(Published February 23, 2011)
This is an essay written by me, a first year-college student, Ericka, and me, as professor, Carmen, in a first semester college composition class. The theme for the course was “Community Cultural Wealth and the Written Word,” with community cultural wealth serving as a link to work in educational studies related to Critical Race Theory (CRT). In CRT in educational studies, a central argument is that all discourses, activities, placements, and assignments related to schooling as an institution are inherently racialized constructs. Community cultural wealth is a notion that asserts that communities of color have forms of cultural capital that have been calculatingly and consciously discarded in order to racialize school and its processes as white. The goal of this composition class, then, was to (re)read others’ narratives and (re)write one’s own narrative with an eye toward recovering those forms of cultural capital that can turn the hegemonic whiteness of schooling on its head. One such assignment in this course was to write a collaborative narrative with a partner from the class whose capital you felt you shared: the goal of the assignment was simply to respond to any two texts read in the course of the semester together by analyzing the forms of cultural capital presented and collaboratively locate contemporary and popular connections. Ericka chose Carmen.