JOPOL 6(2022)

Benefits vs Burden: A Raciolinguistic Analysis of World Language Mission Statements and Testimonios of Bilingualism in the United States 
Aris Clemons

The dominant race and language ideologies that circulate in formal educational spaces in the U.S. often praise Anglo-American Spanish language learners as progressive innovators while marking Latinx and Hispanic Spanish speakers as racialized and “stubbornly unassimilable” (Rosa 2016: 107). The current study explores the gap between the neoliberal goals put forth by world language programs and the linguistic realities of racialized students. The study employs a critical discourse analysis and a raciolinguistic lens to examine foreign language mission statements in conjunction with testimonios of students who completed these programs. I argue that the continued stigmatization of racialized Spanish speakers is a direct consequence of the converse racialization of Spanish bilingualism (Mena & Garcia 2020), coded in the framing of Spanish as an asset for some, while remaining a burden for the population under study. While the participants’ ethnic self-identifications served to contest the dominant ideologies that undergird educational practices, each internalized the sense that their Spanish was primarily a burden. The findings support a restructuring of discourses that permeate language education policy and planning, as we seek to respond to an increasing population of Latinx and Hispanic bilinguals.  

Keywords: Neoliberalism, Bilingualism, Converse Racialization, Language Education, Language Ideology