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This article uses Critical Race Theory methodologies, such as autobiographical narratives, and analytical approaches, such as critical pedagogy. Using personal narrative, this Article examines the various masks ("mascaras") used to control how people respond to us and the important role such masks play in the subordination of Outsiders. The first part of the Article tells stories; the second part of the Article unbraids the stories to reveal an imbedded message: that Outsider storytelling is a discursive technique for resisting cultural and linguistic domination through personal and collective redefinition. The Article explores how transculturation creates new options for expression, personal identity, cultural authenticity and pedagogical innovation. This Article has as its characteristic motif the braiding together of the personal with the academic voice, legal scholarship with scholarship from other disciplines, narrative with expository prose and poetry, and English with Spanish. Though untidy ("grenas"), these linguistic and conceptual braids ("trenzas") challenge conventional paradigms within the legal academy and subvert the dominant discourse.

Publication Title

Harvard Journal of Law and Gender



First Page



Critical Race Theory, Voice, Legal Scholarship, Storytelling, Latina, Biography, Masks, Masking, Voice, Silence, Authentic Self, Legal Pedagogy


Also published: 15 CHICANO- LATINO L.REV. 1 (1994)



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