I hold a Ph.D. in English from Purdue University. Race scholar/philosopher Leonard Harris and cultural/literary theorist Arkady Plotnitsky directed my dissertation, which I completed in absentia while working as an English teacher at Van Nuys High School in the LAUSD. I worked at VNHS for seven years.
I am a scholar and writer. However, I consider myself first and foremost a teacher. I take great pride in the fact that I have been a committed and effective teacher throughout my entire teaching career for middle and high school students, university students, and community college students. I take great pride in my ability to speak and teach in ways that reach a broad range of individuals–poor, urban kids of color; recent immigrants and English language learners; magnet and gifted students; scholars, social activists, and artists.
I am of Mexican, Italian, and American descent, and basically a product of Los Angeles. My identity and ancestry are alive and in motion. I value multiple identities and loose, strategic, and flexible connections to descent cultures. I also value the human bonds that I develop with family, friends, students, and strangers above any obligations that I may have to culture, race, class, creed, or nation. At present, I identify as mixed, multiracial, transnational, and human.
I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, and now have a nice life in the West San Fernando Valley with my beautiful and supportive wife, Marcy, and our daughter, Rachael. I am truly grateful to have a wife who makes it possible for me to be a stay-at-home-father, and to teach part time.
My scholarly publications include “Multiracial Identity in the Post-Civil Rights Era” (2005) in Social Identities, “Jean Toomer and Cane: Mixed-Blood Impossibilities” (2008) in Arizona Quarterly, and “Creating Multiracial Identities in the Work of Rebecca Walker and Kip Fulbeck: A Collective Critique of Liberal Multiculturalism” (2013) in the journal MELUS. In addition, Rudolph Byrd and Henry Louis Gates Jr. selected my Jean Toomer article for republication in the second Norton Critical Edition of Jean Toomer’s Cane (2011).
I am currently working on two books. One book is a cultural history of the US Multiracial Movement. The other book is my memoir, tentatively titled, Becoming LAtalianx.