‘Why Do They Hate Us?’ Reframing Immigration Through Participatory Action Research

Why do ‘they’ hate ‘us’? is a painful starting point for trying to make sense of the tangled web of global restructuring, politics and racism. The discussion draws upon ‘Dreaming of No Judgment’, a participatory action research project developed with young people in Salt Lake City, Utah that explores the emotional and economic impacts of stereotypes upon immigrant communities. The analysis focuses upon the disjunctures between the dominant immigration discourse and the everyday experiences of young Latino immigrants. Drawing upon borderlands scholarship, starting with embodied everyday lived experiences and concerns, the author considers how the questions, concerns and feelings of young people offer new openings for reframing immigration. In conclusion, the author reflects upon how PAR might be a transformative ‘construction site’ for reworking and responding to social injustices through the arts.