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LA RED Week: Maria Jimenez and Andrea Guajardo on Practical application of Critical Race Theory in Latina/o Responsive Evaluation

We are Dr. Maria Jimenez, Independent Evaluation Consultant in Los Angeles, CA, and Andrea Guajardo, MPH, Director of Community Health at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System in San Antonio, TX. As supporting members of the newly formed LA RED network, this post focused on the consideration of critical race theory as a practical application in Latino/a Responsive Evaluation.

Latino/a Responsive Evaluation often requires a participatory research approach, and in doing so, provides opportunity to conduct evaluations within the context of a critical framework. Cultural intuition is a valuable tool to mitigate race, ethnicity, and culture in community-based programs focused on Latino/a populations.

Hot Tip #1: Acknowledge issues of race/racism within the evaluation context.

Latinos are a heterogeneous group representing various genetic populations including indigenous African American, European, and American. Evaluators need to understand the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between these racial populations. Critical race theory as a methodological approach can be used to address issues of race in Latino/a Responsive Evaluation. Critical race theory places race at the forefront of research, use an interdisciplinary, participatory approach, and promotes a social justice agenda.

Hot Tip #2: Be aware of immigration and migration trends within the population of focus in the evaluation.

According to the 2012 Statistical Portrait of Hispanics in the United States from the Pew Research Center, 52.9 million people in the United States self-identified as either Hispanic or Hispanic and one other race. Of these, nearly 19 million are foreign-born with Mexico as the most common country of origin (64.2%).   Fifty-two percent of the Hispanic children in the United States are considered 2nd generation. Pew data also shows significant differences in language, news and information acquisition preferences, and political and cultural opinions based on the length of time a person has lived in the, whether a person is undocumented or is a first, second, or third generation American citizen.

Hot Tip #3: Diversify your evaluation team.

Build a transdisciplinary team with diverse sociological, historical, or practical perspectives. For example, team members with strong backgrounds in Urban Chicano studies will provide a different lens than that of a team member with experience rural Tejano culture. Acknowledge the intra-racial complexities of the Latino/a population and ensure that multiple viewpoints exist on your evaluation team. Additionally, ensure that members of your team various ethnic/racial backgrounds and/or have a solid understanding of the culture of the program, participants, or communities being studied.

Rad Resources:

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse Network Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Network members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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