Unequally ‘Hispanic’: Intersectional Inequalities and Resiliency among Indigenous ‘Hispanic’ Youth

How do educational policies and programs designed for Latino youth affect immigrant Mexican youth from indigenous families?

Indigenous Latin American grow up with cultures distinct from their Latino classmates, and with first languages that are unrelated to either Spanish or English. Yet, policymakers, education program planners, and researchers overlook the unique facets of this population by subsuming them in the general category of “Hispanic” or “Latino” youth. Because of this, we know little about this population and their needs, strengths, and contributions. In this study, Holmes will investigate the ways in which different forms of discrimination (e.g., interpersonal, social, linguistic, and institutional) affect indigenous Mexican immigrant youth, as well as the ways in which these youth respond to and resist these forms of discrimination. The research will highlight sources of strength and resilience among indigenous Mexican immigrant youth, especially in relation to well-being and academic success, and will involve qualitative interviews, video-recorded life-histories, and ethnographic participant observation fieldwork. Holmes will develop new expertise in research with youth and families, which differs from his previous research focused on adult male immigrant farmworkers. He will also grow new expertise in the ways in which discrimination influences the teaching and learning of languages, and in new forms of video and collaborative research methods. Holmes’s mentors are Lynn Stephen (an anthropologist of indigenous Mexican immigrant families in the U.S., and an expert in video and collaborative research methods) and Patricia Baquedano-Lopez (an expert in the learning of language among indigenous Mexican immigrant children).

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