Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Ofelia Garcia

Committee Members

Ofelia Garcia

Terrie Epstein

Anthony Picciano

Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Chicana/o Studies | Educational Sociology | Ethnic Studies | Latina/o Studies | Other Education | Race and Ethnicity | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Mexican immigrants, Anti-Immigrant Bias, Interethnic Relations, Black-Latino Relations, Race Gender Experience Framework Theory, Inter-Culturally Relevant Pedagogy


There is a dearth of literature on how immigrant groups understand minority groups in the United States, in particular, African-Americans. Increased technology and more rapid global movement in the 21st Century challenges 20th explanations of assimilation (Chicago School) and necessitates more research focused on how immigrant groups and racialized minorities interact to negotiate new worlds. This ethnographic research was conducted over thirteen months during 2012 and 2013 in a post-industrial neighborhood in the northeast that had been the site of 11 purported anti-bias attacks against Mexican immigrants during the summer of 2010. Research questions focused on: 1) Mexican immigrant youth understandings of race, and how they understand and experience interethnic relations with African-Americans; 2) the role of school in the shaping of those understandings and experiences? Using purposive sampling, the author conducted fifteen (15) in-depth interviews with Mexican immigrants between the ages of 18-23, stratified by gender, schooling & immigration status, limited only to those who had lived, worked or gone to school in the neighborhood during 2010. Using thematic analysis, the author found that more formal schooling increased respondents’ linguistic capacity to discuss interethnic relations and that less schooling often resulted in avoidance of race and interethnic talk. Language is added as a category to build on Nancy López’s Race Gender Experience Framework Theory (2002), to help understand interethnic development. Building on Ladson-Billings (1994), Gay (2010), the author begins to explore inter-culturally relevant pedagogy to build trust in schools.