White Innocence and Mexican Americans as Perpetrators in the School-to-Prison Pipeline

  • Richard Orozco


This essay discusses white innocence as a mechanism that may contribute to perceptions of Mexican Americans as perpetrators. These perceptions are crucial to ways teachers and administrators respond to student actions as the initial steps in the school-to-prison pipeline. Specifically, this work reviews the rhetoric of white innocence in a high school U.S. History curriculum map and outlines how this rhetoric constructs Mexican Americans, and other people of color, as threats or perpetrators to the innocence of whiteness. The consequence of perceiving Mexican Americans as perpetrators may mediate teacher and administrator reactions to student behaviors and ultimately to initiation of the school-to-prison pipeline.