Racializing the Nonnative English Speaker

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This article identifies some discursive processes by which White, middle-class, native-English-speaking, U.S.-born college students draw on a monolingualist ideology and position themselves and others within a language-race-nationality matrix. These processes construct the speakers' Whiteness and nativeness in English as unmarked and normal; mark nonnative speakers of English as non-White and foreign; and naturalize connections between language, national origin, and race. I argue that dominant ways of talking about race in the United States persist as templates for creating arguments about language. Ideological models are projected onto each other, recursively reproducing a hierarchical social order in which U.S.-born citizens, native English speakers, and Caucasians retain a privilege widely perceived to be a natural outcome of certain characteristics thought to be intrinsic to American-ness, nativeness (in English), or Whiteness.