Last Updated: November 22, 2023|Categories: |

Examining the sociopolitical realities of teachers of color co-constructing student transformational resistance

In connection with the historical legacy and imaginations of youth of Color advocating for more just and equitable futures, I consider the complex political terrain through which teachers of Color cultivate students’ agency for social change within the narrow confines of schooling institutions. In this article, I conceptualize racial micropolitical literacy to analyze how teachers identify context-specific reproductions of whiteness and interlocking systems of oppression while learning to politically confront, navigate, and transform race and power through daily, embodied, and interactional practices.

Through video recordings, ethnographic field notes, and interview data, I apply this framework to document the day-to-day practices of an Asian American teacher co-constructing student transformational resistance within a southeast Los Angeles, California public middle school. My analysis reveals that the teacher:

  • 1

    Used critical artifacts to reconstruct carceral conditions of schooling into communal learning spaces of solidarity and activism

  • 2

    Engaged students in everyday dialogue about racism, power, and just possibilities

  • 3

    Subverted scripted curricula by drawing on students and his own counter-narratives as resources for sociopolitical learning

These practices were improvisationally leveraged on the day of a US national student-led walkout to expand multiple opportunities for politically marginalized Latinx students to organize collective action against gun violence. Offering a more intergenerational and intersectional lens of resistance and social change, I provide implications for eradicating oppressive schooling conditions that constrain the potential of students and teachers of Color as movement-makers and civic leaders in daily classroom life.

What are the micro-interactional processes through which transformational resistance is formed and enacted among students and teachers of Color?

In this article, I develop racial micropolitical literacy as an analytic lens for capturing the sociopolitical realities and micro-interactional processes of teachers co-constructing student transformational resistance within context-specific reproductions of racially unjust schooling spaces. Through video recordings, ethnographic field notes, and interview data, I apply my framework to document the moment-to-moment acts of resistance by an Asian American teacher within a southeast Los Angeles, California public middle school.

Meet the Artist
Meet the Artist

Angel Trazo

Angel Trazo

Angel Trazo (she/hers) is a PhD student in Cultural Studies at UC Davis. She is author of the children’s books We Are Inspiring: The Stories of 32 Asian American Women (2019) and Vanessa Unmuted (2021). Her comics and “visual notetaking” sketches have been published in academic journals such as ASAP Journal and Modern Language Studies. Her scholarship has been published in journals such as Intersections: Critical Issues in Education and Amerasia Journal. Angel’s current research is focused on Asian American youth cultures, specifically the Asian Baby Girl (ABG) subculture.

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