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26 Chicano-Latino L. Rev. 183 (2006)
Naming Racism: A Conceptual Look at Internalized Racism in U.S. Schools

handle is hein.journals/chiclat26 and id is 187 raw text is: NAMING RACISM: A CONCEPTUAL LOOK
Internalized racism describes the conscious and unconscious
acceptance of a racial hierarchy where whites are consistently
ranked above People of Color. Although scholars across multi-
ple disciplines have discussed this concept, the role of schools in
instilling and perpetuating internalized racism within Students
of Color has very rarely been examined. This paper is a concep-
tual piece that utilizes a Critical Race Theory framework to ac-
knowledge the   racialized  experiences  within  classroom
pedagogy, curriculum, and unequal school resources. We ex-
amine how these factors can negatively affect racial group-iden-
tity and contribute to internalized racism for Students of Color.
Because internalized racism works to sustain educational and
social inequity, this paper also explores ways that schools can
function to break this cycle.
A former elementary school teacher in Southern California
relayed a story to one of the authors in which she described an
African American' male 5th grader who began to sob during one
of their after school tutoring sessions. After struggling through a
math problem, the student proclaimed through tears that he
couldn't do the math; that it was too hard and he wasn't smart
enough.2 The irony is that this student blamed himself for his ac-
ademic struggles. He was not thinking about the fact that neither
he or his classmates had math textbooks, that the first few weeks
of school they had to strive to learn in the dark because their
classrooms had no lights, or that his string of past un-creden-
tialed teachers had allowed him to become two grade levels be-
hind in math. We argue that the lack of resources and low
* Social Sciences and Comparative Education Division, Graduate School of
Education and Information Studies, University of California Los Angeles. Order of
authors is random.
1. In this article we use the terms African American and Black
2. Interview with Erica Lee, Teacher, in L.A., Cal. (Oct. 15, 2003). (Name and
location have been changed for purposes of anonymity).

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