Arab American Students

In the United States today, thoughts about war and terrorism are constantly present in our collective consciousness.  Information in the media about war and terrorism is generally paired with words like Arab, Muslim, and Islam.  Unsurprisingly, many people in the United States have negative feelings toward Arab people in general because of this.  The lack of accurate information and knowledge about Arabs and Arab Americans has led to numerous conflicts and hate crimes in this country.   Whether it’s an ethnic slur from a stranger or negative portrayals of countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine in the media, Arab Americans face xenophobia and stereotypes on a daily basis.  Students of Arab descent are often treated poorly by their non-Arab classmates and teachers and learn little about their own culture and history in public schools.  For those of us from different backgrounds, educating ourselves and our students about Arab countries and people is an important step towards making our country more inclusive and safe for Arab Americans.

Here are some resources on improving classroom environments for Arab American Students:

Arab American Students in American Public Schools
Arab Stereotypes and American Educators
Facts about Arabs--A Handout for Students
Preventing Youth Hate Crimes

After reading through these resources, consider the following:

  1. How does thinking about this topic make me feel?  What are my fears and concerns around talking with others about this topic?
  2. How is the commonly held belief that Arab countries and people belong to a monolithic culture (e.g. all Arabs are Muslims) damaging to Arabs and Arab Americans?  How is it damaging to those who hold this belief?
  3. What assumptions and stereotypes have I seen and heard about Arab Americans?  What can I do to challenge them?   
  4. Does my school incorporate education about Arab countries and Arabic culture into its curriculum?  If not, what can I do to change this?

Thank you for subscribing to our weekly discussion.  Please visit the Center for Culturally Responsive Education (CRUE) website at www.cruecenter.org for more information and resources on educational equity.

   

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