Above The Well: An Antiracist Argument From a Boy of Color

  • multi-voiced, biography, autoethnography, reform, antiracism, social change, racism, Linguistics, Race, Pedagogy, Social Justice

By Asao B. Inoue
Copy edited by Karen P. Peirce. Designed by Mike Palmquist.

CoverIn 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.

Contribute to the Asao and Kelly Inoue Antiracist Teaching Endowment. This book is available for free viewing or download in open-access format. It is also available in print. All proceeds generated by the Clearinghouse and all author royalties from sales of the print edition of this book are being donated to an endowed fund supporting antiracist teaching and social justice in secondary and postsecondary education. To learn more about the Asao and Kelly Inoue Antiracist Teaching Endowment, visit the giving page at Oregon State University and enter "Asao & Kelly Inoue Antiracist Teaching Endowment Fund" in the I Want to Give to form. You can learn more about the endowment at the author's website (www.asaobinoue.com).

To support the Antiracist Teaching Endowment, you can donate directly or you can purchase a print copy on the University Press of Colorado website or at any online or brick-and-mortar bookstore.

Table of Contents

Open the entire book:     In PDF Format PDF Format     In ePub Format ePub Format

Front Matter

Antiracist Endowment



An Introduction

Chapter 0. Language, Politics, and Habits

Chapter 1. Literacy is (Not) Liberation

Chapter 2. The Yin-Yang of Literacy

Chapter 3. Racializing Language and Standards

Chapter 4. Race-Judgements and the Tacit Language War

Chapter 5. The While Language Supremacy in Judgements of Intelligence and Standards

Chapter 6. The Economics of Racism

Chapter 7. A languageling of Color

Chapter 8. Unsustainable Whiteness

Chapter 9. Naming

Chapter 10. Ain’t No Horatio Alger Story

Chapter 11. Another Ending, Or Let Me Say This Another Way

Appendix. An Argument and Method for Deep Attentive Reading

About the Author

Asao B. Inoue is Professor of Rhetoric and Composition in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at Arizona State University. His research focuses on antiracist and social justice theory and practices in writing assessments. He is the 2019 Chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, and he has been a past member of the CCCC Executive Committee and the Executive Board of the Council of Writing Program Administrators. Among his many articles and chapters on writing assessment, race, and racism, his article, “Theorizing Failure in U.S. Writing Assessments,” in Research in the Teaching of English won the 2014 CWPA Outstanding Scholarship Award. His co-edited collection, Race and Writing Assessment (2012), won the 2014 NCTE/CCCC Outstanding Book Award for an edited collection. His book, Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing for a Socially Just Future (2015), won the 2017 NCTE/CCCC Outstanding Book Award for a monograph and the 2015 CWPA Outstanding Book Award. He also has published a co-edited collection, Writing Assessment, Social Justice, and The Advancement of Opportunity (2018), and Labor-Based Grading Contracts: Building Equity and Inclusion in the Compassionate Writing Classroom (2019). In 2021, he is publishing a serialized blogbook on his website (www.asaobinoue.com), What It Means To Be An Antiracist Teacher: Cultivating Antiracist Orientations in The Literacy Classroom.

Publication Information: Inoue, Asao B. (2021). Above The Well: An Antiracist Argument From a Boy of Color. The WAC Clearinghouse; Utah State University Press. https://doi.org/10.37514/PER-B.2021.1244

Print Publication Date: July 9, 2021
Web Publication Date: May 16, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64215-124-4 (PDF) | 978-1-64215-125-1 (ePub) | 978-1-64642-224-1 (pbk.) 978-1-64642-237-1 (ebook)
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2021.1244

Contact Information:
Asao B. Inoue: asao@asu.edu


Review by Andrea Lunsford, Macmillan Learning, September 30, 2021.

Perspectives on Writing

Series Editors: Rich Rice, Texas Tech University; Heather MacNeill Falconer, University of Maine; and J. Michael Rifenburg, University of North Georgia

Acrobat Reader DownloadThis book is available in whole and in part in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF). It is also available in a low-cost print edition from our publishing partner, the University Press of Colorado.

Copyright © 2021 Asao B. Inoue. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License. 278 pages, with notes and bibliographies. Above the Well is available in digital format for no charge on this page at the WAC Clearinghouse. It is also available in print from University Press of Colorado as well as from any online or brick-and-mortar bookstore. All proceeds from sales of the print edition will be donated to the Asao and Kelly Inoue Antiracist Teaching Endowment. You may view this book on this website. You may print personal copies of this book. You may link to this page. You may not reproduce this book on another website.