Raciolinguistics and Fugitivity: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Black Women Teacher Experiences
Studying the experiences of Black educators and Black people is particularly important given the rampant anti-Blackness present in K-12 schools. Often while studying Blackness in schools, the focus is on children and their oppression as it relates to their achievement. This study aimed to expand the fields of raciolinguistics, fugitivity, and education by exploring the experiences of Black women teachers in predominantly non-Black schools and the language they use to describe those experiences. The research questions guiding the study are (1) How do Black women educators describe their experiences in predominantly non-Black schools? (2) How does the language black women educators use to describe their experiences frame the Black experience?Data were collected from participant interviews from three Black women high school teachers in predominantly non-Black schools in an urban city in Texas. Critical discourse analysis was used to analyze the language of participants through a raciolinguistic and fugitivity theoretical lens. Findings demonstrate that these Black women teachers experience additional hardship based on the color of their skin and the language they use. The language of the participants aligns largely with tenets of raciolinguistics and fugitivity relegating Black teachers and students to fugitive spaces, by force and by choice. The findings indicate that Black women teachers use additional raciolinguistic labor to battle stereotypes of Black women. They also co-constructed fugitive spaces with Black staff and students to feel some sense of safety and freedom away from a white listening subject. Stakeholders must consider how to support Black students and teachers to continue to co-construct Black-only spaces for their own well-being and establish environments in which these spaces are less necessary.