Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in The Urban Review (2019)

doi 10.1007/s11256-019-00499-1


Copyright © 2019 Springer Nature B.V. Used by permission.


This paper presents selected findings from an ethnographic case study of at a public junior high school. Analysis of White teachers’ discourse implicated a perspective of Mexican–American children that we describe as a mañana complex, a perceived association between Mexican–Americans and the term “mañana” (Spanish: “tomorrow”). We outline how this mañana complex among White teachers is indicative of historical racial tropes of Mexicans in the United States while also reflecting current anti-Mexican discourse emboldened and made more fervent by the current US presidential administration. Ultimately, the mañana complex is an example of both racial disgust toward Mexican–American children (Matias and Zembylas in Crit Stud Educ 55(3):319–337, 2014) and presumptions of White innocence and neutrality (Orozco in Crit Stud Educ, 2017. doi 10.1080/17508487.2017.1285335) among White teachers. Such narratives have profound implications for the education of Mexican and non-White children in US schools that are herein discussed.