ArabAustralian Students

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Study results revealed that social exclusion generally damaged Arab-Australian students’ sense of identity (low self-esteem, paranoia, racial hatred, seclusion), educational experiences (disbelief in schools, distrust in teachers, high drop-out rates, low performance), and attitude towards Australian community (antipathy). 1. Cultural prejudice in the form of increased racism, negative stereotyping, and social and structural exclusion effectively bars communication and positive engagement between people resulting to antipathy, social inequality, and identity crisis (individual and collective). 4. The lack of meaningful communication and constructive engagement between teachers and students, and the insensitivity of the school to students’ special needs result in their disengagement from schooling and poor performance. One of the issues identified from Mansouri and Trembath’s (2005) case study of Arab-Australian students is the effective role of media in stigmatizing Arab and Muslim as a ‘monolithic religious diaspora’ out to terrorize Western civilization. As Aly (2007) describes: Media’s convincing portrayal of Muslims as a homogenous terrorist unit (‘the enemy within’) does not only reverberate and shape the perceptions of the wider Australian community against Australian-Muslims. it also shapes Australian-Muslims’ perception of themselves as victims of Australia’s racialization, creating in them an antipathy against the very community to which they would like to belong. this further results to their social exclusion (p. 27). 1. Active disengagement with popular media. Since engagement with the popular media makes one more vulnerable to it which may lead to one’s entrapment – reconstruction of identity according to the popular media’s depiction. To avoid this entrapment, active disengagement with the popular media would serve as a ‘strategic withdrawal’ making one invulnerable to media’s brainwashing.