Internalised Racism and Malay Youths: Responding to Stereotypes of Malays in Singapore

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Abstract This thesis aims to explore the presence of internalised racism amongst Malay youths and how this has affected their responses towards stereotypes of Malays in Singapore. In doing so, this thesis contributes to the discourse on internalised
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    INTERNALISED RACISM AND MALAY YOUTHS: RESPONDING TO STEREOTYPES OF MALAYS IN SINGAPORE ANNAS BIN MAHMUD DEPARTMENT OF MALAY STUDIES  NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE 2013/2014    INTERNALISED RACISM AND MALAY YOUTHS: RESPONDING TO STEREOTYPES OF MALAYS IN SINGAPORE BY ANNAS BIN MAHMUD Honours Thesis in part fulfilment for the Honours B.A.. degree  presented to the Department of Malay Studies  National University of Singapore 2013/2014  ii Abstract This thesis aims to explore the presence of internalised racism amongst Malay youths and how this has affected their responses towards stereotypes of Malays in Singapore. In doing so, this thesis contributes to the discourse on internalised racism in the local Singaporean Malay context which is sorely lacking. It has been found here how the responses of Malay youths towards stereotypes reproduces, directly or indirectly, these stereotypes. Internalised racism has led to Malay youths to associate with or disassociate themselves from Malays in general. Other forms of differentiation like class can also be observed in some cases. Yet, there are also those who show signs of rejecting stereotypes. Keywords: Internalised racism, disassociation, association, stereotypes, cultural deficit thesis, Malay youths.  iii In the name of Allah swt, the Beneficent, the Merciful, Who created mankind as equals. And in remembrance of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who spread the message of peace. Acknowledgements First and foremost, I dedicate this thesis to my parents without whom I would not be where I am. To my mother, in whose love I find peace, in whose patience I find strength and in whose encouragements I find the will to keep going. To my father who has always emphasised on the importance of being a person, who encourages me to seek knowledge and to focus on helping others, and to always smile (this last part he never said, but always shows). I love you both. To my siblings, thank you for your support and love. You guys can be annoying at times but I know you miss me when I am not at home. And that pushes me to work harder. And to my sister-in-law, thank you for asking about my progress and listening whenever you come to visit. My thanks also to the NUS Malay Studies Department. To A/P Noor Aisha, thank you for your kind words and gestures. You have always been an inspiring figure for me, and many other students of Malay Studies that I know. My supervisor, the ever-kind, elegant and patient Dr Suriani, without whose guidance I would have been lost. Thank you for refining my ideas and pushing me through. To Dr Azhar for having inspired me to actually enjoy reading and researching. And for the social consciousness you have helped enhance in me. And to the other lecturers whose modules have shaped my views on issues concerning Malays, in Singapore and beyond. I thank you, my best friend, Nurul Huda bte Suhairi, for being there even when you are not. You know that besides my parents, a large part of who I am now is because of you. Shah Hidayat, you deserve a mention for I am thankful you have been a part of my life. You have always given me a different perspective on life. To my SEJA comrades  –   Faiz, Yazid and Mike  –   you have kept me sane with your insanity. And kept me grounded with your madness. And inspired me with where we all are now. Let’s keep growing together and never see any end to our brotherly love. Farhana, I thank you for the random times we have met. For the times you have lent me a listening ear and for the bonfire we had. That really helped. And of course, not forgetting, my fellow Malay Studies family  –   Izzalina, Mas, Syakinah and Azimah  –   for making the times I had to spend in school less painful. May we all achieve the success we seek. Last but not least, to the informants without whom this thesis would literally not be  possible, thank you.    TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract ii  Acknowledgements iii Chapter 1: Introduction 1 Chapter 2: Literature Review and Research Methodology  7 2.1: Literature Review 8 2.2: Research Methodology 13 Chapter 3: Encountering Stereotypes  17 3.1: Stereotypes Encountered by Informants 18 3.2: Explaining the Stereotypical Views 21 3.3: Thoughts on Stereotypes –   “Cannot Fault Them”  23 Chapter 4: Responding to Stereotypes 1 –   “I am not like them”  25 4.1: Internalising Racism 26 4.2: Defensive Othering –   Disassociating From ‘Other’ Malays  29 4.3: Collective Defensive Othering –  The Derogatory Mat & Minah Category 31 Chapter 5: Responding to Stereotypes 2 –   “Just A Normal Malay”  34 5.1: Associating With Malays 35 5.2: Same but Different –   “My Kind Of Lepak  ”  37 5.3: Malays Can “Break Out Of This Stereotype”  39 5.4: Signs Of Rejecting Stereotypes 40 Chapter 6: Conclusion 42 Bibliography 45
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