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International students and racism
Since childhood, it has always been my dream to study in one of the best universities in the
United States. This dream came to pass, and I managed to secure a place in one of the top-flight
universities in this foreign country. However, racial experiences have pissed me off as I have
happened to be a victim not once, but several times. I remember in one of the courses I had, the
professor would pretend to comprehend the presentations that I made. To my utter surprise, the
grades in the course were much below than the ones obtained in other lectures. This prompted me
to reach out to the professor to find out what could have gone wrong. The professor, who seemed
unbothered, said that I would have got high marks if I spoke like a certain white student while
doing the presentation, which is impossible because English is not my first language and I just
started learning English 3 years ago. I have also been subjected to racial sentiments in various
places around the institution including the gym. As I walk around, I do not know what is about to
happen next especially when I meet people from other dominant racial groups in the US.
Racism can be defined as antagonism, discrimination and prejudice that an individual can
be subjected because of race. Racism comes in as a result of the belief that one race is more superior
to the other. It is simply discrimination based on color. Over the last few years, the number of
international students has escalated. Many students are living in foreign countries where culture,
religion and people's way of life there is completely different from theirs. Also, they happen to
study in countries with a different race and are expected to adapt in a very new environmental
setting (Ingram and Wallace 2018). However, the journey for these students has not been an easy
one as most of them have testified to been racially abused. The impact of racial discrimination
cannot be underrated as it creates division and fear among the minority university students. It also
interferes with the general wellbeing of the victim.
Racism hurts international students who experience fear and at times subjected to violence.
Ignorance is one of the major factors contributing to racism. Those people who still condone racist
practices are ignorant that the individual will be harmed psychologically and in other cases,
physically. People must be made to know that racism is a barbaric act that has no place in the 21st
century and that no race is superior to the other.
The group most affected, in this case, is the international students or students studying
abroad. Several factors are contributing to racism, the first one is negative stereotypes that a certain
race is much better and superior to the other. The second one is ignorance. Ignorance is a situation
where individuals who practice racism fail to understand the negative consequences it has on the
victims both physically and psychologically. The thirds one is racial bias in institutions of higher
learning steered by lecturers and other school leaders.
There are several incidences of racism against international students to support this
argument. Here are some of the examples; One specific example of racial abuse by a Bangladeshi
student who testified; “There was this group of boys outside of the pub, about 25 boys wearing
sporty clothes. They started shouting ‘go away’. They had bottles. They said ‘al-Qaida’ two or
three times. I was nervous because my wife was with me. I thought they might have got vicious
and push and shove”. (Brown and Jones).
Also, a Japanese student narrated: "I was walking back home when it was starting to get
dark. I heard some swearing and shouting and then at the same time I was hit by something. Then
this car passed and someone thrower something from the car. It was a hard object, really hard. In
another case, people were shouting ‘go back home’; horrible word violence” (Brown and Jones).
Another case was according to nacada website “Students’ examples of discriminatory acts include
comments like: “Latinos cannot be logical or scientific. [The professor] had little regards for
different academic trainings, cultures, and ways of thinking;” “A White guy (staff) was laughing
at my name and making fun of it in public;” ”I get very frustrated if a professor ignores me because
my English is not as good compared to a native speaker…such times, I feel I’m stupid” ( Chow).
Not once I have also experienced verbal abuse. I remember in one case when an elderly
woman verbally abused me racially, telling me to go back to my country and that I was in the
wrong place. Another guy came to me nicely In downtown Warrensburg in one of the bars and
asked for my name and where I came from, I thought he was nice and just wanted to talk and make
friends until he surprise me by saying “don’t sit here like that or everyone will think that you have
a bomb” These are just a few horrible experiences that have at a point negatively affected my
psychological wellbeing. Deep thoughts, lowered self-esteem, depression, fear of the unknown are
just a few things that I have undergone in my stay here.
There are a lot of negative effects related to racism. Psychological effects cannot be
assumed here. Racism is a problem that existed many centuries ago and continues to thrive even
in this digital and civilized era. It causes psychological harm thus leading to psychological issues
such as mental disorder and stress. Some victims have even contemplated suicide (Bryce Loo)
The physical effects are also evident as some students have witnessed physical assault
leaving them nurse injuries. Some of these physical attacks have resulted in deaths. The fear
connected to racism is great especially when one is a victim. In most cases, one always fears
because it at any time or place that the unexpected can happen. Racial discrimination when it
comes to international students has created ethnic disparities and access to resources is
discriminatory putting the victims at low socioeconomic status (Jakubowicz and Monani). This
discrimination has spread to major organizations where employment is done on racial bases.
In addition, there have been refutation claims against racism. An article dubbed racism is
not the issue posted on the New York Times refuted claims that racism is no longer a problem. It
author Orlando Patterson further asserted that the relationship between the whites and other
minority groups has improved significantly and that racial discrimination is on its deathbed.
However, this argument is invalid and inaccurate since that is not the reality on the ground. The
United States is still experiencing racial discrimination where gun violence against the minority
has been witnessed in recent years. The problem is still here with us and no lasting solution has
been achieved so far.
Having international student in the university can be very beneficial for the university and
for the community around it in so many ways. For example, bringing new cultures to the country,
bringing new ideas that can be invested in the interest of the country. According to the nacada
website “We should recognize that having international students on our campus is a unique
privilege. They bring cultural diversity and perspectives from which we can all benefit. But the
issue of racism definitely reaches further than just misunderstandings between domestic and
international students. It’s something we need to actively address so that we can eventually benefit
from stimulating cross-cultural interactions between domestic and international students.” (Chow)
Here have been several organizations and individuals in support of minority groups and
are against racism. The first one is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)-is an organization
that has been at the forefront to fight for the rights of the minority. For over a decade now in
operation, the organization has done tremendous effort in fighting racial discrimination. It defends
the rights of the minority groups as dictated in the constitution.
The second one includes individual efforts of people like Ceaser Chavez, maria Hernandez, and
martin Luther will forever be remembered since they laid foundations to fight racial discrimination
in the united states.
Also, companies such as Google and Facebook have done notable work in coming up with
models that help dictate the employee hiring criteria that are based on talent and innovation thus
eliminating hiring individuals on a racial basis.
Change begins at an individual level. The research is meant to bring a positive impact as
far as the racial discrimination issue is concerned. Any reader who comes across the material
should treat other people fairly since the color is not a limit (Harper & Davis III, 2016). Besides,
individuals should learn to treat other people the way they would like to be treated. “All
members of institutions should be made aware of the added challenges that international students
face as well as institutions’ responsibilities in creating a welcoming climate for all students,
especially international students.” (Lee 3) and that can be by having friendship family’s
programs or another program to pair internationals students with domestic students. That will
make international students cope easier and faster.
In conclusion, Racial discrimination has become prevalent especially among international
students who for a very long time been subjected to such discrimination. The act may seem simple,
but consequences attached are a concern. The psychological and physical impact associated results
in mental disorders, suicide and suicide in extreme circumstances. Individuals within the society
should be taught in embracing each other irrespective of color or race.
Brown, L., & Jones, I. (2013). Encounters with racism and the international student
experience. Studies in Higher Education, 38(7), 1004-1019.
Bryce Loo. “International students and experiences with Race in the United States” Civil Studies:
Journal of Health Disparities Research & Practice, vol. 12, no.12019, pp. 1-10
Harper, S. R., & Davis III, C. H. (2016). Eight actions to reduce racism in college
classrooms. Academe, 102(6), 30-34.
Ingram, L., & Wallace, B. (2018). “It Creates Fear and Divides Us:” Minority College Students’
Experiences of Stress from Racism, Coping Responses, and Recommendations for
Colleges. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, 12(1), 6.
Jakubowicz, A., & Monani, D. (2015). Mapping progress: Human rights and international students
in Australia. Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 7(3), 61-80.