SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) - An unexpected battle of the books flared up at the Roundhouse Monday.
The exchange was between Representative Nora Espinoza, (R) Roswell and Representative Anotonio 'Moe' Maestas, (D) Albuquerque.
The House Education Committee was hearing a House Memorial sponsored by Maestas to encourage diversity when it comes to book choices for the state's schools.
"All it says is that government shouldn't be doing that, legislators shouldn't be regulating books it's teachers and parents who should be providing books to their students," The House Majority Whip said.
The memorial is in response to the Tucson School District in Arizona essentially banning seven books about Hispanic and Chicano culture from their classrooms.
The books are;
- Occupied America: A History of Chicanos, by Rodolfo Acuna;
- 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures, edited by Elizabeth Martinez;
- Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paulo Freire; Rethinking Columbus:
- The Next 500 Years, by Bill Bigelow;
- Critical Race Theory, by Richard
- Delgado Message to Aztlan , by Rodolfo " Corky" Gonzales
- Chicano!: The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement, by F. Arturo Rosales.
"These are extremely racist and hate books," Representative Espinoza said.
In an interview Monday night Espinoza told News 13 she is not against students learning about different cultures but she does not think the seven books listed on the House Memorial have any place in New Mexico classrooms.
She read some excerpts during the committee hearing to defend her position.
"My culture has been raped," she read adding, "now understand as I continue to read this is teaching third grade to 12th grade."
Espinoza said the books promote racism and divisiveness, not culture and diversity.
"I'm outraged, I'm outraged, this is under a title New Mexico curricula diversity?" she said.
Maestas told KRQE News 13 he was shocked by Espinoza's response adding that the point of the memorial is not to require districts to use the seven books he listed but rather allow them the option if that is what they choose.
"You don't give someone a book to force feed them information but rather to create a dialogue and so we have to be cognizant of that and not overreach as a government," Maestas said.
The House Memorial was tabled Monday it will be heard again on Wednesday.
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