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Title:An explanatory sequential mixed methods study of engaging racism in the U.S.: Demystifying racialization of domestic and international students of color
Author(s):Yeo, HyeJin Tina
Director of Research:Trent, William T.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Trent, William T.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Cromley, Jennifer; Mendenhall, Ruby; Hood, Denice Ward; Shim, Woo-jeong
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Critical Race Theory
EYES theory
Higher education
International students
Looking Glass-Self theory
Mixed methods research
Racial campus climate
Racial identity
Racial microaggressions (RMAs)
Students of color
Abstract:In research and practice, international students are a population that is generally seen as a viable source of financial revenue for campuses, yet their racial diversity and experiences are remarkably invisible. However, international students of color (SOC) from countries that are NOT predominantly White, Eurocentric, and English-speaking are increasingly reporting racial bias and discrimination due to differentiated socialization practices within the U.S. racialized campus climate. Employing explanatory sequential mixed methods, my dissertation aims 1) to test the feasibility of the existing scales used to measure campus climates and racial microaggressions (RMAs) with international SOC by using Exploratory Factor Analysis, 2) to explore the process of how domestic and international SOC understand the meanings of race and the ways race structures U.S. society, and 3) to conceptualize their process of othering (racialization) on a U.S. campus. Survey and interview methods provide supporting empirical evidence of the RMAs that international SOC encounter, enabling an in-depth understanding of international students’ cognitive processes and overlooked real-life stories that internalize race and racialization. Furthermore, the survey and interview data provide evidence for challenging the dominant pervasive perspectives on international students’ racial experiences that regard U.S. racism as only impacting domestic SOC and that depict international students as a monolithic entity and global commodity. A novel contribution of this study is testing the utility of the Cultural Attitudes and Climate Questionnaire (CACQ) and the Revised 28-item Racial and Ethnic Microaggressions Scale (R28REMS) for measuring international students’ experiences. These two scales are mainly targeted at domestic SOC and are not widely used to measure international students’ racial experiences on campus. The participating international students understood the linguistic meanings of the items in the CACQ and the R28REMS but showed little sensitivity in accounting for racial terms and racist contexts. The findings indicate that data should be segregated by citizenship or nationality when measuring campus climates and the racial experience of international students in research and practice. Above all, there is a need to develop a customized instrument to accurately measure international students’ perceptions and experiences of race and racism, which were developed in their home country’s contexts and are reshaping or transforming in the US context. The international students strongly advocated individualism and the ideology of meritocracy and color-evasiveness. The racism and racial microaggressions they experienced based on their phenotypical characteristics and English accents were considered inevitable incidents that occurred due to their inability to communicate in an Americanized way. Without a connection to the history of oppression and racism and the social structure of power in the U.S., international students’ understanding of racism remains at a superficial level based on their home countries’ notions and values. Therefore, international SOC are rarely included in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) discourse on race in U.S. higher education. The validated theoretical framework in this study, the EYES theory, challenges Euro/Anglocentric racial framing and provides a new perspective to assess inequitable practice and policy for the underrepresented and marginalized international students in U.S. higher education. The EYES theory will serve as a significant tool for explaining how U.S. racism and social factors tie to the racialization and racial identity formation/development of international SOC. In this theory, the term “eyes” posits as a metaphor for the processes of racialization and racial identity development of international students. Indeed, the findings provide evidence of how the U.S. racist framing projects onto international SOC based on their phenotypical characteristics and English accent and of how the educational practices and college cultures for diversity are inequitable toward international SOC. This study demonstrates the need to reject racially and culturally blinded policies and practices for international students and the internationalization of U.S. higher education. I argue that it is critical to account for international students’ socio-cultural competence regarding race, as well as the intersection of their identity, when addressing campus climates and the racial experiences on campus. This study contributes to expanding the methodological and theoretical utility in the literature on race, racism, and experiences of racial microaggressions via the heretofore understudied stories of international students in U.S. higher education.
Issue Date:2020-11-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 HyeJin Tina Yeo
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-03-05
Date Deposited:2020-12

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