Council on Anthropology and Education
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
High school students from a predominantly Latino South Dallas neighborhood have increased opportunities to attend universities with the help of pre-college programs and community organizations. However, the day-to-day economic precarity that characterize many of these immigrant families, creates tensions among area youth looking to extend their academic careers. School work does not resemble the labor intensive jobs of their parents, and moving away to attend a university may also be seen as an attempt to abandon the responsibility one has with their family. Furthermore, the urban development projects targeting South Dallas have recast the population as both an integral work force for its construction and maintenance, and simultaneously as an obstacle to be displaced in favor of a more affluent resident. A college education is meant to minimize the negative effects of social inequality via increased political participation coupled with upward economic mobility. Drawing upon my fieldwork at a South Dallas community organization from 2018 to 2019, my work explores how a community organization promotes college education as a long-term strategy to combat economic and social inequality, and now also rapid urban development. The community organization at the center of my study promises youth a better future through academic achievement. Yet, the tensions from within the household and from outside force program participants into uneasy positions as they learn how long-term planning can have a greater impact on their precarity.