DISSERTATION PROPOSAL ANNOUNCEMENT Ed.D. Program Henna Tailor: “An Inquiry into South Asian American High School Student Discourses”
Varying racialized discourses associated with the homogenized Asian American label have been constructed primarily through stereotypes such as Model Minority (Petersen, 1966) and its opposing counterpart, the perpetual foreigner (Museus, 2014). The consistent contrast between harmless/positive versus dangerous/negative is stark. Through the tenet of Asianization (Museus & Iftikar, 2013), both discourses are racist constructs that either purport Asian Americans as the successful and exemplary minority or as dangerous terrorists, positioning them as the forever immigrant (Prashad, 2000) and, therefore, never truly belong. Data on academic scores suggests educators discuss and implement differentiating instruction to help struggling students; however, such quantitative data often lumps all Asian Americans together, further homogenizing the Asian American label and reinforcing Model Minority and perpetual foreigner discourse (Museus, 2014). In addition, certain ethnicities become invisible, so their needs and struggles are unmet or unsupported. Disaggregated data needs to be used to allow a focus on Asian American ethnicities and subgroups (Lee, 2009; Poon et al., 2016). Specifically, South Asian students become invisible, and their struggles are unaddressed, making them less likely to ask for help or share their struggles.
This narrative study aims to discover the experiences that South Asian students at Z High School navigate. Precisely, in this study, I will strive to answer the following: (1) What discourses do South Asian students navigate in high school? a. How do these experiences influence their academic identities? b. How do South Asian students navigate their diasporic identity within academic spaces? Previous studies (Gibson, 1988; Paik et al., 2017b; Ng et al., 2007; Thakore-Dunlap & Velsor, 2014) have focused more on South Asian adult immigrants or their relation to the Black/white tension. Uncovering more about the experiences of South Asian high school students apart from their immigration waves, acculturation, and assimilation is necessary; therefore, my focus will be on South Asian high school students born and raised the United States of America. I will explore how these experiences influence their diasporic identities. Understanding diasporic identity and academic identity as intertwined can help unveil the complexities of the discourses that South Asian students navigate in educational settings.
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