Complicating Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: Unpacking African Immigrants' Cultural Identities

Keisha McIntosh Allen, Iesha Jackson, Michelle G. Knight


This study presents findings from a case study of 18 second- and 1.5-generation West African immigrants. We draw upon notions of elusive culture and indigenous knowledges to highlight participants’ complex cultural identities and respond to anti-immigration discourses through positioning West African immigrant students as assets in American classrooms.  We extend culturally relevant theory in order to reflect the heterogeneity of Black immigrant experiences in challenging simultaneously invisible and stereotypical views of African values, knowledges, and ideologies. We call for practitioners and researchers to attend to Black immigrant youth’s hybrid identities, indigenous knowledges, and enactments of cultural competence and socio-political consciousness within curriculum.


culturally responsive schooling, immigrants, identity

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