Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Ethnic Studies

First Advisor

Joanne Belknap

Second Advisor

Catherine Altman

Third Advisor

Arturo Aldama

Fourth Advisor

Enrique Sepulveda


This study documents the experiences of racism and discrimination that college students, staff and faculty have experienced in their K-12 education. Even though there are questions to participants about other aspects of their life and experiencing racism, the central focus will remain on experiences during K-12 education. This research and partial replication builds on the study entitled Because I’m Light Skin . . . They Think I’m Italian: Mexican Students’ Experiences of Racialization in Predominantly White Schools by Dr. Edward Fergus. This study uses a phenomenological framework for analysis, which I will also use in my partial replication, because consistent with other qualitative scholars, I believe the lived experiences of students are as crucial as numerical data. Testimonials provide a far better way of addressing the dynamics of racism and colorism than simply numbers (used in quantitative research). This is the method as to how I will be gathering data. I refer to my honors thesis as a partial replication of Fergus’s study because unlike Fergus, my focus will be on Latinx[1] students staff, and faculty. The other factor that will be changed in the study is the number of participants. Fergus interviews six Mexican students whereas I will be interviewing 7 Latinx students, staff and faculty. My findings will be analyzed and compared to each of the other participants’ testimonies. I hope that this research brings inspiration to others and for society to understand what is existent in PWIs and PWCs.

[1] Latinx is a gender-neutral alternative for Latino and Latina. In culture, the term Latino has been used a plural masculinized way of addressing all Latinos and Latinas together. Many activists and scholars refer to all Latino and Latina as Latinx to be gender inclusive.