Student and teacher negotiations of racial identity in an Afro-Ecuadorian region

Student and teacher negotiations of racial identity in an Afro-Ecuadorian region

International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Volume 22, Issue 5 (September-October 2009)
pages 563-584
DOI: 10.1080/09518390902915439

Ethan Allen Johnson, Assistant Professor of Black Studies
Portland State University, Portland, Oregon

In this article, using data collected primarily through interviews and observations the researcher explores how students and teachers of African descent at the Jaime Hurtado Academy understand and interpret race and racism in the city and province of Esmeraldas, which is the only region of the country where Afro-Ecuadorians comprise the largest proportion of the population. The findings reveal that students often distanced themselves from their Blackness through racial mixture, and that parents played a critical socializing role in their studentsā€™ negotiations of racial identity. Additionally, it was found that teachers universally embraced their Blackness, although they simultaneously acknowledged their mixed racial ancestry. These findings contest literate understandings of race and ideological attempts by elites to exclude Afroā€Ecuadorians within the dominant discourse of national identity.

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