Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Ian Barnard, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jan Osborn, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Lilia Monzó, Ph.D.


Discussions of race in the classroom have always been fraught. How do we broach such sensitive topics? How do we create an environment in which students feel both safe and comfortable discussing race on both a personal level and at a systemic scale? How does a student’s race factor into the conversation? And how does the instructor’s race factor in as well, or in conjunction with a student’s racial identity? As a Latina educator of color, I designed a research study which examined the impact my own race and ethnicity held in the classroom, and additionally how intersecting factors such as class and gender contribute to classroom dynamics. In this study, students were given surveys which gauged their interest and comfort level in discussing race and their own racial identities. Reflections based on readings in the class, which tackle race dynamics within the Black Lives Matter movement and border crossings, were utilized to examine students’ engagement with discussing race and their willingness to engage with their own racial identities as an audience. This study focused on three students of different racial backgrounds– a self-identified male white student, a self-identified male student of color that is not Latinx, and a self-identified female Latina student of color. This study examined the impact a student’s race and ethnicity had on their level of comfort and engagement with discussing race and ethnicity in the classroom, and furthermore, how having a nonwhite Latina professor affected these students’ engagements specifically.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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