Knowing and Teaching our Undergraduate Latino/a and Black/African/Afro Caribbean Students.

As Predominantly White Institutions work to create welcoming campus climates for non-White students, they must address the complexities of race, culture, ethnicity and language that students of color bring to classrooms.

Latino/a and Black students face both academic adjustment and social integration as they begin at UMD or transfer from other institutions.  Based upon research on the history and identity construction of local Latino populations, Black immigrants and African American students, participants will take away a strong contextual and pedagogical base from this workshop.  Questions that will be discussed include: What are the cultural, academic, and historical differences between subgroups of Latinos (i.e. Salvadoran vs. Mexican vs. Puerto Rico) and how might that impact their learning experiences? How do students of color from different social class backgrounds manage inter- and intragroup relations?  What role does gender, in particular, play in the responsibilities and opportunities of Latina and Black Immigrant, and Afro Caribbean young women?  What do we know about our African American and Latino/a athletes and their often conflicting priorities and loyalties? Black and Latino students are increasingly together in urban high schools and “diversity” courses on campus.  Drawing from four years of experience teaching the I-Series “Latino and Black Schooling History” course– the author will also present effective readings, curricula, and pedagogy which generate open and honest communication in small and large groups across ethnicity, race, gender, immigrant generation, and class.

 Speaker:  Victoria-Maria MacDonald, Minority and Urban Education Department of Teaching, Learning, Policy and Leadership. 

Date: Wednesday April 30th, from 4-5:30pm

Location: 1310 Marie Mount Hall

If you have not already done so, please RSVP here:

Please reply to this post to share/submit your reflection on this reading and how it relates to your own experiences by midnight on April 29th.  The reflection should be 1-2 paragraphs.  If you do not want to go to all the workshops, but still want to engage in this reflective exercise, then we invite you to participate as well.



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4 Responses to Knowing and Teaching our Undergraduate Latino/a and Black/African/Afro Caribbean Students.

  1. Ashley Munger says:

    I read the Hernandez (2009) piece. Prior to reading this essay, I did not know about the events surrounding the Latino/a studies minor at UMD. While I am saddened that the proposal was not better received, I am encouraged that students had the courage and felt empowered to broach the issue. Ms. Hernandez’s relation of her own background to why this study is essential was especially enlightening for me; she writes, “I identified a need to derive pride and cultural awareness instead of confusion from my hyphenated identity.” I think students need safe places to develop their identities and share their journeys with others. I am very interested in learning more through the course of the workshop.

  2. Jonathan Senn, Jr. says:

    After reading “The Re-Education of a Pocha-Rican: How Latina/o Studies Latinized Me” by Hernandez, I felt a range of emotions related to our university and the stream-lined, one-sided socialization of the country’s youth (and in reality, the entire population). The first-hand account of the struggle that Hernandez and her colleagues faced in the creation of a U.S. Latina/o studies minor elucidated that organizations can be inclusive and diverse when they desire. As a world-renowned institution, UMD attempted to undermine the efforts of these Latina/o studies under the guise of homogenizing “American Society”. Our country is primarily comprised of immigrants from around the world, and to extinguish any individual or collective experience would be a disservice to the ideals of our country. Nevertheless, history is written by the victors (as they say), and it appeared that UMD wanted to continue this insidious perception. As we teach young students “American History”, the majority of individuals forget that “American History” is coupled with the history of all other nations and experiences; “Black History” is “American History”, “Women’s History” is “American History”, etc. Thus, this appeared to be forgotten by the administration of UMD, as it is often forgotten by citizens who are conditioned to be ignorant of the global society’s role in the creation and propagation of “American History”. We must be cognizant of the experiences of all individuals from all aspects of our global society, and we must not impede on these experiences to highlight our own.

  3. Neeraja dashaputre says:

    Having read the Hernandez (2009) article, I feel the struggle Arelis faced to establish a latino study program at UMD. The authors experience that many members of the administration did not find ethnic studies programs to be relevant in an institution of higher studies is in fact very surprising for me. Thankfully the UMD I know has been extremely different than experienced by Arelis. The fact that it took so long for this program to pass initial stages of approval was the evidence of how opposed the administration was for such studies. I feel it is really important for a student to first understand their social and historical place to fit in or assimilate in a a culture like US. A correct sense of belonging can only come when everyone is aware of where they belong and how they contribute to the society. It is very important to clear this confusion in ones head in order to create a true inclusion. I am looking for ways to create this place where students really feel comfortable to start this journey within. I am glad that we will be discussing many such ways tomorrow.

  4. S. Teuben-Rowe says:

    The Hernandez article was eye-opening and terribly familiar. The Mid-Atlantic states are experiencing demographic shifts and accordingly must adapt and improve their higher-ed offerings. I was surprised to read that UMCP is/was resistant to the proposal of the minor. As a UCLA graduate I took for granted the presence of the Chicano Studies program and the presence of Latino/a culture(s) throughout the southwestern regions. Years later, now as a Marylander, I am bearing witness to the growth of Latino/a communities here, yet the absence of an academic and/or scholarly cohort on area colleges and universities. While I do wish the article had made more mention of the content the Latino/a Studies minor entails, the thrust of the piece stayed true; the university experience includes self awareness and discovery, finding one’s voice, and most certainly developing a constructive critique of the institution that forms and shapes its students. Hernandez and her colleagues have enriched the academy through their efforts. It remains to be seen if the academy will support minor given the implied dearth of genuine commitment.

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