Bolivia Plans Ban on Books Considered Racist

LA PAZ, 18 Oct (AFP) - President Evo Morales' government is analyzing a ban on two books by important Bolivian writers and historians in public schools under a recently approved law, because it considers them racist, said an official source on Monday.

Félix Cárdenas, Vice Ministry of Decolonization stated to the media, "We're still reading 'Raza de Bronce' which is the most racist book possible and it continues to be basic literature, or 'La Niña de sus Ojos'".

Both books are classic Bolivian literature. The first was written in 1919 and the second in 1947.

According to Cárdenas, education is where 'colonialism' is promoted, and for this reason work is being done to structure a new study plan for the elementary and high school levels, within the framework of the new Law Against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination, approved last week.

He did not dismiss the possibility that in avoiding literary content that is classist, the government 'at some point will meet corporate opposition from those who always oppose' the process of change.

'La Niña de sus Ojos', written by historian Antonio Díaz Villamil, tells the story of a young Aymara girl who, due to her desire for personal improvement, rejects here indigenous past and ends up being rejected by a suitor when he learns of her racial origins.

'Raza de Bronce', written by historian Alcides Arguedas, narrates the hardships of the indigenous groups of the Bolivian highlands, who suffer oppression by white landowners. Wata Wara, the indigenous protagonist, is raped and killed, first by mestizos (mixed race) and then by here employers, which leads to an indigenous uprising.

The Law Against Racism has generated much controversy and is rejected by the Bolivian media who believe it may be used by the government to control freedom of expression in the media.

This is a translation. Read this Article in Spanish.

Source: El Día
Date: 18 October 2010

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