Ethnic Identity and Power

Cultural Contexts of Political Action in School and Society

Edited by Yali Zou & Enrique T. Trueba

Subjects: Education
Series: SUNY series, Power, Social Identity, and Education
Paperback : 9780791437544, 472 pages, April 1998
Hardcover : 9780791437537, 472 pages, April 1998

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Table of contents




• Enrique (Henry) T. Trueba and Yali Zou

1. Cultural Politics of the White Ethniclass in the Mid-Nineties

• George and Louise Spindler

2. Leadership, Education, and Political Action: The Emergence of New Latino Ethnic Identities

Cirenio Rodríguez and Enrique (Henry) T. Trueba

3. Power and Learning in a Multi-Ethnic High School: Dilemmas of Policy and Practice

• Jon Wagner

4. Teaching Against the Grain in Bilingual Education: Resistance in the Classroom Underlife

• Rebecca Constantino and Christian Faltis

5. Affirmative Action in Engineering Education: A Case Study

• James F. Shackelford, Penelope L. Shackelford, and Enrique (Henry) T. Trueba

6. The Policy of Modernization of Education: A Challenge to Democracy in Mexico

• Beatriz Calvo

7. Indigenous Images and Identity in Pluricultural Mexico: Media as Official Apologist and Catalyst for Democratic Action

• Robert DeVillar

8. The Role of Media in Armed and Peaceful Struggles for Identity: Indigenous Self-Expression in Mexico

• Robert DeVillar and Victor Franco

9. Mixed Messages: Moroccan Children in the Netherlands Living in Two Worlds

• Lotty Eldering

10. State Terrors: Immigrants and Refugees in the Post-National Space

• Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco

11. Identity, Cultural Diversity, and Education: Notes Toward a Pedagogy of the Excluded

• Elvira S. Lima and Marcelo G. Lima

12. Dancing with Bigotry: The Poisoning of Racial and Ethnic Identities

• Donaldo Macedo and Lilia I. Bartolomé

13. Aspects of the Cultural Politics of Alaskan Education

• David M. Smith

14. Dilemmas Faced by Critical Ethnographers in China

• Yali Zou

15. Afterword: ¡Ya Basta!

• Peter McLaren



A stimulating comparative examination of the educational ramifications of cultural identity, with implications for public policy.


The relationship between ethnic identity and power has important consequences in a modern world that is changing rapidly through global immigration trends. Studies of ethnic/racial conflict of ethnic identity and power become necessarily studies of political power, social status, school achievement, and allocation of resources. The recognition of power by an ethnic group, however, creates a competition for control and a rivalry for power over public arenas, such as schools.

In this context this book provides interesting and important insights into the dilemmas faced by immigrants and members of ethnic groups, by school personnel, and by policy makers. The first part of the book consists of comparative studies of ethnic identity. The second part focuses directly on some of the lessons learned from social science research on ethnic identification and the critical study of equity, with its implications for pedagogy. An interdisciplinary group of scholars offers profoundly honest and stimulating accounts of their struggles to decipher self-identification processes in various political contexts, as well as their personal reflections on the study of ethnicity.

A powerful message emerges that invites reflection about self-identification processes, and that allows a deeper understanding of the empowering consequences of a clear and strong personal, cultural, ethnic, and social identity. These pages offer a keen grasp of the undeniable political contexts of education.

Yali Zou is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Studies and Director of the Asian American Studies Center at the University of Houston. Enrique T. Trueba is Professor and Executive Co-Director of the Institute for Urban Education at the University of Houston.


"I was captured by the 'guts' of this book. It's a courageous and much needed volume which tackles, head-on and quite candidly, current world crises of power and dominance and struggles with persistent and pernicious racism. A fine balance of academic and 'real world' knowledge. An excellent contribution to discussions of education in broad cultural context. An amazing collection of scholars, activists and talented writers!" — Perry Gilmore, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

"This is a fascinating book on the role of cultural identity for political action as well as the educational implications of cultural identity. The authors weave the notion of ethnic identity and power throughout each article, thereby providing the reader with compelling evidence that these notions have serious implications for pedagogical praxis. " — Gilda Maria Bloom, San Francisco State University