Historical, socially constructed notions of Black and Latino masculinity, mis/labeled behavior, punitive policies (e.g., suspension) and practices (e.g., school-imposed labeling) lead to disproportionate rates of dropout in urban US schools, continued involvement in the criminal legal system, and a limited participation
in society. This article argues that school-imposed labeling—affixing a category or descriptor on a student to signal a shorthand message to others about a student’s academic ability and behavior—is symbolically violent (Bourdieu). By examining unofficial labels, punitive structures, and teacher perceptions of labeled students, I explored school-imposed labeling as a form of “normalized” practice
that impacts Black and Latino males who attend an urban charter school with a “no excuses” orientation.