Carola Suárez-Orozco: Countering Xenophobic Bullying

Co-founder of Re-imagining Migration discusses effects of anti-immigrant rhetoric in schools.

UCLA Professor of Education Carola Suárez-Orozco has published a two-part post for on encountering xenophobic bullying in schools and what to do about it. Co-written with Elena Maker Castro, a graduate student in the division of Human Development and Psychology at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, the post provides ways for educators to face and address bullying that stems from the current incivility caused by anti-immigrant rhetoric in the media. 

Suárez-Orozco, who co-founded Re-imagining Migration with Wasserman Dean Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, and her co-author Castro state that educators and administrators are confronted by “… toxic (un)civil conversations with a concurrent mandate to provide sanctuary learning environments so that their students can thrive with little in the way of a compass on how to proceed … Educators have minimal preparation for how to either address the needs of their diverse newcomer students or manage difficult conversations around cascading xenophobia that trickle into classrooms.”

In their subsequent Share My Lesson blog post, Professor Suárez-Orozco and Castro exhort educators to nurture the shared fate of immigrants and the native-born, foster empathy, become adult allies to students, and increase their own understanding of immigration and its historical and social contexts.

“Education must strive to bridge the empathy gap between relative newcomers (and perceived outsiders) and those who self-identify as long-term citizens (or insiders),” write Castro and Suárez-Orozco. “In short, a central task of education today is to consistently nourish a sense of our ‘common humanity.’” 

Visit this link to read Professor Suárez-Orozco’s blog posts in