Stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination are, unfortunately, present in all regions of the world. There are, however, tremendous cultural, historical, legal, and regional differences with regard to these forces. Through music, movies, and conversations, you have probably become familiar with many of the positive and negative stereotypes that characterize American culture. You will learn a great deal more as you study and live in the U.S.
It is also the case that YOUR stereotypes about Americans might include misperceptions, about alcohol use, gender roles, sexual practices, and academic drive, for example. Leave those images behind, just as you hope your new American friends will disregard their stereotypes regarding your home or your culture.
You may be surprised to discover that YOU could become the object of American stereotypes – not just because you are international, but because of the color of your skin, the shape of your eyes, or the sound of your voice.
Learn as much as you can about the culture and history behind these patterns so that you can understand their context and challenge people’s stereotypes and misperceptions!
Be confident in who you are and where you come from!
It is unfortunate and frustrating to become the object of stereotypes, but you are protected by College policy, as well as state and federal laws, from being subject to discrimination.
If you believe you have been discriminated against, please contact the appropriate personnel, as outlined in the Handbook of Selected College Policies (.pdf) and in the College’s Policy on Non-Discrimination.
If you want to learn more about the topic, take the initiative to talk to someone about your experiences. Depending on the issue and on your comfort level, you might turn to your resident director, a counselor in the Wellness Center, Security & Protective Services, or the Dean of Students. You are always invited to talk with ISS staff members as well.
What do you do if you experience discrimination and bias?
If you believe you have experienced discrimination, please file a Bias Incident Report.