Eroding Community Cultural Wealth: How Schooling Devalues Latina/o/x Students’ Identity, Pride, and Language

  • Sonya Aleman University of Texas at San Antonio
Keywords: community cultural wealth, Latina/o/x students, epistemic violence, critical race theory, linguistic capital, navigational capital, resistant capital


Educational narratives written by several cohorts of Latina/o/x students in a college-level ethnic studies course, first-year retention program showed how the current hegemonic educational paradigm—with its attendant neo-liberal, colonial, white supremacist and Eurocentric logics—abates the accumulation and employment of community cultural wealth. Specifically, thesesystemic obstacles impact linguistic, navigational, and resistant capital as Latina/o/x students recount how learning English, feeling othered by classmates and teachers, and internalizing assimilationist and deficit-based ideologies to avoid harassment or mistreatment factored into their educational experiences. Situating community cultural wealth amid the Americanization, deculturalization, or assimilationist projects that have shaped the schooling conditions for students of color better accounts how educational practices, curriculum and spaces can destabilize the range of community cultural wealth competences Yosso has classified. This project adds complexity and highlights the fluidity in the community cultural wealth model by recognizing competing forces at work: the cultivation of these assets via family/community home spaces, discourses and networks, as well as the attrition of these competencies in formal educational spaces. As such, this study contributes to the existing research about CCW by underscoring a dimensionality not yet fully addressed, and, by recognizing the epistemological significance of these skill sets.