From "Spanish choices" to Latina/o voices: Interrogating technologies of language, race, and identity in a self-serving American moment

Ramón Solórzano Jr., University of Massachusetts - Amherst


This study examines the embeddedness of Spanish delivering technologies in networks constructing Latina/o linguistic and racial identity. It assesses potential impacts of technology on linguistic diversity, cultural continuity, and racial divides in the post 9-11 American context. Applying autoethnographic, multi-sited methodology, it critically examines discourses generated at (a) the SpeechTek tradeshow, and (b) three non-profit agencies in Holyoke, MA. Drawing data from participant-observation and structured interviews, it found residents of racially and linguistically endangered Holyoke had diminished access to these technologies, and they employed innovative cultural logic to reconstruct them as English language learning tools by opting instead for English. Implicated in white technological space, middle-class Spanish application producers attempted cultural brokerage. The study posits Spanish options as a contested digital borderlands, contact zone, dialogue, and cyborg technoscientific landscape where rhetorics of power pit Anglo-European universalist genres of language, race, and technology against hybrid voices of excluded populations of color.