Challenging Traditional Theories of Cultural Capital

As I reviewed numerous scholarly readings this week, the article Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth, stood out to me. This piece by Tara J. Yosso was very powerful as it focused on critical race theory (CRT). According to Yosso (2005), “This article conceptualizes community cultural wealth as a critical race theory (CRT) challenge to traditional interpretations of cultural capital” (p.69). The author came across strong in her challenges to previous research in her area of focus and with the presentation of her own theory with the power of Communities of Color.  It was a very telling article that discusses racism and its role in the Unites States educational system, and the how cultural capital is truly an asset for students of minority backgrounds in the U.S. that continues to be overlooked.

Being a Hispanic male who was raised in the United States, and an individual who has worked in the field of education, the analysis of CRT always seems to captivate my attention. As this article provided a variety of material to the reader, I found myself agreeing quite frequently with the authors points of contention and theory. One strong point that I can reflect on was Yosso’s statement that, the shifting of the research lens allows critical race scholars to ‘see’ various forms of capital within Communities of Color (Yosso, 2005). I agree that moving the lens in general can unmask a whole world of new ideas and results. In this case, Yosso presented her theory in five views that corroborate the experiences of people of color. I agree with her six themes and how they present challenges to previous research, by demonstrating Communities of Color as entities with various strengths by means of measuring atypical indicators and the role of racism in education. (Yosso, 2005) The article led me to look outside the box in terms of the approach that I my take moving forward in my own research agendas. Looking at research that is not afraid to push the envelope and propose new ideas is exciting to review, when it is supported and thorough.

I found Yosso’s article interested me not only because I agree with many of her positions of cultural wealth and the powerful role it can play for people in education, but also because her research opened my eyes to new ideas for my own research agenda. The approach to her research showed that it was ok to go against the grain and not be afraid to challenge the status quo. She was able to show the strides that were made in research before her time on the topic of cultural capital, but also highlighted the need for research and the position on cultural wealth to evolve. I loved the way the six tenets provide a helpful guiding lens that can inform research in Communities of Color. (Yosso, 2005)

Another reason the authors findings captured my attention was because I can see many of the members of my community of practice that I aspire to work with, as members of the Communities of Color mentioned. Because I anticipate working with similarly diverse communities being discussed in the article, the reading brought a personal connection to me. The article made me think more critically about the concept of CRT, community cultural wealth, and my own research moving forward. Reading this article allowed me to open my mind and see that although research may have been conducted in my area of inquiry, that there are always new theories and questions that can be asked.

I believe cultural capital is an essential component to the world of education and Tara Yosso presented one theory on how it can be measured that strayed from other researchers looking at CRT. Reading this piece was excellence for me, as it reminded me to be cognizant of looking at research from many angles, and recognize taking a different path then the norm is ok.


Yosso, T. J. (2005, March). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race Ethnicity and Education, 8(1), 69-91.

The following two tabs change content below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *