Junot Diaz and Other Global Writers Condemn Arizona’s “Racist” School Curriculum Law

Aug 23, 2012
8:12 AM

Tuesday at the Edinburgh World Writers' Conference, writers from all over the world—including Pulitzer Prize novelist Junot Diaz—issued a statement condemning Arizona's House Bill 2281, the law that allowed for the banning of books at Tucson Unified School District  and the dismantling of TUSD's Mexican American Studies program.


We, the undersigned writers attending the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference have learned, to our dismay, that the state of Arizona has passed House Bill 2281, which among its other provisions, specifically prohibits, in the public schools, books ‘designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group’. This is being used to ban Latino studies and the dissemination of books written by and about the Latino community. In future this legislation could be used to target any ethnic group and its literatures.

We abhor this racist law and the infringement of the rights of readers and writers. This is a clear case of censorship, which we oppose, and we call upon readers and writers in the US and all over the world to demand the overturn of this law. House Bill 2281 is not just the beginning of a dangerous trend – this is a drastic assault on civil liberties.

Edinburgh, 21 August 2012

Andrey Astvatsaturov

Nick Laird

Ben Okri

Junot Diaz

James Robertson

Ewan Morrison

Xiaolu Guo

Theresa Breslin

Kapka Kassabova

Nicola Morgan

John Burnside

Aonghas Macneacail

Denise Mina

Chika Unigwe

Ian Rankin

Janne Teller

Alan Bissett

Margo Lanagan

Alan Gibbons

Michel Le Bris

Kyung-Sook Shin

Patrick Ness

Kim Thúy

Preeta Samarasan

China Miéville

Bernado Atxaga

Matthias Politycki

Jackie Kay

Keith Gray

Sophie Cooke

Owen Sheers

Carlos Gamerro

Manu Joseph

Garth Nix

Melvin Burgess

Kamila Shamsie

Ali Smith

Yiyun Li

Xi Chuan

Kirsty Gunn

Dag Solstad

José Rodrigues dos Santos