Yosso (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth.

Yosso, T. J. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race Ethnicity and Education, 8(1), 69–91. https://doi.org/10.1080/1361332052000341006

“… critical race theory (CRT) … shifts the research lens away from a deficit view of Communities of Color as places full of cultural poverty disadvantages, and instead focuses on and learns from the array of cultural knowledge, skills, abilities and contacts possessed by socially marginalized groups that often go unrecognized and unacknowledged.” (p 69)

[“Introduction” (p 69) …]

“‘…it is _vital_ that we occupy theorizing space, that we not allow white men and women solely to occupy it. By bringing in our own approaches and methodologies, we transform that theorizing space.’ (Anzaldúa, 1990, p. xxv, emphasis in original)” (p 69)

“… Pierre Bourdieu (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977) argued that the knowledges of the upper and middle classes are considered capital valuable to a hierarchical society. If one is not born into a family whose knowledge is already deemed valuable, one could then access the knowledges of the middle and upper class and the potential for social mobility through formal schooling. … As a result, schools most often work from this assumption in structuring ways to help ‘disadvantaged’ students whose race and class background has left them lacking necessary knowledge, social skills, abilities and cultural capital (see Valenzuela, 1999).” (p 70)

“… community cultural wealth. …” (p 70)

[“Critical race theory in education” (p 71) …]

“… CRT scholarship has benefited from scholarship addressing racism at its intersections with other forms of subordination (Crenshaw, 1989, 1993).” (p 72)

“… White scholars have expanded CRT with WhiteCrit, by ‘looking behind the mirror’ to expose White privilege and challenge racism (Delgado & Stefancic, 1997).” (p 72)

“For the field of education, Daniel Solórzano (1997, 1998) identified five tenets of CRT that can and should inform theory, research, pedagogy, curriculum and policy …” (p 73)

“1. The intercentricity of race and racism with other forms of subordination. … ” (p 73)

“2. The challenge to dominant ideology. … CRT argues that these traditional claims [page break] act as a camouflage for the self-interest, power, and privilege of dominant groups in US society (Bell, 1987; Calmore, 1992; Solórzano, 1997).” (p 73-74)

“3. The commitment to social justice.” (p 74)

“4. The centrality of experiential knowledge. … CRT draws explicitly on the lived experiences of People of Color by including such methods as storytelling, family histories, biographies, scenarios, parables, _cuentos_, _testimonios_, chronicles and narratives …” (p 74)

“5. The transdisciplinary perspective.” (p 74)

“CRT is conceived as a social justice project that works toward the liberatory potential of schooling (hooks, 1994; Freire, 1970, 1973). This acknowledges the contradictory nature of education, wherein schools most often oppress and marginalize while they maintain the potential to emancipate and empower.” (p 74)

“… when the ideology of racism is examined and racist injuries are named, victims of racism can often find [page break] their voice. Those injured by racism and other forms of oppression discover that they are not alone and moreover are part of a legacy of resistance to racism and the layers of racialized oppression. They become empowered participants, hearing their own stories and the stories of others, listening to how the arguments against them are framed and learning to make the arguments to defend themselves.” (p 74-75)

[“Challenging racism, revealing cultural wealth” (p 75) …]

“Deficit thinking takes the position that minority students and families are at fault for poor academic performance because: (a) students enter school without the normative cultural knowledge and skills; and (b) parents neither value nor support their child’s education. … leads schools to default to the banking method of education critiqued by Paulo Freire (1973).” (p 75)

“For example, with Students of Color, culture is frequently represented symbolically through language and can encompass identities around immigration status, gender, phenotype, sexuality and region, as well as race and ethnicity.” (p 76)

“Bourdieu asserts that cultural capital (i.e., education, language), social capital (i.e., social networks, connections) and economic capital (i.e., money and other material possessions) can be acquired two ways, from one’s family and/or through formal schooling. The dominant groups within society are able to maintain power because access is limited to acquiring and learning strategies to use these forms of capital for social mobility.” (p 76)

“… his [Bourdieu] theory of cultural capital has been used to assert that some communities are culturally wealthy while others are culturally poor. … In other words, cultural capital is not just inherited or possessed by the middle class, but rather it refers to an accumulation of specific forms of knowledge, skills and abilities that are _valued_ by privileged groups in society. For example, middle or upper class students may have access to a computer at home and therefore can learn numerous computer-related vocabulary and technological skills before arriving at school. These students have acquired cultural capital because computer-related vocabulary and technological skills are valued in the school setting.” (p 76)

“… a CRT lens can ‘see’ that Communities of Color nurture cultural wealth through at least 6 forms of capital such as aspirational, navigational, social, linguistic, familial, and resistant capital … These various forms of capital are not mutually exclusive or static, but rather are dynamic processes that build on one another as part of community cultural wealth.” (p 77)

“As demonstrated through the concept of cultural wealth, CRT research begins with the perspective that Communities of Color are places with multiple strengths.” (p 82)

“CRT centers the research, pedagogy, and policy lens on Communities of Color and calls into question White middle class communities as the standard by which all others are judged.” (p 82)


Selected References

  • Anzaldúa, G. (1990) Haciendo Caras/making face, making soul: creative and critical perspectives by women of color (San Francisco, CA, Aunt Lute Press).
  • Bell, D. (1987) And we will not be saved: the elusive quest for racial justice (New York, Basic Books).
  • Bourdieu, P. & Passeron, J. (1977) Reproduction in education, society and culture (London, Sage).
  • Calmore, J. (1992) Critical race theory, Archie Shepp and fire music: securing an authentic intellectual life in a multicultural world, Southern California Law Review, 65, 2129–2231.
  • Crenshaw, K. (1989) Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A Black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics, University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1989, 139–167.
  • Crenshaw, K. (1993) Mapping the margins: intersectionality, identity politics and the violence against Women of Color, Stanford Law Review, 43, 1241–1299.
  • Delgado, R. & Stefancic, J. (Eds) (1997) Critical white studies: looking behind the mirror (Philadelphia, Temple University Press).
  • Freire, P. (1970) Education for critical consciousness (New York, Continuum Publishing Company).
  • Freire, P. (1973) Pedagogy of the oppressed (New York, The Seabury Press).
  • hooks, b. (1994) Teaching to transgress: education as the practice of freedom (New York, NY, Routledge).
  • Solórzano, D. (1997) Images and words that wound: critical race theory, racial stereotyping and teacher education, Teacher Education Quarterly, 24, 5–19.
  • Solórzano, D. (1998) Critical race theory, racial and gender microaggressions, and the experiences of Chicana and Chicano Scholars, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 11, 121–136.
  • Valenzuela, A. (1999) Subtractive schooling: US-Mexican youth and the politics of caring (New York, SUNY Press).
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