Date of Conferral







Yoli Zentella


Prejudice against people of Mexican descent has been a pernicious social problem in the United States. A gap in the literature exists concerning racial and or cultural biases that may exist between Mexican immigrant students and U.S.-born Mexican American students. The purpose of this qualitative and phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of newly immigrated Mexican students facing prejudice from U.S.-born students of Mexican descent in the classroom. Interviews were conducted with five immigrant college students from Mexico living in Texas, recruited through social media and snowballing. The theoretical foundation was Tajfel’s social identity theory and in-group versus out-group dynamics. Phenomenology was the research method used to capture the depth and meaning of participants’ experiences and NVivo 12 Pro software was used in the thematic analysis. Four out of five participants described facing prejudice from Mexican American classmates. Other findings included participants’ sense of having to overachieve to make their parents’ sacrifices worthwhile, difficulties with self-advocating in English, a sense of attributed shame, and the experience of positive regard and assistance from teachers. Findings may impact positive social change by providing information that can be used to improve the quality of education for Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants by addressing issues of prejudice and racial and ethnic discrimination. The results of this research may be useful in creating an environment that will allow more significant opportunities for the academic success of Mexican immigrant students.

Included in

Psychology Commons