Oh, where to even begin. At the point where TUSD Governing Board member Michael Hicks states on national television: "I base my thoughts on hearsay from others."?
Perhaps this: "Rosa Clark did not take out a gun and go on to a bus and hold up everybody."
Hicks was, of course, talking about the now-suspended Mexican American Studies program in the Tucson Unified School District. And he was talking to Al Madrigal, a correspondent from "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" - which is broadcast on Comedy Central.
At this point, it might be instructive to some (hello, Mr. Hicks) to point out that if the "news" segment in which you're being invited to participate will appear on Comedy Central, chances are really pretty good that you're going to end up as part of a comedy show. And probably as the butt of the joke.
Hicks embarrassed himself, Tucson and pretty much all of Arizona with his performance. Hicks' words, in any context, are mind-boggling.
HICKS: "My concern was a lot of the radical ideas that they were teaching in these classes. Telling these kids that this is their land, the whites took it over and the only way to get out beneath the gringo, which is the white man, is by bloodshed."
MADRIGAL: "When you sat in in these classes ..."
HICKS: "I chose not to go to any of their classes. Why even go. Why even go. I base my thoughts on hearsay from others. So I based it off this."
Hicks demonstrates, with cringe-worthy perfection, that he has no real clue about the MAS courses, and a wide array of other topics a reasonable person might expect a school board member to understand.
He offers as evidence that the teachers had undue influence on their students: "They would every week go out and buy burritos and feed these kids. What that does, it builds more of a bond between the teacher and the students."
Forget the personal interaction, the intellectual curiosity, the respect for education that a great teacher can spark - all that's needed to get students fired up is a weekly burrito. Arizona doesn't underfund public education: It's that the schools are wasting too much on books and teachers, and not spending nearly enough on burritos.
The "Daily Show" correspondent asks why MAS is the only program affected by the state law that essentially bans ethnic studies courses. The law, Hicks says, "was strictly written for one course, which is the Mexican American Studies."
Madrigal asks a question that in its simplicity reveals the true hypocrisy of the anti-MAS law, which, according to its language, prohibits courses that fuel students' resentment of another race or group of people. Madrigal asks Hicks to pretend he's a black student - how would Hicks teach him about slavery without creating resentment toward white people?
"Slavery was a ... slavery was a ..." Hicks stammers. "The white man did bring over the Africans ..."
Madrigal asks, What kind of jobs did we have then?
"The jobs that you guys did was basically slavery jobs," Hicks said.
We feel it uncomfortably necessary to point out that "slavery jobs" aren't actual jobs.
Hicks at first says that slaves could vote, then says no, they couldn't get to vote until later. He says that slaves were "almost" equal. About 25 percent, in his opinion.
Hicks says he was misled. He thought "The Daily Show" was a news program and, he contends, he's the victim of unscrupulous editing and his statements are taken out of context.
This isn't Hicks' first time being baited by a media outlet. In February, he appeared on the Garret Lewis A.M. show (KNST 97.1) and was goaded into making unfounded and slanderous statements that insinuated wrongdoing by University of Arizona professors and students involved with a MAS teach-in by referencing the Penn State child-rape case.
Hicks said: "While there (at the UA), the director of the Mexican American Studies program indicated that these children were going into their classrooms, with their adult, you know, college students, behind closed doors, and no one was allowed to go into the classes, to either get taught or educated or to be ... I don't know. For me, I'm like, you know what? Penn State? You know, what's going on behind closed doors with our children?"
Wind Hicks up and he keeps talking, even while admitting in the middle of his verbal meanderings that he doesn't know these things firsthand.
Hicks has, unfortunately, demonstrated his lack of knowledge about the MAS program, about the basics of American history and, most of all, his lack of judgment.
Arizona Daily Star