August Smith, Week 10, Community Cultural Wealth

Y’all might need to take my cool-cat-education-researcher card for today’s take. But I have never been a big fan of the theory of community cultural wealth. I know all the CRT education people love it, but there is something about it that doesn’t sit right with me. Let me explain…

Capital only happens when someone starts to accumulate more resources than they actually need. The only way to get capital is through exploitation of others and exploitation of the planet. In my mind, capital is always going to be a bad thing. Capital is what you can extract from workers and the planet and hoard for yourself, to no end other than looking at your money or making more money. So this is how I read Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital. As I understand Bourdieu, the theory of cultural capital was meant to be a critique/analysis of capitalism. Cultural capital is a unique feature of the bourgeoisie, it is not a good thing that we should be striving to give to everyone or mimic or replicate. It is something to be abolished, if possible. Class signaling through cultural capital is a means by which oppression operates.

Yosso briefly mentions the mis-readings of cultural capital theory. Basically, some liberals came along and mis-read what he was saying and interpreted it as saying that poor kids are deficient. Which, of course, meant that we have to fix the poor non-white children by giving them the cultural capital they need to succeed. But these efforts to provide students with cultural capital were misguided because they were rooted in a mis-understanding of what cultural capital is. So Yosso presents a new framework that highlights the strengths of students of color, but it does so by mimicking cultural capital. If you remember in my last paragraph, I claimed that cultural capital is not a good thing. So why would someone expand it to SIX KINDS OF CAPITAL and apply it to students of color, thus expanding it’s reach!? To me, the community cultural wealth theory/framework just allows (racial) capitalism to get off scott-free and further entrenches students of color in it’s bullshit. It seems to just want students of color to do better under capitalism, not to get rid this system that is partially causing their problems in the first place.

In my eyes, community cultural wealth is not a counternarrative to cultural capital, it is just including students of color in that same narrative.

Feel free to call me out if you feel like I am missing something or mis-representing something. I am open to learning to love community cultural wealth theory. But it has not captured me yet.

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