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Book cover for "Above the Well"
August 2021
WAC Clearinghouse and Utah State UP

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Above The Well

An Antiracist Argument From a Boy of Color
Asao B. Inoue

In "Above The Well," Asao Inoue explores race, language and literacy education through a combination of scholarship, personal history and even a bit of fiction. Inoue comes to terms with his own languaging practices in his upbringing and schooling, while also arguing that there are racist aspects to English language standards promoted in schools and civic life. His discussion includes the ways students and everyone in society are judged by and through tacit racialized languaging, which he labels white language supremacy and which he argues contributes to racialized violence in the world today. Inoue’s exploration ranges across a wide array of topics: his experiences as a child playing "Dungeons and Dragons" with his twin brother; considerations of Taoist and Western dialectical logics; the economics of race and place; tacit language race wars waged in classrooms with style guides like Strunk and White’s "The Elements of Style"; and the damage done by Horatio Alger narratives to people of color.


Asao B. Inoue is a professor of rhetoric and composition in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at Arizona State University.