Speaking Race: Linguistic Profiling and Ethno-Racial Development Among Dominican(-American) High School Students


ACLS Fellowship Program


Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures


Drawing on a variety of qualitative, experimental, and ethnographic data from members of the emergent pan-ethnic grouping of Afro-Latinxs, the current study problematizes essentialization that results in the marginalization and further erasure of Blackness and the (re)constitution of colonially formed social hierarchies. The project complicates and enriches recent scholarship that reveals implicit bias against Black boys in classroom spaces (Gilliam 2016). While previous studies have attested to bias against Black boys, rarely have the studies addressed the heterogeneity of Blackness in many classroom spaces. Therefore, the study examines the salience of language production and identity performance among Dominican(-American) male students to determine whether educational biases occur on a continuum that would place Black Dominican students on a different footing than African Americans. I ask, what role do Dominican students’ linguistic ideologies and practices play in the construction/performance of ethno-racial identity? I ask whether teachers have different perceptions of Dominican students’ language performance based on phenotypic and sociocultural characteristics that may mark the students as Black, White, or Hispanic? If so, are these perceptions attestable in their behavior with students? The project describes the language practices of linguistically- and racially-marginalized students in academic spaces, so that educators can better serve them.