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Open Access Publications from the University of California

English Dominance as Racist Nativist Microaggressions: The Need to Reframe Restrictive Language Policies for California’s Latina/o Students

  • Author(s): Perez Huber, Lindsay
  • et al.

This policy brief uses a Latina/o critical theory framework (LatCrit), as a branch of critical race theory (CRT) in education, to understand how discourses of racist nativism—the institutionalized ways people perceive, understand and make sense of contemporary U.S. immigration— emerge in California public K-12 education. I use data from forty testimonio interviews with 20 undocumented and U.S. born Chicana students, to show how racist nativist discourses have been institutionalized in California public education through teacher practices of English dominance. This study reveals racist nativist microaggressions— a form of systemic, everyday racist nativism that are subtle, layered, and cumulative verbal and non-verbal assaults directed toward People of Color—can explain how these students are targeted by English dominance in the classroom.

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