This chapter, which looks at some of many tangled and layered connections between language and racism, begins with the introduction of “modern race, " by which researchers mean race and racism within the context of European modernity. Modern race takes form via colonialism and racial slavery, two structural processes animated by capitalism. Together, these structural processes serve as the cognates of what Barnor Hesse described as “racialized modernity” to name the ways in which modernity was always already a racial project. Much of the work of Indigenous approaches to language and racism has focused on the often taken for granted narratives about Native American and Indigenous peoples, especially as they are mediated by or channeled through ideologies about language. First introduced in Jane Hill’s research on Mock Spanish, mock language is the use of appropriated semiotic resources from languages or varieties associated with racialized populations to display covert racism through the reproduction of negative stereotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA New Companion to Linguistic Anthropology
EditorsAlessandro Duranti, Rachel George, Robin Conley Riner
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781119780830
ISBN (Print)9781119780656
StatePublished - Mar 21 2023

Publication series

NameWiley Blackwell Companions to Anthropology


  • European modernity
  • Mock Spanish
  • Native American peoples
  • indigenous approaches
  • mock language
  • racial slavery
  • racialized modernity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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