Representation in Public Life: Community Identity
When negative stereotypes are believed by people of the ethnic group in question, it can bring down self-esteem and lead to experiences of ‘stereotype threat’ where performance in education and other endeavours is undermined. Negative stereotypes would disproportionately affect lower income segments within the Malaysian Indian community as they would not have the compensating impact afforded by class.
Key Issues & Current Interventions
- More seriously, negative stereotypes can lead to unfair treatment such as job discrimination.
- There are also media-reported cases of Indians being rejected as tenants by non-Indian landlords.
- At the extreme, negative stereotypes coupled with lack of cultural understanding can also fuel inter-ethnic clashes, as evidenced by ethnic clashes in the past.
- A concerted effort needs to be made to bring this conversation to the national level
Moving Forward: Recommendations & Initiatives
Establish A ‘Community Pride’ Campaign
This campaign aims to create national level awareness of Malaysian Indian achievement stories across different sectors, working hand in hand with other Malaysian ethnicities, by promoting outstanding individuals and teams, such as writers, educators, entrepreneurs, scientists, philanthropists, sports personalities, artists and young achievers. Stories of IB40 achievements will also be highlighted to break stereotypes associated with both ethnicity and class.