Latin@ Voices in Multicultural Education: From Invisibility to Visibility in Higher Education



Series: The Silenced Voices in Education
BISAC: EDU020000

In this unique, innovative, and visionary book, Latin@ Voices in Multicultural Education: From Invisibility to Visibility in Higher Education, Obiakor and Martinez highlight the visible voices of Latin@ teacher-scholars, professionals, and leaders. The authors agree with many Chican@ / Latin@ scholars (Cantú & Fránquiz, 2010) by using the term “Latin@” for the book as an all-inclusive label instead of “Latina/o” to deemphasize the cisgendered “o/a” and uneven “Hispanic” terminology regarding individuals of Latin American heritage. These voices come from personal narratives of Latin@s in the United States (US) higher education. While their narratives expose different viewpoints and come from different personalities, institutions, and geographical locations, the complexities of their journeys have similar elements of true survival in unfamiliar Eurocentric terrains.

In their respective chapters, they share their stories with veracity, acknowledge their remarkable contributions to their profession, and demonstrate that it is possible to be seen and heard in academic environments that have historically tried to silence their voices. Because of their pride, dedication, energy, resiliency, and courage, they are worthy of emulation; and all individuals, in spite of their culture, race, and national origin, can learn from them. Clearly, Latin@ Voices in Multicultural Education is a book for this day and age. It is intended for use by both undergraduate and graduate students, multicultural education scholars, faculty and staff in teacher preparation programs, higher education administrators, policy makers, and internal and external stakeholders in higher education. Hopefully, this book will motivate its readers to think and act differently, and to a large measure, shift their paradigms on how they treat and interact with individuals who appear different and atypical. Finally, this book will help everyone to value human differences; nurture multicultural dispositions and contexts; and navigate successfully through the mazes of bilingualism, multilingualism, multiculturalism, nationalism, and globalism.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of Contributors  Foreword  Preface

Chapter 1. Motivations of a Growing Latino Scholar in U.S. Higher Education James Martínez  (Valdosta State University, GA, USA)

Chapter 2. Colonial Structures, Identities, and Schooling: My Take on Multicultural Education and White Supremacy  Luis Urrieta, Jr. (University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA)

Chapter 3. Academic Truth Telling as a Latina: Researching Multicultural Education, Working in Academia, and Living Critical Race Theory  Jennifer Esposito (Georgia State University, GA, USA)

Chapter 4.  Cultural Processes in Education: An Academic Journey  Robert Rueda  (University of Southern California, CA, USA)

Chapter 5.  A Latina’s Conversation on Personal and Social Contextual Issues of Identity B. Gloria Guzmán Johannessen  (Texas State University, TX, USA)

Chapter 6. My Story: My Latino Voice  Reynaldo L. Martínez Jr.  (Valdosta State University, GA, USA)

Chapter 7. La Evolución Desde Una Frontera a Otra: Reflections, Writings, and Practices in Social Justice and Multicultural Advocacy Melissa A. Martinez (Texas State University, TX, USA)

Chapter 8. Multicultural Education and Experiences of a Dominican Immigrant Educator  Regina L. Suriel (Valdosta State University, GA, USA)

Chapter 9. Sense of Belonging in Higher Education: Voice of a Latina Professor  Nilsa J. Thorsos (National University, CA, USA)

Chapter 10. My Mestiza Path Toward a Global Competence  Ericka H. Parra (Valdosta State University, GA, USA)

Chapter 11. From Panamá to America’s Higher Education: A Testimonial of Struggle and Resiliency Juan A. Ríos Vega (Bradley University, IL, USA)

Chapter 12. ‘These Things I Do’: Research, Teach, and Serve by Critically Unveiling Racism and Oppression Antonette Aragon (Colorado State University, CO, USA)

Chapter 13.  Afterword: Still I Learn to Be Multicultural  Festus E. Obiakor  (Valdosta State University, GA, USA)



“The narratives in this book are timely, because they make visible in higher education the supposedly invisible in higher education discourse and policy. At a time when Latino/as are the fasting growing population in the U.S. at all levels of education, this volume opens up critical dialogue that fills a void in the academic literature, especially as it relates to language, identity, and culture. Sophisticatedly, this volume troubles notions of universalism while simultaneously celebrating the significance of cultural belonging and understanding inside and outside of academic spaces. Even more importantly, the narratives avoid the voyeuristic gaze, due to the authors’ commitment to criticality in voice and theoretical framing of shared and individual experience. How might this work inform teaching and learning with Latin@s and other culturally and linguistically diverse students? Latin@ Voices provides much needed insight into how multicultural education can be decolonized, theorized, and practiced from the perspective of cultural insiders. A nation built on the backs of Latin@ labor is way overdue for a book that acknowledges their intellectualism alongside their prowess. The book has implications for ethnic studies, higher education, and teacher education.” –  Venus E. Evans-Winters, Associate Professor, at Illinois State University in Educational Administration & Foundations, and Faculty Affiliate Women & Gender Studies and Ethnic Studies

“This is an important book. While statistics allow us to work with our minds, it is the heart where stories take residence and drive us towards action. As an Ally in the dominant culture, it is also our responsibility to hear these critical and compassionate Latin@ voices be shared both on the stage and at the table so that together we can re-work and re-shape our policies and institutions to become inclusive, equitable and empowering for all.” –  Angela Engel, Founder of Uniting4Kids and author of Seeds of Tomorrow; Solutions for Improving our Chidren’s Education

“In the Latin tradition of testimonios, Latin@ Voices in Multicultural Education will draw you in and spark a deeper awareness of cultural struggles -both political and personal- that play-out daily on the stage of our American school system. With Dr. James Martinez showing the way in the first chapter, he astutely points out that “the pursuit of truth is the acquiring and use of multiple lenses.” And as truth is the best foundation for progress, Latin@ Voices provides informative yet entertaining voices that are essential in the effort to form the inclusive public education system our country must finally build. Educators, please read Latin@ Voices in Multicultural Education. In this collection of stories, each personal testimonio gives you the opportunity to see through the lenses of this group of Latin@ professionals. Their truths will improve your pedagogy and expand the capabilities of future educators to better serve the diverse educational needs of our multicultural society.” – Victoria M. Young, D.V.M., author of The Crucial Voice of the People, Past and Present

“In Latin@ Voices in Multicultural Education: From Invisibility to Visibility in Higher Education, editors Festus E. Obiakor and James Martinez, manage to capture the life experiences of Latin@ teacher-scholars, professionals, which offer the reader a profound depth of understanding through the “voices” that share unique life experiences and common observations in their personal academic life experiences. Each scholar developed the courage to confront challenges by not denying their own personal convictions in favor of adopting the convictions of others. What exactly does this mean? For Latinos, and other people of color, it means developing, what I call, the essential “courageous mindset”: 1) not being afraid of adversity in the face of one’s goals; and 2) being willing to risk “upsetting” people to do what he/she believes, with a fair minded conviction. This book is an invaluable resource in that it offers credibility by virtue to the “voices” in a unique and powerful position–to invoke their collective practical wisdom, expertise, creativity, and impassioned zeal to assist all education stakeholders, especially Latino students, improves the focus and clarity in the development of the “courageous mindset.” A mindset that will “fast-track” solidifying Latino student’s self-identity; and, therefore allowing these Latin@ students to be discerning in their education-career decision-making.” –  Joseph N. Velasquez, Esq., Founder & CEO of

“Visionary and invigorating, Latin@ Voices in Multicultural Education: From Invisibility to Visibility in Higher Education is a truculent testament of courage and conviction. Enlightened educators will adopt it as a text to help confront the pretext that hinders the advance of real democracy.” –  Joel Bryant, Ed.D., Director, For Dreamers Only Academy LLC & Bryant Leadership Coaching and Consulting, UNC-Charlotte

This book is intended for use by both undergraduate and graduate students, multicultural education majors, faculty and staff in teacher preparation programs, higher education administrators, policy makers, scholars, and educators in higher education. We are convinced that all constituents can learn, develop, and grow in how they respond, react, and promote multiculturalism with students, parents, teachers, and staff in US colleges and universities.

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