Lost in Translation: An Anatomy of American Minority Schooling
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This autoethnography utilizes Critical Race Theory to examine one Mexican-American's experiences as a socioeconomically disadvantaged student in the American k-12 system and later as a middle-class, minority instructor in a post-secondary minority serving institution. Drawing on personal memory, external data collection, and archival records this study is an examination of the author's experiences as a minority student in the k-12 American school system and the implications of race and class on those educational experiences. Utilizing systematic self-observation, self-reflective data like interval and occurrence audio recording, and reflexive journaling, the second part of the study encompasses an examination of the challenges this minority educator experienced and witnessed his students experience while employed at a Hispanic Serving Institution in the Pacific Northwestern region of the U.S. The study concludes with a theoretical and practical discussion of the findings and implications of the study for policy makers, educational leaders, and educators whose work impacts k-12 and post-secondary institutions and minority student populations. Contrary to prevailing ideologies around equal opportunity, I find that K-12 and post-secondary schooling systems, even those aimed at serving historically underserved minority populations, serve to reproduce the educational and social inequality of socioeconomically disadvantaged minority students. Inversely, post-secondary educational success can be attained through providing socioeconomically disadvantaged minority students a racially integrated, middle-class k-12 education but at great personal cost.