International Students and Experiences With Race in the United States

The institutes in the United States witness international admission every academic session. With the inclusion of distinct species of students of different caste, creed, and religion, there arises discrimination as well. Diversity and inclusion are faced by both domestic and international students. These international students are the main source of adding diversity to the overall American Higher Education arena. Many of the racist processes remain unheard of in the real world. This blog will look into the race navigation imposed on international students. Though the students might come from the same background and country, their dealing with the themes of racism, xenophobia, and prejudice is different. 

Nationality, Race, and Ethnicity in the United States

As per the U.S. Census Bureau, there is a total of five racial categories that reside in America.  These categories include White, Black or African-American, American-Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native-Hawaiian. In the distinct nationality and race within the U.S., the term ethnicity only refers to the people of Hispanic or Latino origin. While studying in American Universities, the international students are being sidelined and discriminated against on the basis of racial and ethnic classifications. The excess of discrimination leads to a state of utter alienation and distress among the students.

Effects of Race Identities and Discrimination

In a homogenous country consisting of distinct race identities, race is not a salient feature to mark the identification of the people. But, in a heterogeneous country like America, there is a clear-demarcation of students between ‘black or Asian’ or ‘Middle-Eastern or Latino.’ The international students feel amazed at the sight of such a practice as they’ve never come across it before. Race discrimination is based on physical appearance, which confuses the black international students from Africa and fellow countries as black Americans.   

A Survey Conducted in 2016 by World Education Services (WES) on international student experiences in the U.S. found that Sub-Saharan African and MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) students, followed by Chinese students, were the most likely to cite discrimination as a top challenge. In another survey, about 640 students agreed that Middle-eastern and African students reported the case of most discrimination both on and off the campus. They reported being ridiculed and laughed at for their accent and practices. 

Six Types of MicroAggressions Experienced by Asian International Students

Microaggressions are particular forms of prejudice and discrimination they faced. It is defined as “brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to people of color because they belong to a racial minority group.”

Excluded and Avoided

This microaggression arises the feeling of exclusion on the campus.

Ridiculed for Accent

This microaggression arises in the state of being teased by the accent, pronunciation, and language proficiency of the person.

Rendered Invisible

In this microaggression, the student faces an unwanted motive to attend the classroom. 

Disregarded international values and needs

This microaggression shows the insensitive attitude of white people towards other’s cultural perspectives and needs.

Ascription of intelligence

The racial and cultural stereotypes play an important role in ascribing the personal characteristics of an individual. 

Environmental microaggressions

This microaggression arises due to a lack of funding for the stay and the barriers to obtaining visas or permits. 

These microaggressions mark the complicated network of race, ethnicity, and nationality. There is a stereotype of being ‘Asian’ for the accent and their color. Especially Asian students face discrimination from black Americans for their way of speaking and living. Ritter’s study found that many East Asian international students carry mixed views of Asian Americans. They often view them as neither completely Asian nor completely American. Hence, their identification is in complexity.