Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in Critical Inquiry in Language Studies 17:2 (2020), pp 121–142.



Copyright © 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Used by permission


Increased mobility due to globalization and other geopolitical shifts has changed school demographics worldwide. In the Midwest, much of this new immigrant population is Spanishspeaking and in need of language support. Consequently, schools play an important role in responding to the New Latino Diaspora. In this paper, we describe how unconscious language ideologies inhibited social change that could improve conditions for new student populations in two non-urban high schools in Nebraska (Stockbridge and Springvale, pseudonyms). This critical discourse analysis draws on ethnographic data from a larger study, including participant observations and semi-structured interviews. Findings reveal language ideologies that use language to mask issues of race/ethnicity that represent a positive “us” and negative “them.” We conclude by suggesting ways in which schools can take responsibility for developing the linguistic and cultural practices and ways of knowing unique to new student populations, rather than using language as an excuse for continued inequity.