Discussion with T. Yosso during CRT

Yosso, T. (2005). Whose culture has capital?: A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race, Ethnicity and Education, 8(1), 69-91.

Solorzano, D. & Yosso, T. (2002). A critical race counterstory of race, racism, and affirmative action. Equity & Excellence in Education, 35(2), 155-168.

My question: What one thing can campuses do to foster a positive racial climate?

Talk about research and how it relates to lat crit
I started a decade ago — I started with my adviser at UCLA and he was delving into crit race theory — and I took an independent study and read about CRT – I read as many articles as I could and that is kind of how it helped me through the other classes in graduate school… whenever i raised my hand in class i was easily dismissed when i brought up race or racism — from a latina perspective — angry Chicana in the class — it caught me off guard — it was an area that needs more research and pursue that as an area… when we use LatCrit — although in the law it has the geneology and the breaking black/white binary — we decided to pursue from a latcrit — looking at subordination in education… it is the approach I take in all of my work — my own positionality and how people should be front and center

Phil: On the Lat Crit stuff — why… it is always introduced — why — why hasnt it been created as its own discipline — why is it built off of CRT — why is it not its own independent lens of inquiry?

different geneoogy in law/legal studies than education — it came out of CRT not just rom latinos but from other people of color — CRT was invite only – and they wanted t create more of a movement… now CRT does not have conferences every year — Lat Crit does — and there is a website… I was contacted recently by a LatCrit scholar who would like an education perspective on the CRT website… he was curious too… because Solarzo and I are Latinos — when you talk about race — most people think you are speaking to black and whites and racism… and the historical view… we wanted to be a part of the conversation without having a separate discussion — we did not want CRT to be just african american write in — there is a little bit of that going on — there is — the idea that we have unique historical experiences and those need to be recognized — we outline the tenets of latcrit — just like CRT — we had the benefit of hindsite — from the position of folks in education – we can look at all the different aspect… there are folks who have been talking about these issues for a very long time… what we are doing as a framework is to draw on each of these… we have to understanding it as a framework and not individual models… in critical pedagogy — finding people of color — if we take a look at everything together – there is a group/movement of critical folks who are wanting to empower students… this is the long way of me saying it… part of me wanted to do it Chicano crit — we need to be explicit on what we are experiencing in our individual communities — I do not want to give up what the CRT gives — giving us history… this is the point we are moving forward… at UCLA there are some grad students working with the latCrit label — the way that Soleraz and I have use the insight and move forward from there… and we call it CRT.

Megan: What are some of the female faculty issues you have faced in the academy?

(laughs) that is huge… I am not sure if anyone has had a chance to read my book or my article in Qualitative studies in graduate students? i do talk about it in ch. 5 in my book… there are a lot of women who have talked about resistance and resilience in the academy — usually there are mini-memoirs — what we did was combine some of the data — a Chicana getting a degree is like passing through the eye of the needle… I think what we have done is build upon the strength of African American women who have written about it — and Chicana’s who have experienced it — to analyze the data… for me it has been a very difficult road… I experienced… and continue to experience many different things… because i am in the Chicana/o studies… it is different… the academy was not created with people of colour in mind… i have had to justify the many ways of validity of research of people of colour the importance and significance of counterstories of people of color… they tried to desuade me to not write it with counterstories… all of those issues that all those things (anger, doubt, etc.) that women of color have experienced, I have experienced. Because of CRT I have been able to do it… they have gotten me through those times… I have listened and learned from other people of colour who have survived the rocky road of academia… another example is the timing as a woman if I had children before tenure… the literature is dismall — who are expected to be excellent teachers but to also be counselors/role models outside of class… i am tenured now and expecting my first child… that is a look to take… as women we have — we have… our bodies do not wait for our careers to catch up… too many have had to sacrifice… for me it is a constant having to be… performing on campus… you are on… you are on the moment you touch campus to when you leave… you are committed to do crt and live it… when you raise your voice and be silenced and be dismissed was difficult… Margaret Montoya… it harkins back to Du Bois double consciousness… what does it mean to have only 6 Chicanas and only 3 tenured… we have only one African American in education and that is it… when you send an email… and they get political affiliate — they count me — but it is 0% — they would not even pass on an email that I was teaching a Chicana/o seminar… and I… how that decision was made and whom… its very… its very disheartening… it is students who want these discussions in class… so they have conversations on the side… Derrick Bell — said… it is heartening to look at the trail blazed that it has been grown over… it is a matter of knowing you are not alone… and a sense of community and you dont get so wrapped up that it is your whole life… and it will suck you up and chew you out… finding the safe communities that will build you up… I live 45 mins from campus… it has been a lifesaver because I have a sense of community…

Aimee Molena: How has geography shaped your experience?
I am a big weather wimp… I think I am definitely shaped by… i am from M. Cali originally (San Jose) that is a very big difference — it is like a different state… I have become a more s. cali sort of girl… the difference is… really… its hidden… there are so many people of colour and so many latinos that it would be wonderful… it isnt… it is that old school racism — that really catch you off guard… I went to UCLA at a political time when students and profs were arrested for wanting to have Latino/as as a department… I had come into political consciousness… going to class and going to all the vigils and marches… Prop. 187 — immigrants Latinos and immigrants to deny folks social services and that kicked off a barage of 6-8 years of backwards propositions — that pretty much shaped me and pushed me to live the politics I was reading and trying to write about… in that sense… I think … its … its hard for me to think… about being in another place… I went to salt lake city and they have such a beautiful community — there is so few of them… 20-30% mexican… you really need to create a sense of community, and create that in any form it means to you and whomever is there and willing to participate and be a vibrant part… you get over the fact of being completely alone… and even if there are only two others … in a place like Iowa… it is sometimes… probably… what we experienced in Cali 30 years ago — there are a lot of battles you can learn from… bilingual education
— what i have learned from…

Natasha: I wanted to pick your brain on community cultural wealth theory and I wanted you to talk about it with respect to deficit education in practice in education…

I want to see a lesson plan… In Pasadena — there are kindergarteners who are looking at community cultural wealth to map out the different sources of community cultural wealth — they have a Cinco de Setos (five senses) all different forms of wealth… they tried to put a mural on the side of church… they needed to move it… that is one example — where they literally went on community walks to tie them into their five senses… In Arizona, tuscon — community cultural wealth in the studies program that is at the HS level… so — the specifics about it would be Arozen denaro(?) Resistance capital and the different navigation capital at the organizing of the minute men and who is trying to take over there.. and they were looking at… the hs class the navigational capital and how to better mobilize it and build on it… those are a couple levels of a pipeline… undocumented undergraduate students and the forms of community cultural wealth to be bridge them to the graduate… one of my students is looking at… the other one will give the example linguistic capital and social networks that are often not talked about — but are extremely important — they are not the most important people at the school — but they are the most important people… holding different car washes and fundraisers… builds it up… navigational capital are being teased out… Lindsey hoover hetty…? my student is looking at undocumented UC-Ocean View (wink wink) doing an ethnography following some undocumented students where they experience different versions of microaggresions… to get through academia… sometimes it is not overt it is complete ignorange on campus on what do we owe to Latina/o who built the UC system who clean it — our custodians are on strike… do we know what it means… if they do not have documents – if we do not have the information… in Cali we have assembly bill 540 — they would be admitted with in-state tuition… very frustrating for students — no one is going to value them anyway — why are we doing this? it is naive — it is too optimistic — it is a process in deficit tradition… it really is… to shift that is going to make a lot of folks uncomfortable… our knowledges/skills/abilities — we are nurturing them… and the ways that we can… enabling students – and see the students experiences as valuable — those are some of the examples

Amy Morino-Keifer: Is there a balance who is benefiting? and who is encouraging people who are working towards change… interest convergence…

Great example — we can build on that — we can hold universities more accountable… to not just be on the campus — but to be there to teach white students what it means to be people of privilege… i do not see students who are… who are… the universities claim the diversity — and the university is not being held accountable… the student interveners — were a historical insertian to the legal case… the university will not acknowledge it… they would have to admit to racism… and never give back to the student… it is… its very difficult to… its easier to see interest convergence at the higher education level — we have not been desegregated in most states as a compelling interest — the interest of whites — have not seen it in there interests to educate 1/2 of them do not get out of hs — only 8% are graduating from a college/university… we are stuck — when there are small gains… it is because white folks are benefiting — how can we convince… is that really our goal… do we have to do it? it is an ongoing conversation… the student interveners — it did not negate their role — it strengthen their role… there was a footnote that went to the supreme court — how at some point they ignored the student interveners case… the rationalized it away… so… that… i still think that — we are not ready with the political will to hear those voices… and with the quickness of how it can be dismissed… whatever happens with this next presidential election — there is a HUGE burden there if we will hold up the measily form of affirmative action that is not a form of genuine pluralism — it is still beholding to whites — it is not a strength — the student interveners can show their strength when it is — how the university benefits from the students

Kerry: What can our roles as emerging scholars or practitioners — what should we be thinking about — what strategies can we focus on?
I think that a big — I am one of the first in the country — in a vitae with CRT and counter stories in education in the field of educatin… because I wen through a school of education… they told me for tenure I needed to have… they first told me it was judged on discipline… I would be fine… and then, two-three years in — they said I needed a book — single-authored – I had to shift gears a bit… if i did not have Solarzeno in the writing collaboration I would have had a big freak out — it is a big gray cloud ahead of you — they do not tell you how many things you need from tenure… when you are getting critiqued on – you know you are doing the right thing… they attacked my counter story as literary… I addressed all the critiques in this book — and I didn’t wait — what we need to do… folks who are training this next generation — when you are an adviser – it is not just a couple years — it is a lifelong commitment… it is more that… you are making a commitment to be open about the experiences and what they have been and to share those and to share the work to remind students… there is no sense to who OWNS an idea… and who publishes what first to recognize that… this information these stories… they are something are community cultural wealth and they strengthen everyone — yes, there is the author piece — when you look at the experiences of whites and how they are the 2nd author or 3rd article — they are not questioned the same way — when we are training those students — ate a predominantly teaching institute to encourage people to write about their community and to write about racism — and engage in counter storytelling as a form of scholarship and be excellent in all of your schlarship — and when they dont like you in the academy — they dont like you – you as a person because of politics, racialized — you represent all of the shortcomings that they have… your presence alone is very bothersome — to hold onto their scholarship is important and significant — certainly they have the strategies to pick and choose your battles — when we have taught students to not engage in difficult discussions — or say white supremacy in the classroom — that is where i see the apartheid continually

What would you do…
I would not take things personally — I always feel under attack — why dont they like me… It is a very… all of that — the sense of isolation — all of that at a graduate level — to feel that all over again as a faculty person — I just wish that i had known — as a woman it is different — because people will talk to you different in closed meetings — outside — as a woman you do get asked very different questions — you get that male student in the back of the room to be flirty with you — and come up and ask you inappropriate questions… and you do have to be on guard — it is a lot differently… i now have a reputation of being one of the most difficult graders — i treaure that reputation — I will push them to excel… changing the campus racial climate — knowing you are not alone — in the experience — i would reach out more to… I would.. my tendency woul dbe to shrink back and in a sense you can … but — when i would go to conferences and start to talk to people — junior faculty of color and listen to horrible stories and joyous experiences it was helpful for me… people were struggling — and
we were doing it together — we are not doing it alone — we need to look at the bigger picture – i went in very fearless… to be fearless and be respectful… to ask the critical questions when you are asked.. and you are the only person of color in a room — and people are patting themselves in the room when you only have double digits — and that is only 90… and that we are happy about those numbers… I sometimes paid the price… it is nothing like the lack of access that our community has — that is what I would say… you are not alone and reaching out to build the community that will often times be beyond your institution…