Presentation on theme: "Perceived Discrimination and Civic Engagement: An Exploratory Study of Immigrant Adolescents Natalie Zuckerman New York University I would like to thank."— Presentation transcript:
Perceived Discrimination and Civic Engagement: An Exploratory Study of Immigrant Adolescents Natalie Zuckerman New York University I would like to thank Dr. Selçuk Sirin, Dalal Katsiaficas, and Kerry Allison for their guidance and support.
Citizenship and Civic Engagement Civic engagement refers to: actions made by an individual or group with the purpose of identifying and confronting issues of public concern. having a sense of belonging and responsibility within a certain community (e.g., volunteering, voting). Feeling part of a larger community enables individuals to recognize needs beyond themselves, which ultimately leads to the development of a collective identity ( Sherrod, Flanagan, & Youniss, 2002 ). Citizenship can be understood as one’s conceptions of community, feelings of group membership, and an interest in the well-being of one’s group. Regardless of their ethnic background, young people are more likely to display high levels of civic engagement when they feel like integral members of their community.
Citizenship & Civic Engagement of Immigrants Because immigration is currently under political contention, immigrants’ lack of civic engagement might perpetuate an environment in which immigrant rights are difficult to acquire and maintain. Adult immigrants who experience discrimination will raise socio-political concerns directly related to the struggles and needs of their own racial or ethnic group (i.e., ethno-political perspective, Stepick & Stepick, 2000 ). Having a sense of group awareness and feeling that one is a part of a larger group increases inclinations towards civic participation ( Flanagan, Cumsille, Gill, & Gallay, 2007 ). Perceived discrimination has also been found to create this sense of group membership among immigrants ( Bankston, 2004 ).
Perceived Discrimination Among Immigrants & Civic Engagement Feeling discriminated against, or that one is a target for discrimination, is a major acculturative stressor. Perceived discrimination also contributes to greater isolation of the immigrant community from the larger society, increasing the frequency of discrimination. For immigrant adolescents, discrimination creates stronger ties to the non-American component of their identity and leads to critical assessments of their host society. Might this critical assessment of the host society lead to more civic engagement? This area has yet to be examined.
Muslims in the U.S. After September 11, 2001 public perceptions of Muslim Americans changed dramatically. For instance, Muslim Americans report an increase in discrimination, racism and prejudice. As Muslim American adolescents struggle through identity development, they find themselves members of a group that is ill-perceived, complicating the process of identity formation even more. The extent to which Muslim American adolescents are engaged in civic activities and responsibilities is an important area of study which has been unfortunately overlooked. The few studies available in this area have identified some key factors that influence Muslim Americans’ political and civic engagement, including socioeconomic status, education, gender, and religious participation.
Research Questions & Hypotheses 1. What are Muslim American immigrant adolescents’ inclinations towards civic engagement, and furthermore, how does perceived discrimination affect these attitudes? Hypothesis: Perceived discrimination will increase inclinations towards civic engagement among Muslim American immigrant adolescents. 2. How does gender influence the relationship between perceived discrimination and Muslim American immigrant adolescents’ inclinations to engage in mainstream U.S. civic society? Hypothesis: As Muslim American women are more likely to engage in mainstream U.S. society, gender will play a moderating role in the relationship between perceived discrimination and civic engagement.
Participants 137 Muslim American immigrant adolescents (77 female; 60 male) Participants were recruited in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. 18-28 years of age ( M = 21.90, SD = 2.32). Immigration Background 53% were first generation immigrants, and 47% second generation immigrants. 35% of participants had Pakistani origins and 27% came from Arab backgrounds (e.g., Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Kuwait, and Yemen). The remaining participants originated from a diverse group of countries (e.g., Venezuela, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad).
Measures The data used for this present study are from a larger study conducted by Sirin and Fine in 2006. Civic Engagement A subscale of the Developmental Assets Profile (Search Institute, 2004) was used to measure civic engagement and opinions about community ( α =.86). Perceived Discrimination A modified version of a checklist developed by Krieger and Sidney (2006) was used to assess frequency of discrimination experienced in different contexts ( α =.88).
Descriptive Results 82% of the sample experienced discrimination at least once during the previous year ( M = 1.07, SD = 1.01). 93% of the sample reported high to moderate degrees of civic engagement ( M = 2.12, SD =.66).
Perceived Discrimination, Civic Engagement, and Gender Perceived discrimination and civic engagement were significantly and positively correlated ( r =.31, p <.001). Regression results showed that perceived discrimination accounted for 10% of the variance in civic engagement, R 2 =.10, F (2, 132) = 7.26, p <.001. No gender differences in experiences of discrimination or inclinations towards civic engagement were found. Gender did not moderate the relationship between perceived discrimination and civic engagement in the current sample.
Discussion Results of the present study suggest that perceived discrimination might create a strong sense of collective identity among Muslim American youth, thereby increasing their likelihood to engage in their communities. While gender differences in discrimination and civic engagement have been noted with adult immigrant samples, gender was not a significant factor for perceived discrimination, civic engagement, or their relationship among Muslim youth. Results of the present study shed light on ways in which discrimination relates to beliefs and feelings about community and citizenship among Muslim American immigrant youth. These findings might lead to the design of service-learning programs to empower immigrant youth to be actively involved in their communities.
Limitations and Future Research Because this is an exploratory study, the measures used only opened a small window onto the engagement trends of Muslim American immigrant youth. It is still unclear how these youth are actually engaging in their communities, and if like immigrant adults, they are engaging from an ethno-political perspective. Future research should examine more closely the specific ways in which these youth engage and the communities they are engaging with. It is also important to gain a better understanding of how perceived discrimination impacts civic inclinations, and how gender might play a role in this relationship.