I am very excited to have received Dr. Marnie Curry’s just-published book titled, “Authentic Cariño: Transformative Schooling for Latinx Youth (Teachers College Press, 2021)." It arrived just in time for my birthday which is today, December 28th! For ease, I provide the abstract, book features, and reviews below.
Authentic Cariño provides the much-needed counterstory to an otherwise pervasive trend in public education of subtracting resources from our youth as a manifestation of inauthentic, deficit-oriented, superficial caring, or cariño.
University of California Santa Cruz research professor, Marnie Curry, demonstrates, through this rich, ethnographic account of Molina High School (pseudonym) just how possible it is for an entire school serving Latina and Latino youth to be additive, instead of subtractive, caring for students in ways that resonate culturally, enhancing their lives, well-being, and prospects for the future.Thank you, Dr. Curry, for asking me to write the book's Foreword, honoring my own ethnography of a Houston, Texas high school named Seguin (pseudonym), namely, Subtractive Schooling: U.S.-Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring.
My plans for my college classroom is to teach these texts side-by-side and hope others will consider doing so, as well, with the idea of conveying the breadth of policy and practice options, as well as ethical choices, that school officials and practitioners make in the context of teaching our nation's culturally and racially diverse student body.In this vein, a third book to consider is Drs. Lesley Bartlett and Ofelia García's ethnographic account from a New York school titled, Additive Schooling in Subtractive Times: Bilingual Education and Dominican Immigrant Youth in the HeightsNashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2011). This text provides a much-needed focus on an immigrant community's empowerment.
What these three texts share is that they are also critical institutional ethnographies that examine how schools interface with their respective communities. There may be other such educational ethnographies about which I am unaware. This is what readily came to mind.
Not unlike Subtractive Schooling, Authentic Cariño is translatable to other diverse contexts comprised of youth whose cultures, languages, and community-based identities are not only different, but also deemed as insufficiently worthy as the basis for a relevant and meaningful curriculum or pedagogy that successfully averts, what I term, "subtractive cultural assimilation."
As Curry's ethnography, in particular, suggests, it doesn't have to be this way. It doesn't have to be this way at all. Quite the opposite, as the contours, dimensions, and manifestations of authentic cariño are vast. Let me count the ways...
Congratulations to Dr. Curry for her meticulous, inspiring ethnography of an outstanding high school that encourages a powerful vision and a path forward for U.S. public education.