Statement on Racial and Social Injustice

    As an organization of teachers committed to the celebration of diversity, inclusion, equity and intercultural exchange, we are horrified by the unjust murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many other Black individuals. Becoming an ESOL teacher means a lifelong commitment to anti-discrimination and the empowerment of our students, many of whom belong to ethnic groups who continually face racism and social injustice. Additionally, our faculty colleagues of color face “otherness” and racialization as part of systemic racism. We are at a time of critical action which demands that we reflect on our role as educators in perpetuating the structures of racism and white supremacy in our schools, classrooms, and communities. As teachers of English, a language rooted in a white European nation, we must critically examine the construct of whiteness in order to identify and deconstruct the culturally chauvinistic norms that accompany this language for both our students and ourselves.


    CATESOL stands against racism in every manifestation. Specifically, we stand together with our Black sisters and brothers to condemn the acts of police brutality and white supremacy which have resulted in oppression and genocide of people of color, and we collectively raise our voices to demand justice and peace. Furthermore, we recognize our obligation to participate actively in the reconstruction of a society based on principles of equity and social justice. Our students and teachers hail from all corners of the globe, and they bring with them their own stories of racial injustice, discrimination, religious oppression, gender, language and class inequity, and political persecution. They come to the United States because this is supposed to be a country that is free from those horrors; instead, they must learn to navigate a new environment of oppression which they had hoped to leave behind in another land. As English Language Teachers, we are obligated to teach more than language; we must give our students the tools to engage in a multicultural social discourse and assertion of civil and human rights, noting that the pathway to that fluency cannot be separated from this nation’s history of oppression and inequity. We, as educators, need to impart this fluency, and before we can do that, we, ourselves, need to embody those principles.  

    Our goal is to teach language and promote intercultural exchange and respect; however, this is not enough when we unwittingly participate in a system perpetuating oppression through an emphasis on assimilation to the host culture which ends up rewarding students for conformity to white supremacist norms without appropriately interrogating the tensions that are created inside a multicultural environment (see Ladson-Billings and Tate, 1995). Anti-racism must be threaded throughout our curriculum, for it is the only path forward to ensure a future which ensures validation and legitimacy for our students. We call on every ESOL practitioner to commit to ending structural racism and crafting a sustainable future for our students and our colleagues.

    Towards this end, CATESOL pledges the following:

  • Curate resources for engaging in self-education for anti-racism
  • Develop resources for teachers to use in the classroom to further anti-racism education
  • Commit to diversifying the field of ESOL 
  • Invest in strategies to go beyond diversification by developing inclusive mindsets and practices so that diverse practitioners whose native language is not English feel legitimized, welcome and valued
  • Support the creation of safe spaces where students, staff, faculty, and administrators of color can feel a sense of belonging where they are heard, valued, and able to self-advocate

    CATESOL asks that all members actively contribute ideas, resources, and actions to hold us accountable in our commitment to inclusivity, anti-racism, and social justice. This organization is only as good as its members make it, and we rely on the strength of your voice and resolve.

Preliminary Bibliography for CATESOL Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Taskforce

Battista, L. T., & Wright, L. (2020). Overcoming implicit bias in collaborative online learning communities. In Enriching collaboration and communication in online learning communities (pp. 19-38). IGI Global.

Brownstein, M., Madva, A., & Gawronski, B. (2019). Understanding implicit bias: Putting the criticism into perspective. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.

Capeheart, L., & Milovanovic, D. (2020). Social justice: Theories, issues, and movements (Revised and Expanded Edition). Rutgers University Press.

Donnor, J. K. (2020). Understanding white racial sovereignty: doing research on race and inequality in the Trump era (and beyond). International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 33(2), 285-292.

Greenwald, A. G., & Lai, C. K. (2020). Implicit social cognition. Annual Review of Psychology, 71.

Holst, J. D. (2020). Toward a theory of race, change, and antiracist education. Adult Education Quarterly, 70(2), 175-192.

Marcucci, O. (2020). Implicit bias in the era of social desirability: Understanding antiblackness in rehabilitative and punitive school discipline. The Urban Review, 52(1), 47-74.

Migliarini, V., & Stinson, C. (2020). Inclusive education in the (new) era of anti-immigration policy: enacting equity for disabled English language learners. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 1-17.

Miller, K. K. (2019). The essence of awareness of implicit bias: A phenomenological case study of educators' stories of coming to the realization they possess implicit bias (Doctoral dissertation, Miami University).

Pailey, R. N. (2020). Decentering the ‘White gaze’ of development. Development and Change, 51(3), 729-745.

Palmer, D. L., & Witanapatirana, K. (2020). Exposing bias through a deficit thinking lens using content-analysis of macro level policies. Research in Educational Policy and Management, 2(1), 23-39.

Parker, L. (2019). Race is... race isn't: Critical race theory and qualitative studies in education. Routledge.

Rogers-Ard, R., Knaus, C., Bianco, M., Brandehoff, R., & Gist, C. D. (2019). The grow your own collective: A critical race movement to transform education. Teacher Education Quarterly, 46(1), 23.

Sukhera, J. (2019). Empathy and implicit bias: Can empathy training improve equity?. In Teaching empathy in healthcare (pp. 223-238). Springer, Cham.

Vuletich, H. A., & Payne, B. K. (2019). Stability and change in implicit bias. Psychological science, 30(6), 854-862.

Walton, S. (2020). Why the critical race theory concept of ‘White supremacy’ should not be dismissed by neo-Marxists: Lessons from contemporary Black radicalism. Power and Education, 12(1), 78-94.

Weddington, G. (2019). Political ontology and race research: A response to “Critical race theory, Afro-pessimism, and racial progress narratives”. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 5(2), 278-288.

Wilson, M. A. F., Yull, D. G., & Massey, S. G. (2020). Race and the politics of educational exclusion: explaining the persistence of disproportionate disciplinary practices in an urban school district. Race Ethnicity and Education, 23(1), 134-157.