Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Linguistic Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students, Those Involved in Mentoring Activities
Primary Theme: Race
In their revolutionary work on raciolinguistic ideologies, Flores and Rosa convincingly argue that linguistic research on race should shift its focus from the linguistic practices of the racialized speaker to the ideologically mediated hearing practices of the white listening subject, given that the social meaning of racialized language is always overdetermined by the deficit ideologies of white racism (Flores & Rosa 2015; Rosa & Flores 2017). This reversal of the analytic gaze is unquestionably the necessary strategy for dismantling the language ideologies that uphold white supremacy. At the same time, as explored in a recent debate on the role of “error correction” in sociolinguistics (Lewis et al. forthcoming), alongside this strategic repositioning of research, short-term tactical action by researchers as well as racialized groups remains necessary in order to challenge harmful ideologies, given the high political and material stakes (even while we must vociferously decry the necessity of doing so).
In this panel, these critical theoretical insights regarding raciolinguistic ideologies are brought into dialogue with Benor’s (2010) richly productive concept of ethnolinguistic repertoires, which calls for a more flexible, speaker-based understanding of ethnoracially marked linguistic practices, as part of a larger retheorizing of language as practice rather than code (e.g., Otheguy, García, & Reid 2015). The panel combines these two frameworks to propose the notion of a "raciolinguistic repertoire" as a useful way to simultaneously examine the complex linguistic practices in which Chicanxs and Latinxs participate and the restrictive racializing processes in which they are positioned. A raciolinguistic repertoire is understood as a flexible set of locally meaningful yet racialized linguistic and other semiotic practices. In other words, the resources of such repertoires are agentively employed and interpreted in relation to local social meanings, but they nonetheless operate within the constraints of a raciolinguistic regime, which imposes racialized meanings, often enforced by institutional authority. The often competing or conflicting forces at work in raciolinguistic repertoires result in such phenomena as linguistic insecurity (Labov 1966; Zentella 2007) and internalized linguistic racism (Gilmour 2017).
The contributors examine the raciolinguistic repertoires of Latinxs and Chicanxs in a variety of sociolinguistic and sociopolitical contexts. Lopez discusses how Latinx youth language brokers in an interpreters club at a California high school challenged their positioning within the school district’s deficit ideologies of their linguistic abilities. Melgarejo explores the affective injuries of the raciolinguistic ideologies circulating among both bilingual and English-dominant Latinx college students in California. Hansen investigates the role of Chicanxs’ racial self-identifications as Indigenous in promoting the revitalization of Nahuatl in the United States. Conversely, Campbell-Montalvo analyzes the institutional raciolinguistic ideologies that erase the Indigenous languages and identities of Mexican immigrant students in Florida schools. Finally, Prado and Bucholtz consider the complex raciolinguistic and interactional factors at play in the case of a “nonverbal” bilingual Latinx teenager with autism as he navigates everyday routines with his family. Martínez, the discussant, provides commentary on the papers from his perspective as an expert in the often invisible and underappreciated linguistic practices of Chicanxs and Latinxs.