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

The focus of this study is to understand the lived experiences as mixed race people in a multi-racial country, Malaysia - A Qualitative Study of Lived Experiences of Mixed Race People in Malaysia introduction. 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.

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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, people with a white parent would most likely identify their White racial parentage more (Brunsma, 2005). My research question for this study would be “What are the difficulties of mixed race people living in a multi-cultural country? and the reason I’ve chosen this topic for my qualitative research is to further understand the lived experience of mixed-race people in Asian countries, specifically Malaysia. Malaysia being a multi-racial country, has a great number of mixed-race people which is why I conducted this research to understand the experiences that mixed-race people go through. The delimitations in this study would be the demographic group of ages 18 to 40 years of age; both genders and at any position or financial status with the requirement of people who have biracial or multiracial parents.

The limitations in this study is the possibility of participants who have multiracial parents with a background of many mixed marriages throughout the generation which results in the child not having a clear racial identity. Another limitation would be that this study would be based in Malaysia, and Malaysia’s ruling system is when either parent is Muslim it is compulsory for the child to be Muslim which will then instead of the freedom to choose their racial identity, it is forcefully placed unto them. Research Paradigm

This study is to understand the lived experiences of mixed race people and their thoughts of their experiences living in a multi-racial country. Therefore, the framework that I have chosen for this study is social constructivism; this framework is to seek the understanding of the world or lived experience. It is also to understand the subjective meanings of the participant’s perspective of the situation. I hope to find the difficulties mixed-race people face in Malaysia; whether they are aware of their difficulties and how they take their difficulties; be it positively or negatively.

These views which are often negotiated socially, historically and culturally which is why it is the most suitable framework for this study. Research Question In this research, I am inquiring of the participant of the difficulties that they faced being a mixed race person in a multi-racial country, Malaysia. I asked of their experiences growing up and the difficulties they faced as well as their educational experiences and relationship experiences. I also asked them about how they felt about being a mixed race person themselves. Method Focus group dividing male and female participants ages 18-40.

Males and females are separated for comfort of the participants as some of them might not be comfortable to share things with the opposite gender. Why I chose a focus group is because I feel that mixed race people would have a similar experience and participants can engage more discussions amongst themselves when they have something similar they lived with all their life. The interview questions that was asked was: * What is it like being a mixed race person in a multi-racial country?

* What do feel about racial discrimination? * What are your relationship experiences with other raced people? Share with me the educational experiences in school as a mixed race person. * Please elaborate your relationship with teachers of different races. * Please share your relationship with other students of different races. In this research, in order to get experiences from mixed race people, I have to use the purposive sampling method to obtain the information required. I have chosen five female participants and five male participants from around Klang Valley ages from 18 to 40. I first identified mixed race people in the Klang Valley area and approached them to participate in my study.

I had five female and five male participants in two different separate focus group sessions to increase the comfort level of the participants to willingly share their experiences. Participants were given a bottle of water as a compensation for their time. Each session lasted for an hour in which the participants shared their experiences by answering a set of ready questions. The focus group was recorded with my recording device and immediately transcribed. The recording was transcribed word for word and coded by specifying certain themes and codes with different coloured highlighters.

After identifying the common codes, I used the thematic analysis to analyse the codes and turn them into themes which are shown in the thematic analysis table. Reliability and Validity: To ensure that my research is valid and is reliable I have my peers reviewed my paper. My focus group was recorded with my recording device to further ensure the accuracy of the received data. I have also used the triangulation method to validate my research properly. By using this method I use different sources like the collected data, a literature review and non-verbal cues projected by the participants and which aids the analysis of my research.

Analysis The data was collected from the transcription after recording the focus group with a recording device. It is then coded then put in the thematic analysis where it is then themed by identifying a common theme that relates participant’s experiences. In each of the participants the most common experience is a language barrier when making friends with others. I highlighted these common themes by identifying similar conversations and statements said by the participant. The second most common experience is open-mindedness by the participants. They feel open to learn about other cultures and do not believe in a single superior race.

Lastly, the third most common theme is discrimination amongst their peers. Participants felt discriminated by the stereotypical thought implemented by their peers. Results In my study, I have found that all participants wished to harmoniously coexist with the other race as people, however, due to language barriers many people disregarded them and casted them aside. Most participants weren’t taught their mother tongue language but were more English educated so they could not converse well with others which led them to isolation from the other races in their schooling years.

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.

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