Racism in the Academe: An Ethnographic Research among Aeta (indigenous) students of a state university in the Philippines





Racism, Mainstream education, Indigenous students, Social problem


Abstract: Access to mainstream education by the indigenous peoples can result in their social and economic empowerment. However, indigenous students' assimilation into mainstream education has been a recent phenomenon in the Philippines. Discrimination persists as one of the disturbing experiences of the indigenous students inside the school. It is one of the leading causes of school dropouts among indigenous students and a barrier to pursuing higher education. Objective: To understand the meaning of this problem and explore the experiences and coping mechanisms of the Aeta (indigenous) students at a Philippine state university towards racism in education. Methods: A qualitative ethnographic study was conducted between August and December 2018 and included two indigenous students enrolled at a state university in Pampanga, Philippines. Ethnographic interviews, informal conversations, and participant observation were conducted to gather data, which was then thematically evaluated. Results: After synthesizing the data, three categories developed: 'Ethnicity, Race, and Racism,' ‘Coping with racism, and ‘Meanings of racism.' The first category explored racism as a phenomenon linked to perceived ethnic and racial differences that cause harm to indigenous students on a physical and emotional level. The second category covered indigenous people's active and passive forms of resistance as they dealt with racism in education. The third category presented that racism is associated with a 'social problem’ as it distresses their ethnic community and interferes with their opportunity to obtain a quality education and a 'motivation' for they believe achieving the same societal status as their non-indigenous counterparts through literacy could bring empowerment to their ethnic group; thus eliminate subordination and inferiority. Conclusion: Racism in education remains a significant challenge for the Aeta students and therefore calls for the reform efforts of local agencies and other stakeholders.


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How to Cite

Precious G. Supan, & Camille Rose Carl Mendoza. (2023). Racism in the Academe: An Ethnographic Research among Aeta (indigenous) students of a state university in the Philippines . New Trends in Qualitative Research, 16, e768. https://doi.org/10.36367/ntqr.16.2023.e768