Translanguaging as a Gateway to Black Immigrant Collegians’ Leadership Literacies

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Background/Context: Previous research suggested that first- or second-generation African immigrants comprised nearly a third of Black students attending selective U. S. colleges (Massey et al., 2007). While research frames the involvement of Black immigrant collegians as distinctly different from African American peers as it pertains to family goals, relationships, ethnic identity, and academic achievement (Benson, 2006; Rumbaut, 1994; Waters, 1994), little is known about the ways in which Black immigrant collegians experience the perceptions of others about their literacy achievement in the academy.

Purpose and Research Design: This qualitative narrative inquiry applies CRiT walking in concert with translanguaging to examine the epistemological perspectives of six second-generation immigrant African male collegians experiencing structural placism (Giles & Hughes, 2009) and using academic literacies as they traverse a Hispanic-serving institution in rural Texas.

Conclusion: Structural racism excludes students of color from learning and leadership opportunities at predominantly White institutions. Our findings show that participants who used translanguaging by invoking two specific forms of linguistic repertoires, English standardized and cultural nonstandardized, to proactively respond to structural placism. Furthermore, participants associated being multilingual with race and leadership positionality in academic, organizational and cultural spaces. Moreover, African immigrant male collegians spoke of utilizing racially homogenous academic (e.g., study groups) and historically Black cocurricular organizations as spaces to engage in culturally safe ways that validated their intellectual and ethnic identities.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Teachers College Record, v. 122, issue 13, art. 23409