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Jonathan Rosa Pa Lante Looking Like A Language And Sounding Like A Race Short


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Jonathan Rosa Pa Lante Looking Like A Language And Sounding Like A Race Short

  1. 1. Looking like a Language and Sounding like a Race: Fashioning Latin@ Identities in a Chicago High School <ul><li>Jonathan Rosa </li></ul><ul><li>Department of Anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>University of Chicago </li></ul><ul><li>15 th Annual Pa’Lante Conference </li></ul><ul><li>Rafael Cintrón-Ortíz Latino Cultural Center </li></ul><ul><li>University of Illinois at Chicago </li></ul><ul><li>March 30, 2009 </li></ul>
  2. 2. <ul><li>I argue that the negotiation of Latin@ identity in my field site involves a set of linked paradoxes: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Students concurrently signal multiple language varieties in ways that are not captured by paradigmatic concepts such as bilingualism and “Spanglish.” </li></ul><ul><li>The school simultaneously seeks to validate and transform students’ “Latina/o” identities. Students are encouraged to embrace their inherent ethnoracial selves, but only insofar as this locates them squarely within the confines of institutional measures of success. </li></ul><ul><li>Students must learn to be – and sound like – “themselves” in very </li></ul><ul><li>particular ways. </li></ul>
  3. 3. New Northwest High School
  4. 4. <ul><li>Two Ideological Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>(1) Herderian Language Ideology: </li></ul><ul><li>One Nation = One People = One Language </li></ul><ul><li>This powerful and problematic imaginary naturalizes </li></ul><ul><li>each of these three concepts, and links them together </li></ul><ul><li>into a tightly knit ideological fabric (Herder 1968, </li></ul><ul><li>Bauman and Briggs 2000). </li></ul><ul><li>(2) Iconicity: stereotypes about people are </li></ul><ul><li>mapped onto language and vice versa (Irvine and Gal </li></ul><ul><li>2000). </li></ul><ul><li>The result is that people come to look like a language </li></ul><ul><li>and sound like a race. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Why Spanglish? There is no better metaphor for what a mixed-race culture means than a hybrid language, an informal code; the same sort of linguistic construction that defines different classes in a society can also come to define something outside it, a social construction with different rules. Spanglish is what we speak, but it is also who we Latinos are, and how we act, and how we perceive the world. </li></ul><ul><li>-Ed Morales, Living in Spanglish </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>These ideologies and practices create situations in which language difference is continually imagined not only as an obstacle to be overcome, but also obscure the multiple language varieties used in everyday life. Spanish and English are understood as mutually exclusive codes, despite the fact that they each play crucial roles in constituting school actors’ linguistic repertoires and the school’s symbolic order. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>In Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>1. Latin@ students are faced with the simultaneous forces of English language hegemony and monolingual imaginaries that position them as primordial Spanish speakers. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Mock Spanish usages become enregistered as linguistic practices that allow students to manage these competing forces. </li></ul><ul><li>3. The multiply stigmatized language practices of English language learners, Spanish-English bilinguals, and English-dominant students position Latin@s as languageless and indirectly suggest their racial inferiority. </li></ul>