Academic journal article Journal of International Students

Negative Racial Encounters and Academic Outcomes of International and Domestic Students in Four Canadian Universities

Academic journal article Journal of International Students

Negative Racial Encounters and Academic Outcomes of International and Domestic Students in Four Canadian Universities

Article excerpt

While non-White immigrants to Australia, Canada, and the United States may face considerable difficulty in the labour market, research shows that their sons and daughters fare relatively well. Education has a large part to play in this outcome (Reitz, Zhang, & Hawkins, 2011). This being the case, it is important to examine factors-such as discrimination-that might affect students' educational experiences. Accordingly, the current article focuses on the on-and off-campus negative racial encounters experienced by domestic and international students studying in four Canadian universities and the effect these encounters have on first year grade point average (GPA) and program satisfaction.

Review of Literature

Research conducted in the United States has shown that different groups of domestic students experience varying levels of discrimination. For example, Asian and Black students have reported more discrimination than Whites (Pieterse & Carter, 2010). Latinos have reported more discrimination than Asians in several areas including treatment by professors, employers, colleagues and students, people in helping professions, and by individuals in a number of different institutions (Hwang & Goto, 2009). In a longitudinal study involving domestic students from 1994 to 2006, 39% of Black students reported experiencing discrimination on campus. The figures for other groups were lower: Native Indians (27%), Asian/Pacific Islanders (19%), Hispanics (19%), Whites (15%), and others (16%) (Miller & Sujitparapitaya, 2010).

In another study of domestic students, researchers found that in some sites relatively few domestic students experienced discrimination from members of a different race. For example, 93% reported no direct abuse from individuals of a different race while going to class; 96% had not heard abusive words from individuals of a different race in cars on campus; 93% indicated that they had never been pushed or shoved by members of a different race on campus; and 94% had not been the target of abusive words from an instructor of a different race. This said, smaller numbers reported never having experienced other difficulties. For example, only 73% mentioned that they had never had an instructor of a different race belittle their intelligence; only 68% reported that none of their instructors of a different race had been unfair in grading; and only 69% said that they had never heard a student of a different race utter a racist remark (Marcus et al., 2003).

Although specific groups of domestic university students, such as Blacks and Latinos, have experienced discrimination on American campuses, overall, international students have reported more discrimination than domestic students (Hanassab, 2006; Lee, 2007; Poyrazli & Lopez, 2007); however, like the experience of domestic students, that of international students has not been uniform. For example, students from Canada and Europe, who have considerable cultural affinity with their American peers, have reported less discrimination than those from other areas of the globe (Hanassab, 2006; Lee, 2007).

Further differentials can be made among international students from areas other than Canada and Europe. For example, Poyrazli and Lopez (2007) found that international students from Africa and the Middle East reported the greatest amount of discrimination. In another study, Hanassab (2006) examined potential discrimination in six areas. The greatest number of international students reporting discrimination in interactions with professors (21%) was from South East Asia. Students from Africa (17%) reported the greatest amount of discrimination in their interactions with university staff. International students from the Americas other than Canada (21%) were the most likely to report discrimination on the part of classmates. When it came to applying for campus jobs the greatest amount of discrimination was reported by students from Africa and the Middle East (17%). …

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