Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2022 Luca Poxon. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) license. For all other uses, please contact the copyright holder.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies Department, Linguistics Department

First Advisor

Miranda Weinberg

Second Advisor

Theodore B. Fernald


Drawing on concepts from critical race theory and critical whiteness studies, scholarship on raciolinguistics and racial identity, and methods from grounded theory and discourse analysis, this thesis explores the following research questions: 1) How do White teachers of students of color understand language, race, and their own role as raced people teaching language? 2) How do they act on these understandings? Interviews with five White K-8 educators show how particular combinations of understandings of race, language, and self produce raciolinguistic and pedagogical tensions; these include knowing that the concept of “academic language” is racialized and power-laden while also believing that it is necessary for students to learn, alongside the practical challenges associated with implementing critical pedagogies. Even as some of the interviewed teachers explicitly rejected discourses of appropriateness and code-switching-as-necessary, the raciolinguistic ideologies circulating in state policy and broader society produced intense dilemmas for them as White educators committed to antiracism. As a result, the teachers used strategies to discursively manage 1) their distance from Whiteness and 2) race’s relevance to language, thus mitigating some of the raciolinguistic tensions. In addition, the teachers’ pedagogical strategies reduced the immediate harm of White supremacist raciolinguistic ideologies, but left the ideologies themselves unexamined and unchanged.