and our allies fought for the extension of citizenship rights and human rights to everyone without exception, or else we would not have what fraction of these rights we possess today. If we co-sign the creation of a class of subhumans, of “aliens” inside the United States with few or none of the rights of citizenship or humanity today, how secure are our rights and our children's rights tomorrow?

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at