Document Type


Version Deposited

Published Version

Publication Date


Publication Title

Critical Inquiry in Language Studies




Following Boaventura de Sousa Santos, the authors of this article reject the type of “abyssal thinking” that erases the existence of counter-hegemonic knowledges and lifeways, adopting instead the “from the inside out” perspective that is required for thinking constructively about the language and education of racialized bilinguals. On the basis of deep personal experience and extensive field-work research, we challenge prevailing assumptions about language, bilingualism, and education that are based on raciolinguistic ideologies with roots in colonialism. Adopting a translanguaging perspective that rejects rigid colonial boundaries of named languages, we argue that racialized bilingual learners, like all students, draw from linguistic-semiotic, cultural, and historical repertoires. The decolonial approach that guides our work reveals these students making a world by means of cultural and linguistic practices derived from their own knowledge systems. We propose that in order to attain justice and success, a decolonial education must center non-hegemonic modes of “otherwise thinking” by attending to racialized bilinguals’ knowledges and abilities that have always existed yet have continually been distorted and erased through abyssal thinking.


© 2021 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (