Arizona’s state superintendent of public instruction Tom Horne is facing heat from local Latinos for referring to venerated civil rights leader Dolores Huerta as a “former girlfriend” of Mexican American labor leader Cesar Chávez. The fact that Horne’s remarks were made while testifying on behalf of a bill that would outlaw ethnic studies in public schools only adds insult to injury. Horne, a Republican who is also running for attorney general, refuses to apologize and calls criticism of his comments “a contrived diversion.” Horne told Phoenix’s KTVK 3TV that “the real outrage is that Dolores Huerta told a mandatory high school assembly that Republicans hate Latinos.”
Watch the KTVK 3TV report:
According to Horne, ethnic studies are “harmful and dysfunctional” and promote “ethnic chauvinism.” However, some teachers argue that the course study connects Native American, Mexican, Asian and African American students to “their cultural past and their roles in American history.” In the past, Horne has also irrationally worried that “one who belongs to a governmentally favored race or gender could refuse to pay his bills and dare the other party to sue because decisions governed by sympathy would disregard the facts and legal obligations.”
KTBK affirms that there is no credible evidence of a romantic relationship between Huerta and Chávez and the Arizona Republic points out Huerta is actually Chavez’s sister-in-law. Huerta co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, now known as the United Farm Workers, with Chávez.