The master's tools will never dismantle the master's school: Interrogating settler colonial logics in language education

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Abstract

Racialized students are overrepresented in special- and English-learner education programs in the United States. Researchers have pointed to implicit bias in evaluation tools and evaluators as a cause resulting in calls for more culturally competent/relevant practices/assessments. However, this paper argues that racial overrepresentation is reflective of larger settler colonial frameworks embedded in linguistic standards that continue to drive education and language ideologies/practices globally but especially in U.S. schools. First, through an analysis of an orthoepic test used during the Parsley Massacre of 1937 on the island of Hispaniola, I present how the evaluation of accented language has been used to racialize and pathologize people. Secondly, through a comparative analysis of bilingualism in the U.S. and Canada, I show how linguistic variation is only devalued when it emerges from marginalized communities, affirming the white normative gaze as a mechanism for maintaining inequitable power structures. Finally, the paper presents how these logics are present in current manifestations of bilingual education. By indicating how racially, physically, and/or neurodivergent people are othered, this paper calls on the decolonization of applied linguistics in order to effectively address the over- and disproportionate representation of Black, Indigenous, and/or Latinx students within special- and English-learner programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalAnnual Review of Applied Linguistics
Volume42
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022

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