Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2211-3770
  • E-ISSN: 2211-3789
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This article questions what happens to “safe space” in classrooms when students are marginalized by their social locations and identities. Based on three years of ethnographic research in a Northern California urban public high school, the author examines how language like “that’s so gay” and “that’s so ghetto” leaves distinct traces of gender, sexuality, race, and class meanings and relations. Drawing on students’ deployment of “that’s so gay” and “that’s so ghetto” in school contexts, this research demonstrates how these expressions marginalize the students that they target. Such speech acts interpellate students’ bodies and identities in an educational environment that strives toward constructing “safe” and “politically correct” space. Complicating the very possibility of such educational goals, this article highlights the violence of performative speech acts while closely examining the thin line between politically correct speech and hate speech, which may look different yet lead to similar results — the violence of silencing.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): education; ethnographic research; gay; ghetto; interpellation; race; sexuality
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