Interpreting Racial Formation and Multiculturalism in a High School: Towards a Constructive Deployment of Two Approaches to Critical Race Theory



Abstract:  This article interprets the shortcomings of a multicultural strategy aimed at undoing processes of racial formation in a diverse high school (Kaleido High School). To interpret racial formation in Kaleido High School, we looked to critical race theory, but we found two approaches: one emphasizes identity as interpellated, and the other as multiple, fluid, and mutable. Both approaches explain observations from the field. Consistent with Foucault, we consider both interpretations of race as different discourses, each intelligible in context-specific terms. Accordingly, we interweave these two approaches and empirics to indicate circumstances whereby each approach is sensible. We find that Foucault's “governmentality” helps reconcile what may otherwise appear as competing approaches. We conclude with a discussion of how a multicultural program might be instituted towards opening up spaces for transformational processes.