Tezcatlipoca: The Death and Destruction of the Director and of MAS 2012

by DA Morales

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Students learn the concepts of the Four Tezcatlipocas in MAS-TUSD classes. Tezcatlipoca has four manifestations related to the transformation of human beings and each is related to a direction; east, west, north and south. The four include: Tezcatlipoca-reflection, Quetzalcoatl-wisdom, Huichtlipochtli-will and Xipetotectransformation. Their meanings, according to the MAS-TUSD (unpublished) curriculum, created in 2006 primarily by MAS- TUSD teacher Norma Gonzalez are listed below, in collaboration with Tupac Enrique Acosta of Tonatierra in Phoenix, Arizona. Also below are quotes by Acosta, which help explain the concepts: Gonzalez: The first concept is Tezcatlipoca and is primarily associated with memory. Tezcatlipoca: Tezcatl = Mirror Popoca = Smoke. Tezcatl + Popoca =The Smoking Mirror: A concept meaning memory as well as self-reflection. Acosta: A reflection, a moment of reconciliation of the past with the possibilities of the future, not a vision of light but an awareness of the shadow that is the smoke of lightʼs passing. It is the smoking mirror into which the individual, the family, the clan, the barrio, the tribe and the nation must gaze to acquire the sense of history that calls for liberation. via Tucsonʼs Maiz-Based Curriculum: MAS-TUSD Profundo.

Tezcatlipoca: Self-reflection, Smoking Mirror. We must vigorously search within ourselves by silencing the distractions and obstacles in our lives in order to be warriors for our gente and justice. More at: http://youtu.be/DOH2mEODL5c

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When I first started at the UA as a freshman in 1997, I entered as a Mathematics and Mexican-American Studies double-major. I was too new to the world of academia and college politics to understand the change that was going on at that time, as both the program and the student center were transforming from the Sal Baldenegro era to a new era that, to myself, lacked the cultural element I was looking for. Economics, public policy, public health and other areas were being pursued, but I was still on my search for truth and identity. I stuck with the anthropological research even as a graduate student in Applied Mathematics, and then I found something resembling what I was looking for at the MAS program in TUSD. I am not alone in my feelings towards "academic" MAS as also mentioned in the same article I quoted from above by Dr. Cintli: MAS-TUSD educator Norma Gonzalez characterizes the Indigenous component of the MAS-TUSD curriculum as a form of decolonization of Chicano Studies. More than that, she says, it provides students a path toward humanization (personal communication, August 2011). Indeed, the MAS-TUSD curriculum does differ from other public Mexican American Studies programs. Traditionally, the discipline, created in the 1960s, traces the beginnings of Mexican Americans to 1848 and the Mexican American War. A second wave of primarily feminist scholars pushed the date back in the late 1970s to 1519 and the creation of the first mestizo/mestiza. The MAS-TUSD program, on the other hand, is anchored in maiz-based knowledge that is part of a lived experience, rather than limited to mythlegend. Most people of Mexican- Central American and Chicana-Chicano descent continue to adhere to this maiz-based knowledge. For example, they continue to enjoy the ancient maiz-beans-squash and chile diet. This form of knowledge promotes an identity not based on war or conquest, but on that which defines a large part of the continent: maiz. MAS-TUSD anchors its curriculum around the maiz-derived concepts of In Lak Ech (You are my other Self), Panche Be (To seek the root of the Truth), and Hunab Ku (Grand Architect of the Universe). These three concepts form the philosophical foundation for the program and are metaphorically traced back 7,000 years to the creation of maiz.

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This is what attracted me to this current struggle. It was part of my own search for truth. The MAS program in TUSD is what I most identified with after over a dozen college years of self-discovery, of reading lots of books, attending countless lectures, traveling to conferences, and most importantly, ceremonia. What I have already written above can be the topic of an entire book, or volume of books, but for now I would like to focus on MAS-TUSD being part of a lived experience, and as this year comes to an end, the very symbolic and important year of 2012, to focus furthermore on Tezcatlipoca: Self-Reflection, Smoking Mirror.

2012: Domestic Violence coverage
Probably none of my articles this past year have made as much of an impact, and garnered plenty of hate from fellow Democrats, as my writing on Domestic Violence. Last year I began my coverage of the State Representative Daniel Patterson saga. Over the holidays a year ago there was a continuance of the saga, which culminated later that winter in a meeting on a Sunday morning with someone who used to hate me more than anything, and was now reaching out to me. The issue of Domestic Violence eats me up and I don't know how I got caught up in this. Three Sonorans wanted to help those that were ignored, and here was a case involving a despicable state legislator who had unwavering support from fellow Democrats who knew better, but rather than power speaking truth to power, as some local Democrats would have you believe, the truth is that power protects others in power. I learned a lot of patterns when it comes to Domestic Violence, and I will share these shortly. To bring the previous story to an end, Patterson resigned before being voted out, and my coverage of the events, which would be censored by the Tucson Citizen editor, would lead to my ousting from the Tucson Citizen after I gave emails of this censorship to the Tucson Weekly which originally broke the DP-DV case in 2010 and experienced their own censorship by their editor who just left. Power protects power.

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The Patterson issue ran concurrently to the Senate Majority Leader Scott Bundgaard domestic violence issue, and the two legislators were ousted. If you want to see how hypocritical liberal bloggers are, just write about the elected officials whose asses they kiss, and see how liberal bloggers that bashed this blogger's coverage of the material then pretend to be against the person involved with the domestic violence allegations all along once the tide turns. Three Sonorans is not about just bashing the GOP while praising the Dems; it is about holding all those involved with injustice accountable, which makes for both Republicans and Democrats not liking you. Oh well, a lot of people don't like either of those two parties either, and that's why Independents are the second-largest party in Arizona, and not too far behind Republicans. But now let's get to the elephant in the room, and as an eyewitness to the events I believe my perspective holds more water than other written accounts in the (social) media, so let's get right to the issue.

Did former MAS director Sean Arce beat his wife on the night of December 8th?
Before I answer this question I must first begin with laying out the approach I will use in answering this question, since I am clearly a highly biased figure who was an eyewitness because I was one of the friends celebrating Arce's birthday that night. I must also use this approach because some people I care a lot about are involved in the less-than-truthful reporting of the events, including a Latina journalist who I love deeply but who I feel has treated me as if I was in an interracial relationship with her during the Jim Crow era. I was constantly reminded about how much others hated me in town, and how our new friendship must stay out of the public limelight, since real journalists don't mingle with those kind, those bloggers, unless you are harmless like Safier or Prezelski, but watch out for that radical who is not afraid to mention racism and injustice at all times, including with Tucson's much loved politicians such as Giffords and Barber and others. I must also use this approach because I feel that this is mostly a personal matter, but since it has been less-than-accurately portrayed in the media, my eyewitness perspective must be shared.

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There are two stages to the events of that night; La Cocina and The House.

What happened at La Cocina?
La Cocina on Saturday nights is the place to be for the MAS crowd. Tucson Freedom Summer would spend Saturday nights there, as would many other activists. Almost everyone I know has had a meeting there on Saturday night, which can differ between the indoor dance floor to the outdoors patio with people chatting under a huge central tree with a koi pond. The dress code is very lax, so the activist type that prefer sandals and shorts can fit in as well as those who are "dressed to impress." In hindsight I would estimate our total time inside La Cocina lasting about 1 or 2 minutes. As you enter, the dance floor is immediately to the left, a distance of about 15 feet or so to the center of the dance floor. As we made our way in, Arce ran into his ex-wife who was texting on her phone. As Sean passed by he asked her "who are you texting?" or something of the sort. Sean was not being violent, but you could tell his ex-wife was visibly bothered within seconds (this is why they are divorced after all). BEFORE a confrontation took place, which I know would not have been physical because anyone who knows these two knows that arguing is a regular part of their relationship, the guys immediately grabbed Sean and said let's go, and immediately started pushing him towards the exit, which we left within about a minute or two of arriving. At the same time, a friend of hers pulled her back (we were all trying to avoid an argument on the dance floor), but with high heels on during this pulling back, according to other female eyewitnesses also, this led to her tripping backwards and falling. No comment will be made on any further influences from ethanol that may also lead to lack of balance, but it was late at night. Less than a minute later, Sean was outside, and that was that. There was no beatdown of an ex-wife on the dance floor! That was it. There was no police call at this point. There was no domestic violence. There was no beatdown. That was it.

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For this stupidity I have repeatedly chastised Arce. It was stupid to go to La Cocina, it was stupid to approach his ex-wife, it was all stupid. But not illegal, and not physically violent. And that's that, or would have been...

The House
After we take Sean back to where he was staying, he continued to act the fool by going to his ex-wife's house later that night. While there he found out a man was inside (who turned out not to be the boyfriend of the wife but of her friend) and broke a window. This part is all in the police report. Important to note is that there was no physical harm towards any human at The House. The window, however, was broken, but there are no Domestic Violence laws against glass windows as of yet that I know about. Now let me be absolutely clear. Sean is my good friend and I love him, but he was a damned fool to show up at The House and break a window. Let him be forever condemned with destruction of property or breaking of windows or whatever the law is. May he be publicly flogged and whipped until only bones remain for this. But no human was harmed at The House. The third-party involved is the one that called the police, and thus recounted the incident earlier at La Cocina but who was not present at that moment as I recall. So now this violence against glass windows is being extended by some Sean Arce haters into a beating of his ex-wife. The simple logical refutation of this is that if this was the case, he would have been charged for Domestic Violence after La Cocina. But not even this third-party police caller felt that those events amounted to a call to the police. So it should be clear to all those trying to figure out what happened at La Cocina that there was no ex-wife beating. Drama yes, beating no. And from the police reports it should be clear that there was no physical violence against any woman at The House. So you put these two together and you have to deduce that Sean Arce did not beatdown his ex-wife that night. But he did probably break the law. Charge him with whatever, trespassing or breaking windows, this he is guilty of.

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But let the punishment fit the crime. As I mentioned before, I believe this warrants no less than a public flogging at high-noon at La Placita, with a barebacked Arce taking a whipping from all the women that hate him.

Analysis of the event by media and activists
This event, and the consequent lying gossip of the event, has caused yet another split in the community that will be irreversible for some time. Just a few days later I heard about it. "Did you hear that Sean Arce beat up his wife at La Cocina?" Then I heard it from another person I love and respect and who said it as if it was fact. "Did you know that Sean Arce beat the shit out of his wife at La Cocina?" I was angry of course, and time after time I had to set the record straight as an eyewitness. Most of those then apologized to me even as we continued to call Sean a tonto and a burro, but not a wife-beater. The source of most of these lies is from an unfortunate place, but in Tucson we got older rivalries that run deep, and even within the pro-MAS community, it is no secret that people hate Save Ethnic Studies (SES, the 11 MAS teachers) and their attorney Richard Martinez. Some of these rivalries go back decades and almost always involve machismo or some woman caught in between the powers that be. That's another story for another day, but it is inconsistent even by women's groups to begin a call-out of one person and knowingly say nothing about other local leaders involved in machismo, and not just that, but domestic violence that involves women also! Is it okay for one respected female leader to beat up another woman who was dating her ex-husband? Is that gender violence? And will it be called out? Every time I mention this to people I am called a sexist. Apparently Domestic Violence is only perpetuated by men in our society. Hey, I'm still learning. Many well-respected leaders in our community have a history of Domestic Violence, with real beat-downs of women and eyewitnesses.

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Heck, the May 3rd event at TUSD was a massive Domestic Violence event, with 7 women being arrested, people trying to get a 69-year old disabled elder to the floor (but it's ok because they are cops) and then what took place outside was even more violent. Bruises were left and were documented, and even the Tucson Police Chief had the courtesy to have a public forum on what took place in which he admitted fault and apologized. The events of that night were supposed to have led to some lawsuit, and when I tried to get involved there was already a group collecting info and a related group taking video testimonies and grabbing images of the injuries. So thinking this would be taken care of, I let that project go and months later that project died somewhere. No cops were punished for what happened, no accountability by those officers who beat our mujeres outside, and furthermore no accountability or apology from the man ordering this, John Pedicone, who promised a public forum to discuss this but instead was persuaded to put a band-aid on the real violence that took place named Ben's Bells. Yes, that would heal the wounds... Violence against humans comes from women in power also, such as Giffords who used the death of a white rancher to promote an anti-immigrant dehumanizing campaign that further militarized the border, or from the Homeland Security chief and our former governor who has deported more Mexicans that anyone before her. There is so much violence, and sometimes we need someone to take it out on. That unfortunate victim is named Sean Arce. Within days his reputation was already destroyed by lies about wife-beating. Like I said, let us all condemn him for acting the fool, for breaking windows and what not, but beat a women he did not do. He also did not murder anyone so let no one say that by defending Sean Arce against murder charges I am defending a murderer, since this is what analogies are being used now. From a broken window Arce has been compared to school shooting, violence in India and more.

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This is to be expected from anti-MAS and anti-Arce bloggers such as the Lori Hunnicutt and Pam Powers (Republican and "Progressive" hate against Mexican American Studies), but I am very disappointed in the lack of factchecking involved in the Tucson Weekly's coverage of this event. Some people criticized me for not writing anything at first, but based on what I know, there was no beating that took place. I also knew that Sean had his kids a few days after the event. This is where my pattern-analysis must enter in again. With a previous DV incident, the ex-wife was so scared of what they say really happened that they prevented the man from seeing the children. Nothing similar has taken place here. Even as a write this on New Year's Eve, Arce gets to spend the night with his children over. So for me there was nothing to write. Some personal drama took place, but life goes on. But then some women kept saying he beat his ex-wife and to this day they have never even talked to the ex-wife, and they weren't even present, but continue with the character assassination. What I learned in the Bundgaard and Patterson case is that the interview with the woman is the most important part of the story. I was only involved with the Patterson case but I spoke with his wife and even the new girlfriend who showed me her bruises when she turned into the victim months later. I looked into their eyes and I was convinced of their stories, and there were police reports also for back up. I take Domestic Violence very seriously, and it has strained friendships that were very close to me. When I hear the women's account I lose sleep, my eyes tear up, and I just want to help. I remember seeing a visibly shaking woman with bruises on her arm telling me that I was right all along about her now exboyfriend and his ex-wife, but she was so in love and stupid to overlook it. With Patterson it was the news stories that showed her and her bruises, along with previous accounts from the ex-wife and several others that were very damning. With Bundgaard the pictures and story from the women were the ultimate damnation. What was missing from the Hunnicutt and Powers' story was that woman's perspective. What the hell happened that night, and are you alright?

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Truth in Journalism?
At this time I also knew that the Tucson Weekly was covering the story and that they interviewed Arce's ex-wife. At this point I thought that I would not have to write anything since the woman's account is so important! Show a women in tears with bruises and there is almost no way to heal from that, if a beat-down really did occur. This story never had that account, even though a legit journalist, a woman and Chicana herself, and someone involved in the Patterson story also, interviewed the woman. The story itself is very troubling as it contains clearly false and misleading statements. I will use the term falsehoods here instead of deliberate lies out of respect, but journalistic fact-checking is lacking at the Tucson Weekly. In mathematics, all that is need to prove that something is not the truth is to show that there is at least one falsehood contained. This is simply accomplished with the following statement, which the author felt was necessary to include but which is entirely false: Shortly after his dismissal, Arce received the 2012 Myles Horton Award for Teaching Peopleʼs History from the Zinn Education Project. Even the link itself shows the date to be April 2nd, which was before the infamous April 10th meeting where the board voted to let Sean Arce go. Before that vote even took place, that author admits clearly the timeline of events: Coincidentally, Arce was recently given the 2012 Myles Horton Award for Teaching People's History for Teaching People's History. via TUSD Meeting Tonight: Come for the Burritos, Stay For the Vote. (Tucson Weekly, April 10th.) I know I'm a Latino so I may not understand the rules of English, but "was recently given" seems like past tense to me, an acknowledgement by the author that she clearly understands that before the vote to dismiss Sean even took place, he was given the award. Such false statements are unacceptable from a journalist especially if you are going to provide a link with a timestamp yourself... anyways it is clear that the article as it stands is not the truth since it contains false statements, but this isn't the pure world of mathematics. The next false statement, or at best a very misleading statement is the following:

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The Weekly reached out to Arce's ex-wife for comment, but response came from Tucson attorney Richard Martinez. The meeting with the ex-wife by the Tucson Weekly did take place, but the use of the word "but" strongly suggests that the meeting never took place and that it was Martinez's fault! Now keep in mind from the previous DV cases that it is the woman's interview that is news. Nothing damns a man like the pictures and wounds, and even better a doctor's report with X-rays of broken bones and bruises. Nothing. In fact, the voice of the Chicana is so respected to the point that a falsehood is suggested about the interview never taking place, and that it is Richard Martinez's fault that she will not be interviewed... WTF? Now those who know the correlation of Martinez-hate and those spreading the wife-beating rumors will see a clear connection, but I will not delve into such conspiracies for now. The comment section at the Tucson Weekly has been a wet dream for right-wing haters of MAS, including no less than Roy Warden jumping in. But there is one comment by "romadness" that will lead us into the next point: A very poorly written, disjointed article with no real point. The word disjointed is important here. The entire article is over 1600 words, the first two-thirds are filled with fluff that make up the backstory, with references to Wallace Tashima and John Ward and Tom Horne and what not. Let us assume a simple knowledge content of about half-half with fluff and new news in the first part. So thatʼs just over 500 words of background, and 500 words of new news. That new news includes a police report which covers what took place at The House, and of course some falsehoods such as no interview with the ex-wife and Arce's awards... But over 500 words are devoted in the second part to something which has nothing to do with this story, and hence why some might feel this article is indeed "disjointed." Those over-500-words are devoted to a blog that has its roots in that same anti-Richard Martinez group, or at least one of those groups (a lot of people hate Martinez in this town), that was going around saying Sean beat the shit out of his wife at La Cocina. The origin of the group and their membership which the author has close ties to and thus has a conflict of interest is irrelevant for now.

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For those seeking the truth on this issue, is this the kind of story you prefer to read? First is a regurgitation of the police report, followed by a first article on a new blog by a friend who is not related to this case in anyway (they have gone on to bash Sean again even after his apology)... ... and have no account of the interview that took place with the ex-wife? It's one thing to omit that interview, but to falsely suggest that the interview never took place because of Martinez... well, one wonders what the motive of this author are, especially since the police report and blog entry both make Sean look like evil-incarnate, and yet what the eyewitnesses had to share that the Tucson Weekly also spoke to are kept out. Yes there were other eyewitnesses that the Tucson Weekly spoke with, and for some reason all that makes it past the TW journalistic quality checkpoint are a police report by a third party and an anti-Sean blog. Who needs eyewitnesses when you have hearsay; ain't that right Mr. Hicks? You could find other nonsense included, such as: when Arce showed up, grabbed her arm and pulled her away from a table where she sat with friends. Everyone knows that a happening club always puts a table with chairs in the middle of the dance floor! I better be careful with my sarcasm. There were no table with chairs with anyone sitting on these mythical furnishings that don't exist in the middle of the dance floor. That's at least three falsehoods in the Tucson Weekly article, which may be an indication of the direction it is headed with the new editor in charge. It wouldn't be such a big deal except that these stories really do affect real people, people who are important to this community but who have been vilified every day of 2012.

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Where do we go from here?
Tezcatlipoca, Smoking Mirror. As the year 2012 comes to an end, there have only been two public apologies that I have heard from anyone in this community. 1. The first one came from Three Sonorans, who apologized publicly just last month. 2. The second one came from Sean Arce, who apologized to the community this past weekend. Out of all the actions that have taken place, out of all the fighting, the only source of evil in this community seems to be from these two people above who were able to recognize it and apologize. Everyone else, please continue as before. To me this is part of the Self-Reflection that makes up the first Tezcatlipoca that is recited in what used to be MAS classes. I was asked recently what prompted me to apologize. I told them that right before the Deseg forums, the community met, and the much respected mujer Kim Dominguez said that even if we get MAS back, there has been so much hate and destruction in our community, and we need to heal from that first. I took her words to heart. I thought about how I had attacked some of the new board members and other administrators in my blog. So just a few days later, I publicly apologized to the community, following her wise words. Sean has also apologized to the community. Self-Reflection. It is unfortunate that some youth are involved in this attack on Sean. If you want him to be held accountable for breaking windows, then that is fine, but if you are spreading falsehoods, then shame on you. Imagine if the MAS teachers treated the students as they now treat the teachers. Imagine if the teachers looked at the records of the students, looked at their own shortcomings and run-ins with the law, and instead of offering a home and love to heal, only offered condemnation and hate.

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This is where the mirror comes in. Are you treating a member of the community as you wish to be treated yourself? Are you mirroring back what MAS offered you? When Sean broke those glass windows, his life changed forever. The glass that reflects back your image can be broken, but the obsidian mirror of Tezcatlipoca is stronger. Sean is now going through that stage, that Tezcatlipoca, self-reflection, Smoking Mirror. Has anyone in a woman's group that is casting stones never been in a fight ever? Never beat up a woman who was messing with an ex? What will you do when that time comes? Will they be outcast? Will all the well-respected male leaders in our society be called out for their own pasts with Domestic Violence? How about the women with DV records? This is the tragedy we find ourselves in today. Sean Arce is being destroyed with lies. Neither him nor I are defending Domestic Violence, but just as I can accuse anyone else of DV without any veracity, so too should all beware. This is the smoke that clouds the mirror. Rather that stand up for our gente, we take the obsidian blade and use it for destruction. MAS is dead. MAS never stood for that. An MAS alumni should treat teachers with the same respect they received. People should be held accountable for what they did, and we should not spread falsehoods that damage not only them, but the family and the youth; their children. If you spit in the face of the man who apologizes, if you are out to destroy completely a man who has already been destroyed, his job loss, divorce, house lost, blacklisted in Tucson, while others who really did beat women remain untouched by you, when the destruction of barrios continues and you focus on the destruction and hate of a person who helped create the program you love so much, then never let me hear you say the following again: In Lak Ech Tu eres mi otro yo. Si te hago daño a ti, me hago daño a mi mismo. Si te amo y respeto, me amo y respeto yo

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You are my other me. If I do harm to you, I do harm to myself. If I love and respect you, I love and respect myself. Are your motivations one of love, or one of harming someone else? If a maestro's personal shortcomings and the breaking of a glass window are worth more to you than all the good that he has done, and if this is how you mirror the relationship you had with your own MAS teachers, then no wonder MAS is dead today. We all broke it. We turned the obsidian mirror of Tezcatlipoca into a weapon and stabbed Quetzacoatl, Precious Knowledge, to death.   And the cycle of self-destruction continues...  

Quetzacoatl vs Tezcatlipoca

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