The United States has pride itself in their progressive turn to address racism, however, they have done so without directly addressing the root cause in fundamental issues of race, gender, and sexuality, which have been primarily covered up through progressive policies. The formal policy process making is often a façade that sustains racial patterns of domination (HoSang, 2010). A major issue is how we discuss notions of race, which cannot be separated from gender and sexuality, and how racial theory has shaped ideas around race and racism but have failed to account for historical and political contexts. Race continues to serve as a permanent feature in society that shapes all sectors and institutions in the U.S. The existing ideas of race have influenced discourses of how race is discussed, however, beyond the black and white notions of race, the existing discourses to understand other marginalized groups, have failed to understand how complex racial subjects are.
The United States adopted the term Latino in the 2000 U.S. Census. The term Latino means Latin and was created to refer to people who are from Latin America. On the one hand, Latino serves as a homogenous label that groups people from Latin America or with an ancestry connected to Latin America. It has historically served as a way to organize and empower people who share similar cultural practices. On the other hand, it ignores how diverse Latinos are and it hides and erases the lived experiences of people who have distinct histories, cultures, migration experiences, and many other factors. The current term “Latinx” has been proposed as a genderless term to make language more inclusive for gender non-binary and/or transgender folk. This term is primarily used online and in social media and is being used in academic settings, but older generations and people living in Latin America do not seem to be receptive to this term, which has been explained by linguistics floodgates and a disrespect to Spanish. However, it is important to unmask and interrogate how the Latinx community adheres to a binary view of gender and sexuality and it how it contributes to the tensions and struggles among the several ethnic groups. Existing theories and notions of race have failed to understand and complicate how Latinxs have been racialized as a homogenous group without understanding the historical and political contexts of Latin America and its various countries.
Schools serve as one of the main institutions in the U.S. in which young people are socialized. Latinxs youth, regardless of their legal status, are largely represented in public education. Research on school discipline has shown that students of color, primarily Black and Latinx, are disciplined and policed at higher rates than their counterpart (Advancement Project, 2011; Casella 2003; Wald and Losen, 2003; Wallace et al., 2008). The majority of existing studies have primarily used the School-to-Prison Pipeline (STPP) framework to point out that the harsh disciplining of students places them in the pipeline leading to their incarceration and contributing to the mass incarceration and the prison-industrial complex. In other words, the STPP framework has served as the common sense understanding of the relationship between schools and prisons in the United States over the last decade. The STPP framework is ahistorical missing the necessary racial, class, gendered, and sexed analyses to understand the root causes of the relationship between schools and prisons (Sojoyner, 2013). It is imperative to examine a historical analysis of the education of Latinxs in the U.S. A historical analysis of the relationship between schools and prisons as mitigated by gendered, sexed, and racialization processes upon Mexican and Central American youth in Southern California. The basis of my support lies in the incorporation of Mexicans during 1850s that established a precarious relationship to blackness through lynching, the carcerality of education that began in the 1960s that used public education as a space to disrupt Black communal organizing by having police officers teach “Police in Government” course manual, and the state violence against Central American immigrants in Los Angeles that has ignored the conditions that led to displacement in Latin America and that has contributed to the tensions among the ethnic groups within the Latinx community.