The Mañana Complex: A Revelatory Narrative of Teachers’ White Innocence and Racial Disgust Toward Mexican–American Children

  • Amanda R. Morales
  • Elvira J. AbricaEmail author
  • Socorro G. Herrera


This paper presents selected findings from an ethnographic case study of at a public junior high school. Analysis of White teachers’ discourse implicated a perspective of Mexican–American children that we describe as a mañana complex, a perceived association between Mexican–Americans and the term “mañana” (Spanish: “tomorrow”). We outline how this mañana complex among White teachers is indicative of historical racial tropes of Mexicans in the United States while also reflecting current anti-Mexican discourse emboldened and made more fervent by the current US presidential administration. Ultimately, the mañana complex is an example of both racial disgust toward Mexican–American children (Matias and Zembylas in Crit Stud Educ 55(3):319–337, 2014) and presumptions of White innocence and neutrality (Orozco in Crit Stud Educ 1–17, 2017. among White teachers. Such narratives have profound implications for the education of Mexican and non-White children in US schools that are herein discussed.


Mañana complex White innocence Racial tropes Teacher education Racial disgust Mexican–Americans 



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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher EducationUniversity of Nebraska–LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Educational AdministrationUniversity of Nebraska–LincolnLincolnUSA
  3. 3.Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Center for Intercultural and Multilingual Advocacy, College of EducationKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA

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