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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fenton's Ethnicity Notes Chapter 2 & 3 (3 to come later today or tomorrow)

Three settings: USA, UK & Malaysia

USA - view of race grounded in slavery (white & black)
Defense (military) to defend against working slaves & the natives (seen as a threat or obstacles to their expansion)

Enlightenment ideals identified the enlightened races as the "white race" and non-whites being the lower peoples therefore even after the emancipation freed slaves were counted as 6/10 of a person thus ineligible for US citizenship.

The US constitution also defined that only white people were eligible for US citizenship. Subsequent immigrants from Europe (Ireland, Scotland, etc) were looked down upon despite the same skin color, so the earlier settlers identified themselves as Anglos (White Anglo Saxon Protestant, WASP, LOL). Italians were later discriminated against because of their interactions with blacks and their darker tone skin. Exclusions were being made to North Indians who archaeologically were considered "CAUCASIAN".

US blacks is a neo-ethnicity

Ethnicity applied to differentiate from whites. Hispanics conceptualized as an ethnic category independent of a person's racial classification (Mexican, El Salvadorian, Honduras, etc)

Ethnic group/ethnic differences has white connotations in the US.


In the census, originally white/coloured. The Irish were later included in the census (due to the discrimination they suffered). In 1991 Proxy was used, such as country of origin, origin of parents, origin of the Head of Household.

Race in language less prominent than the USA.

Race - US Ethnic - UK


Ethnic awareness borne (during the British occupation) borne of three reasons:

1. Chinese & Indian migration marked off from Malays.
2. Racial difference took official & public form (census, news, policies)
3. Proposition by UK for a universalist constitution.

UK acceded to constitution which guaranteed Malays special rights, and also built a definition of Malay in the constitution.

Malay, Chinese, Indian seen differently in two respects:

1. Political Status: Malays represent themselves as indigenous and the true heirs of the land.
2. Culture - line between Muslims/non Muslims marking the Chinese-Malay boundary.

In order to understand the Malay perspective, we have to understand the language and how it breaks down:

In the Malay language "ras" mean race, racial, the difference is that in the English context, it does not convey a sense of people of common origin.

"rakyat" means folk or people w/ a sense of "common folk or people" (closer to the English meaning of race)
Rakyat Malasia - Malaysian people or nation

Warga - family & people
warga negara - people of the state (citizens)

Kaum - lineage group (can also refer to class, social stratification), loosely common descent & group.
Kaum ciha - Chinese community
Kaum warrita - women's group
Kaum Kaum Kecil - minorities (kecil means small), small group
Perkauman - racialism
Kaum tasam - elite/upper class

Orang - meaning persons, this word may also refer to indegineous people aren't Malay or Muslims.
Orang cina - Chinese person
Orange Malayu - Malaysian person
Orange puteli - white person (used during the occupation)
Orange Canada - Canadian person
Orang asing - foreigners
Orang bukam Melayu - non Malays

Keturuman pendatag - descendants of immigrants, non-Malay, non-asli

Pendatang Haram - illiegal immigrants

Bangsa - Originally referred to descent & community of common origin, etymologically morphed to mean ehtnic/ethnicity.

Because of the residents of East Malay, Sarawah, Sabah, North Borneo despite not being indigeneous to Malaysia were in cluded in the independence negotiation thus the word "BUMIPUTERA" - sons or princes of the soil was born, to identify ethnic Malays.

There was speculation whether this word would last, it's alive and well to this day and used in English language periodicals to separate ethnic Malays to non-ethnic Malays.

In summary:

USA - race dynamic center on black/white, due to non-white immigration, it became an issue of whites/non-whites

UK - Simple distinction, black/white did not have same social force as US, ethnicity was not a concern, during the 16th century, religion was the focus, then after uniting Scotland, Wales & later Ireland, religion was still the main focus (Protestant or Catholic anybody?)

In the 1950's race viewed as a spurrious scientific term. Academics took the PC (politically correct) route and started writing "Race & Ethincity" as opposed to just "Race".

Malay - an issue between indigenes & in-comers, Muslims vs. non-Muslims, cultural differences, thus Bangsa was born. Basically for Malays ethnicity was a constitutional/political issue to gain their rights.

Race -> Ethnic group: chain w/in society in response to changing social conditions.

Chapter 3: coming soon

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