Ethnic Stereotype as the Cause of Hatred: The Study of Thais’ Biases Towards the Rohingya Refugees

In 2017, the United Nations addressed the situation of the Rohingya refugee crisis as “the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis and a major humanitarian emergency”. Up to March, 2018, the report by the United Nations Children’s Funds showed that there were approximately 1.3 million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, alone. Out of this number, there were as high as 703,000 Rohingya child refugees. The Rohingya refugee crisis is a challenging situation not only for humanitarian workers who provide aid in the area, but for all of us as human beings who share the same ground. Can we actually live together in harmony no matter where we come from? Is it possible for us to develop genuine and positive relationship with others who are different from us? These are some of the questions that test our morality each day. Thailand is not directly affected from the Rohingya refugee crisis; however, the prejudices of Thais towards Rohingya people are negatively strong. This paper aims to study the schema of Thai’s biases towards the Rohingyas by adopting the framework of Tajfel and Turner’s the Social Identity Theory. The author gathers information from Facebook comments of the news regarding the issue of the Rohingya refugees that were posted on the BBC Thai Facebook Fanpage. The author hypothesizes that ignorance to the history background of the Rohingya, and prejudices caused by religion are the fundamental for stereotyping between the in-group, Thais, and the out-group, Rohingya. This study plans to be finished by June, 2018.



Author Information
Chalalai Taesilapasathit, Thammasat University, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: Global2018
Stream: Psychology

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