Deaf-Latina/Latino critical theory in education : the lived experiences and multiple intersecting identities of deaf-Latina/o high school students

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2014-05

Authors

García-Fernández, Carla Marie

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Abstract

Deaf-Latina/Latino Critical (Deaf-LatCrit) Theory in Education is a new theoretical proposition for this qualitative study. Deaf-LatCrit recognizes and validates Deaf-Lat epistemology and challenges the topic of racism and linguicism in educational research. This study explores the multiple identities and experiences of five Deaf-Latina/o (Deaf-Lat) high school students. Deaf-Lat students reside at a residential school for the Deaf, "Rainy State School for the Deaf" (RSSD), during the week and go home for the weekend, traversing from the margin to the center of educational scholarship and discourses. The intention of this research is to explore the singular Deaf identity discourse and its inter-group diversity in the field of Deaf Studies, particularly in education. This study examines the main question: What are the intersectional identities and experiences of high school Deaf-Lat students enrolled in a residential school for the Deaf? The methods include demographic questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, participant observations, and cultural documents/artifacts. Using Deaf-LatCrit ethnographic techniques, the researcher worked with Deaf-Lat students and their families for over one year at each Deaf-Lat student's home and RSSD. This study emerges with two themes: cultural-emotional ties and microaggressions. First, it discusses how Deaf-Lat students' cultural-emotional ties in certain spaces make reference to their multiple intersecting identities. The second theme discusses how Deaf-Lat students experience multiple microaggressions and how their agentic behaviors help them cope. The findings suggest the need to look beyond Deaf identity by embracing the multiple intersectional race, class, gender and sexual orientation identities of Deaf-Lat students, particularly in schools. Understanding the experiences and overlapping identities of Deaf-Lat students can promote that residential school administrators and classroom teachers explore into their privilege(s) and learn about the history of institutional and individual racism and linguicism. These findings can push for the creation of safe spaces for Deaf-Lat students in the field of education and other multiple disciplines.

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