A Qualitative Study of Lived Experiences of Mixed Race People in Malaysia

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The Lived Experiences of Mixed Race People in Malaysia

Mas Marlena Mohamad

Abstract
The focus of this study is to understand the lived experiences as mixed race people in a multi-racial country, Malaysia. Many researches has been done on mixed race people but only in western countries, I would like to conduct the study here in Malaysia being a multi-racial country. There were no study conducted in Asian countries so there weren’t any findings on the lived experiences of mixed race people other than whites and blacks. In this study I will conduct a focus group to understand their lived experiences of mixed race people living in Malaysia. I conducted a focus group consisting two different groups separating five male and five female participants. After researching, I have found that the all the participants face a language barrier when trying to make friends with people of a single race and some suffer higher expectations being mixed. Most of them felt difficulty having friends in the schooling years as the racial discrimination was powerfully felt at that time. Participants feel more open to cultural differences and are proud of their mixed parentage; they also feel that other parents and the educational system plays an important role in a child’s social upbringing toward a more understanding and open-minded new generation. Introduction and Purpose of the Study

The number of mixed race people has been increasing over the years and especially in a multi-racial country such as Malaysia. Research has been done in western countries like America however, research hasn’t been done in eastern countries; especially here in Malaysia therefore conducting this research here would be most appropriate with the number of mixed race people living in Malaysia. In Malaysia, many mixed race people don’t have a voice to express their experiences as individuals who cannot identify to a certain category of racial identity, so by doing this research, I hope to understand the experiences through the eyes of my participants.

Literature Review
Many years ago, interracial marriages were forbidden and considered taboo (Fryer, Kahn, Levitt and Spenkush, 2008). It has been a concern for generations which according to Brunsma, 2005 is challenging the racial order in the American society. They believe in preserving their heritage and privilege of Caucasians. History portrays white people being financially, mentally and also physically superior. The Ku Klux Klan also known as KKK was one of those historical tragedies of anti-multiculturalism and to depict the superiority of whites (Fryer, Kahn, Levitt and Spenkush, 2008). However, according to Carter, 2011 the number of mixed race children in America has increased by 50% to a total of 4.2 million people. It began slowly but started increasing over the past 10 years. Interracial marriages increased radically with 5.9% of married black men wedded a white bride whereas 2.7% of black women wedded their white husbands (Fryer, Kahn, Levitt and Spenkush, 2008).

Many researches done on multiracial or biracial people have been done in America and most other western countries. Research on multiracial or biracial identity pride has revealed three inimitable phases which first studies how mixed-race individuals positively develop their racial identity, how they effectually foster the integrative idea of recognising the racial identity of both parents; lastly, this research is largely based from the mid-1990s to the present day and done in America to understand fully the grounded patterns of racial identity (Brunsma, 2005). This particular research discovered the influence of a number of factors on racial identity like the impact of social class on multiracial self-understanding. Second, it is also found that people of mixed race identify higher with their minority aspect of their racial parentage; example would be a Black and Hispanic parents and the child would go with being Hispanics; Whereas,...
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