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Don't Ask, Don't Tell 'Em About College: Brown Portrait(ure) on the Educational Experiences of Chicano and Latino Military Veterans


This mixed-methods study of Chicano and Latino educational experiences of Latino Military Veterans utilizes critical analyses of a data set from the 2010 Population Representation in the Military Services Report and data drawn from ten participants who were interviewed using portraiture and theoretical sampling methodologies. Three research questions guide this study: 1) What are military recruitment rates of Latina/os?; 2) How does the life story of a Latino military veteran who graduated from an Orange County high school in the mid-90s shape his post-secondary academic trajectories?; and 3) How does identity influence the educational experiences of Latino military veterans? Critical race theory, borderlands theory and queer theory underwrite Jotería (Spanish for a Latina/o culture-specific Queer Theory), an intersectional framework used to inform how multiple social constructs and systems of oppression shape the educational experiences for Latinos as “Brown bodies.” Findings revealed Latina/o demographic inequalities in the Navy military branch of the military, intersectional identities of Chicano and Latino study participants work as a form of habitus aligned with the institutional needs of the military, and the life story of a Latino military veteran, who also identifies as Chicano, underscored the high value placed on education.

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