The perils of Arab American adolescents post 9/11

Rhonda Tabbah (Psychological Services, Columbus City Schools, Columbus, Ohio, USA and The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA)

Journal for Multicultural Education

ISSN: 2053-535X

Publication date: 14 November 2016



This paper aims to describe patterns of experiences and perceptions of inclusion and accuracy of Arab American culture in the multicultural paradigm in schools through the voices of Arab American youth.


This study was carried out using a survey research design. Qualitative reports of experiences in school were obtained using open-ended questionnaires.


The reports were examined for themes regarding specific types of experiences and for types of inaccuracies taught about Arab culture in schools. Categories that arose for experiences included bullying/harassment, racial stereotyping and religious stereotyping of Arabs. Half of the sample reported that the culture is not represented in the multicultural paradigm in their school. Themes arising from curricular inaccuracies include misinformation involving stereotypes and biases.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations include generalizability due to research design and sampling methods. Future research may use multiple methods of collecting this type of information, such as focus groups, observations and face-to-face interviews with participants.

Practical implications

These experiences may affect students’ sense of belonging and inclusion in their schools, which may affect academic and social growth. Strategies for school staff to implement in their schools are provided. Results may be used to inform environmental, policy and curricular reform in schools.


This study is one of the few to provide qualitative descriptions of Arab American’s experiences in the schools.



Tabbah, R. (2016), "The perils of Arab American adolescents post 9/11", Journal for Multicultural Education, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 449-464.

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