Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Ariana Mangual Figueroa

Committee Members

Ofelia García

Wendy Luttrell

Subject Categories

Applied Linguistics | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education


choques, emergent bilinguals, New York, Dominicans, culturally sustaining, elementary public school


This ethnographic case study examines how fourth graders in a New York City Spanish/English dual language bilingual public school navigate hegemonic language ideologies about Spanish. Drawing on the scholarship of raciolinguistic ideologies—those that position the language practices of people of color as inherently deficient (Flores & Rosa, 2015), I analyze the discourse of seven Kiskeyanx students to examine how they navigate the widespread raciolinguistic marginalization of Kiskeyanxs— a demographic that is racialized as more Black than other Spanish-speaking groups.

As a first-generation Kiskeyana-New Yorker, a bilingual teacher educator and researcher, and a former dual language bilingual public-school teacher, it was important for me to center self-reflexivity in this research. Before beginning the case study, I engaged in autohistoria-teoría—an Anzaldúan framing of autoethnography— to examine my own experiences navigating hegemonic ideologies. By analyzing personal and collective herstories, poems, letters, photos, and reflexive memos, I was able to see all the choques (Anzaldúa, 1987) I’ve experienced from kindergarten to the present day— the collisions, contradictions, and complicated dynamics brought on by trying to survive within oppressive systems.

Similarly, my analysis of student interviews, classroom observations, and students’ schoolwork brings to light the complex and contradictory ways in which the raciolinguistically marginalized fourth graders navigate oppressive ideologies about themselves. Guided by el conocimiento del cuerpo (Juarez Mendoza & Aponte, 2021) and moment analysis (Li Wei, 2011), I observed tensions and choques in the ways students both aligned with hegemonic ideologies about Kiskeyanxs while also resisting dominant perceptions about their speech. While students expressed pride in their Dominicanness and critiqued limiting raciolinguistic ideologies, they also conveyed an internalization of raciolinguistic ideologies that conflate Kiskeyanxs with linguistic deficiency and inferiority. Students communicated the need to surveil their speech based on discourses of appropriateness (Flores & Rosa, 2015) that relegate their “Dominican” language practices as appropriate for home and Whitestream Spanish as appropriate for school. Ideologies of linguistic purism were also evident in the ways students held themselves to monoglossic expectations of what it means to be fluent in Spanish.

This dissertation calls attention to the hegemony of violent colonial ideologies that pervade even this dual language bilingual school that works intentionally to counter them. To move towards the anti-racist bilingual schooling that civil rights activists envisioned, I discuss potentials for an anti-colonial approach to bilingual education that addresses the deep-seated racist colonial foundations of raciolinguistic ideologies.