Inclusive education -- Cross-cultural studies, Portland State University -- Middle Eastern students -- Social aspects, United States -- Race relations, Race -- Classification, Ethnicity -- Oregon -- Classification, Race discrimination -- Effect on Middle Eastern students


The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of Arab and Arab-American students at Portland State University and in non-campus settings. The study focuses on the question: How do Arab and Arab-American students experience inclusivity and exclusivity on and off campus? The research sample includes five Portland State students, three Arab-Americans and two international Arabs. Students were chosen to include Muslims and Christians, students who wear the hijab, students with heavy accents, and students who fit the stereotypical appearance of Arabs, as well as students who may not be obviously identified as Arab. Subjects were asked about the personal experiences that formed their perception of belonging or othering in various settings. Themes of personal and institutional prejudice are explored. Four major themes emerged: (a) an overall sense of belonging on campus; (b) experiences of exclusion and stereotyping; (c) experiences of ignorance, racism, and prejudice, primarily in off-campus locations; and (d) strong disapproval of racial categorization of Arabs as “white” in campus census collection practices. This study demonstrates a commonality in experiences between Arab and Arab-American students and shows the need for further investigation of the racial categorization practices at Portland State University and other state and government organizations.

Note: This article, which was based on a class project rather than a research study, was not reviewed by the Portland State University Institutional Review Board.



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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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