Document Type

Podium Presentation

Presentation Date



XIV Inter-American Symposium on Ethnography and Education


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Abstract/Presentation Excerpt

In this paper, I draw on my ethnographic fieldwork with Latinx English language learners in Northern California to consider how schools inadvertently contribute to internalized racism by teaching the ideal of an American meritocracy while obscuring issues of social justice affecting students and their families. In what follows I will briefly cover four main points. First, I explain the conceptual framework guiding my analysis of the relationship between school policies and practices and internalized racism. Second, I outline my fieldwork site and the research methods used during my study. Third, I describe how educational policies and practices at the Latinx students’ school taught the ideal of an American meritocracy but obscured issues of social justice affecting students and their families. Finally, I provide ethnographic evidence demonstrating how students’ understanding of an American meritocracy framed their analysis of data collected during a Participatory Action Research Project and led to deficit perspectives about the Latinx immigrant community they were studying.


Copyright Jennifer Lucko 2017. All rights reserved. Please do not cite or circulate without permission from author.