Re-writing Race and Gender Lessons in the Classroom: Second-Generation Dominicans in New York City
by Nancy Lopez — 2002
At high school graduation ceremonies across the country, a curious gender gap has emerged -- more women graduate than men, particularly in Latino and Black communities. This trend begs several questions: How do formal and informal institutional practices within high schools “race” and “gender” students? How do racializ(ing) and gender(ing) processes intersect in the classroom setting? How can principals, school administrators, and teachers work toward dismantling race, gender, and class oppression in their schools? Drawing on 5 months of participant observation in a New York City public high school that is 90% Latino, mostly second-generation Dominicans, I found that both formal and informal institutional practices within schools, "race" and "gender" students in ways that significantly affect their outlooks on education. Young men are viewed as threatening and potential problem students, whereas young women are treated in a more sympathetic fashion. If our goal is to improve the education attainment of all students, we must become aware of the invisible race(ing) and gender(ing) that takes place in the classroom, as well as in the everyday institutional practices of schools.
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