chapter  9
26 Pages

The Diaspora Speaks Back: Youth of Migration Speaking Back to Discourses of Power and Empire

The manner in which immigrant youth were involved in contests and claims over belonging and identity was poignantly marked out for me by Samara, one of many vibrant 15-and 16-year-old students I met during my initial visits to a public high school in downtown Barcelona-one of the fi eld sites where I was conducting a yearlong ethnographic project on the politics of belonging and immigrant youth identities. Samara, confi dent and quick with her words, was a child of immigration growing up and going to school in one of Barcelona’s bustling immigrant neighborhoods. On the fi rst day that I met her, Samara was in a boisterous classroom with peers from as far away as Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Pakistan, Morocco, and China and as near as the southern regions of Spain. During that visit I took careful note of the fl uidity and multiplicity of youth immigrant identities represented within the classroom-the diversity of dress styles, linguistic registers, hues in skin tones, and performed ethnic identities.