Latina/o Youth’s Perspectives on Race, Language, and Learning Mathematics

Maria del Rosario Zavala


In this article, the author employs critical race theory (CRT) and Latino Critical Theory (LatCrit) to examine Latina/o students’ narratives of learning mathematics in a multi-lingual, urban high school. Intersectionality as a tenet of LatCrit is introduced as an important way to understand how students talk about the roles of race, language, and other central identities in their mathematics identity development as well as how they believe race may or may not matter in other people’s mathematics achievement. The author’s analysis illustrates how mathematics identities are co-constructed in relation to racial, linguistic, and gendered narratives of Latina/o youth. In general, the study adds empirical evidence to previous research on the difficulties that high school students encounter when articulating how race matters to their own identities in academic subjects and highlights the nuanced ways Latina/o students make connections between race, mathematical achievement, and schooling experiences in and through narratives of school success and failure.


critical race theory, Latina/o critical race theory, mathematics education, mathematics identity, urban education

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Illuminating Urban Excellence