Publication Date

2000

Abstract

When international students experience racism in their adjustment to U.S. culture, it is often difficult for the foreign student advisor to provide an effective response to the student's request for assistance. While the advisor may have a good knowledge of intercultural issues gained from personal experience, academic study and the professional development programs of organizations like NAFSA: Association of International Educators, few resources exist to educate advisors about assisting international students with racism. To begin building a training unit for advisors about racism, four aspects of advisor awareness of racism are examined in the study: the kinds of awareness advisors bring to their professional lives, the role of the advisor's identity in developing awareness, the changes in awareness over the course of an advising career and the accuracy of advisor awareness of racism as verified by a survey on international student experiences with racism. The resulting ethnography of advisor awareness of racism reveals that advisors fall along a continuum of developing awareness that progresses from failure to acknowledge racism as a factor in international student experiences to service as an effective ally for international students who experience racism. The analysis of advisor development of awareness focuses on the importance of identity awareness (particularly white identity awareness), of the experience of the power dimensions of racism, and of understanding how international students truly experience racism in U.S. culture. The portrait of advisor and international student experiences generated by the study is used to adapt Paul Kivel's model of "white ally behavior" into a model for advisor ally behavior and to make recommendations for components for a training program for advisors on responding to international student experiences of racism.

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