Title: “Racial Grammar”: Latinx Students’ Racial Literacy Development to Name and Resist Racism

Presented by: Arturo Nevárez, Ph.D. Candidate
Education, Society, and Culture

Abstract: As anti-immigrant, anti-Latinx, and xenophobic climates permeate classrooms and campuses across the country, there is a need to explore how US schools can support K-12 Latinx students with navigating and confronting racialized oppression in their world(s). K-12 Ethnic Studies has much promise to develop, maintain or extend students’ awareness of racial injustice, but it has been strongly contended in K-12 contexts. While California just passed Ethnic Studies as a graduation requirement in the CSU system and is on path to become a high school graduation requirement, there is concern that it will lose its core critical analysis of racism and white supremacy as it is institutionalized.

In this talk, Nevárez builds on the narrative and experiences of one 9th grade Latinx student in an Ethnic Studies classroom to trace how they were supported in developing their racial literacy—the language and praxis to “read” the existence of institutional racism and to disrupt its effects. Outlining a four-stage process of racial literacy development (RLD) applicable to students and teachers, this talk highlights the affordances of shifting from race-evasiveness—silence to the reality of racism—to racial literacy.

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