The praxis of ethnic studies: transforming second sight into critical consciousness

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37 Scopus citations


This article focuses on a youth participatory action research (YPAR) program called the Social Justice Education Project (SJEP) that fostered young people of color’s critical consciousness. Their critical consciousness emerged through praxis (reflection/action) while focusing on preserving ethnic studies in Tucson, Arizona. Because the SJEP home was in ethnic studies, the youth also struggled to keep their program alive. The Arizona Department of Education claimed the program bred ‘radicals’ who wanted to overthrow the government and therefore lobbied the state legislature to ban K-12 ethnic studies in public schools. In January 2012, the ban went into effect, shutting down ethnic studies classes as well as the SJEP. Young people’s qualitative research on their struggle led to action to save the education that gave them hope for a more equitable and just world. The article addresses the praxis of YPAR, which sparks a thought process leading to the drive to take action. Observing and documenting educational injustices inspire the need to seek radical change of Self and schools. Through the reflection and action facilitated by YPAR, young people of color construct a message about the importance of ethnic studies for individual as well as social transformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-251
Number of pages19
JournalRace Ethnicity and Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 3 2016


  • Social Justice Education Project (SJEP)
  • Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR)
  • critical consciousness
  • ethnic studies
  • praxis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education


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