Brown bodies and xenophobic bullying in US schools: Critical analysis and strategies for action

Monisha Bajaj, Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, Karishma Desai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In this essay, Monisha Bajaj, Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, and Karishma Desai present an evidence-based action project that seeks to interrupt and transform bullying behaviors directed at South Asian American youth in schools in the United States. In the context of this essay and project, they argue that larger macro-level forces which promote misinformation about youth who inhabit brown bodies have given rise to bullying and, in some cases, harassment and hate crimes in schools. Conventional literature on bullying offers inadequate frames for how the forces of Islamophobia-which affect all those perceived to be Muslim-and bullying come together to shape realities for South Asian American youth in schools. The authors advance new frameworks and strategies for understanding xenophobic and bias-based bullying and explore schools as sites of possibility to interrupt Islamophobia and misinformation about South Asian Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-505
Number of pages25
JournalHarvard Educational Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


  • Asian Americans
  • Bullying
  • Islamophobia
  • Racial discrimination
  • South Asia
  • Xenophobia


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