Gloria Velásquez’s Roosevelt High School series: towards quality multicultural literature through rainbow coalitions

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez

Abstract


The goal of this paper is to study several YA novels by Chicana writer Gloria Velásquez, the Roosevelt High School series (1994-2018), as an educating tool within the framework of multicultural education. The analysis takes into account Velásquez’s choice of problematic situations (related to racism, sexism, or homophobic harassment, among others) and the solutions her novels propose, which include both individual responses and community-organized measures. Special attention is given to the criticism according to which Velásquez’s Latinx and multi-ethnic characters are steeped in stereotypes, which would cancel the books’ potential capacity to inspire social change. In contrast with this negative vision, this paper proves that Velásquez’s series offers empowering role models for teen Latinxs of various ethnic backgrounds and effectively calls for the neutralization of race, class and gender stereotypes, thus contributing to the implementation of Jesse Jackson’s 1984 proposal that ethnic minorities should form a “rainbow coalition”.

Keywords


Young adult literatura; Gloria Velásquez; multicultural literatura; race; class and gender stereotypes; rainbow coalition

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18172/jes.4406

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