"I'm Khmer and I'm not a gangster!": The problematization of Cambodian male youth in US schools

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Abstract

In response to a literature that has paid limited attention to the complex representations of Cambodian students, this article investigated the ways in which Cambodian male youth were problematized in school through Discourses that presented them as apathetic students and/or gang members at one California high school. In this study, the ways in which race, gender, and class collided in the school experiences of Cambodian boys manifested themselves in troubling representations that deflected attention away from the school's failure to teach these young men. For these negative representations to work, it was necessary to position Cambodian boys in contrast to more positive depictions of other students' racial (whites and "East Asians"), class (non-"ghetto"), and gender (good Cambodian girls) categories. Overall, this study contributes an important dimension for understanding the education of Asian American urban male students, particularly Cambodian youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-250
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014

Keywords

  • Asian American education
  • Cambodian students
  • critical discourse analysis
  • urban male youth

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